A Hawaiian Holiday Gift Guide

I hear it’s still warm up north, which I totally resent since this time last year I’m pretty sure I was drowning in snow. Still, one mark of being a tried-and-true New Englander is perpetual discontentment. If it’s fall, we’re wishing for the perky bloom of spring. If it’s winter, we miss long beach days and BBQs. And if it’s summer (yes, we even hate the summer sometimes), we romanticize days spent by the fire watching the snow fall. You may not quite be living the nightmare of shoveling snow and trudging through slush yet, but don’t fool yourself – it’s coming. Unless you live here. Then you probably just got back from the beach. Just because most of you don’t live in paradise, doesn’t mean you can’t give your loved ones a little dose of the islands this holiday season. Here are a few of my favorite Hawaiian gifts to round out your  holiday giving:

For the Dog Lover:

Hawaii Doggie Bakery
This small bakery in Manoa makes the cutest gourmet dog treats. And don’t worry, they ship too. I can’t vouch for the taste personally but look at Buffy mowing her birthday cupcake! I’d say that’s two paws up.


Island Doggie
I’ve seen these guys at just about every street fair in town. They have adorable print harnesses, bandanas, and bow ties to please your personal level of dog dress up. I mean how happy are these guys? GTFO.

For Fit Friends and Family: 

Sanuk Yoga Mat Flip Flops
No lie, these are the most comfortable pair of shoes I’ve ever owned. The footbed is made of yoga mats, which sounds like a gimmick, but if I believed in heaven, I’m pretty sure this is what it would feel like. As you can see, mine are starting to fall apart because I wear them every possible second. Don’t be too jealous of my special Hawaii edition slippers, guys.


I know the ubiquitous Nalgene has New England on lockdown, but you kids are missing out. Get yourself a Hydroflask. This thing keeps liquids so cold that I fill mine at 6:00 am for work and even after hiking in the sun, my ice is still frozen 12 hours later. This is easily the most exciting discovery I’ve made since I arrived here. I listed it under fitness because it’s great for hiking, but everyone should have one of these. Think days at the beach, all day at work, or any time you might like a cold beverage. Added bonus: customize your Hydroflask with stickers, Hawaiian-style.


For the Bookworm:

Unfamiliar Fishes by Sarah Vowell

I got this book as a gift from one of my BFFs, Daryl. She knows me well because I couldn’t wait to learn about my new home. Don’t think this book is a straightforward history, though. It’s hilarious while giving a nuanced account of Hawaiian story.


Moloka’i by Alan Brennert

I read this one on my honeymoon a few years ago because who doesn’t like their wedding with a side of leprosy? It’s the fictional story of a young girl separated from her family to live in a leper colony on the island of Moloka’i. This is a thing that really happened. The island of Moloka’i is still the second least populated Hawaiian island as a result of its history.

The Descendants
by Kaui Hart Hemmings

You may have seen the movie starring George Clooney, but did you know it was a book first? This one is the story of the descendant of Hawaiian Royalty (who probably wouldn’t be some white dude, just saying) trying to make big decisions. Should he pull the plug on his wife’s comatose state? Should he sell his meaningful but valuable land on the island of Kauai? You’ll have to read to find out!



For everyone:

Tidepool Love
There are a lot of local jewelry companies in Oahu, but Tidepool Love is my favorite. They have fun designs that look truly beautiful in person. Tidepool Love’s not just about jewelry, though. They make some very cool waterproof pouches, clutches, and even kids products.

Honolulu Cookie Company
These are Honolulu’s signature shortbread cookies. They come in tropical flavors like pineapple, lilikoi (passion fruit), and kona coffee, along with classics like butter and chocolate. And for added fun, they’re shaped like little pineapples!


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