Washington Place Accepting Reservations for its Christmas Open House

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Washington Place
Photo: Emily Metcalf

HONOLULU, HAWAII – This Christmas, the Friends of Washington Place is hosting a special Christmas Open House with holiday entertainment and historical stories on Friday, December 16, 2011 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Reservations are required for this event and can be made by calling 586-0248 by Thursday, December 15th.  A $5 donation to the Washington Place Foundation is suggested for adults. Proceeds go towards preservation and programs for the historic home.


The tradition of the “Christmas Tree” and celebration of Christmas in family homes in Hawai’i owes its origins to Mary Dominis, widow of Captain John Dominis who built Washington Place. In 1858, on Christmas Eve, she hosted a lavish party for 100 of Honolulu’s children and their parents, thus establishing the Christmas tradition – along with a Santa Claus – in the Hawaiian Kingdom then ruled by King Kamehameha IV. Mary Dominis, who planted the first garden in Honolulu, is said to have grown a Christmas tree from a sprig that arrived by ship in Hawai’i.

Visitors will take a guided stroll through the main floor of 164-year-old home to learn more about the occasion that sparked the time-honored custom in Hawai’i. The Christmas trees of Washington Place, including a Victorian tree reminiscent of the 1858 tree decorated by Mary Dominis will be on view along with a uniquely “Hawaiian” Christmas tree dedicated to Queen Lili’uokalani.

The St. Andrew’s Cathedral Choir directed by John Renke will perform a program of Christmas music from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Harpist Ruth Freedman will also perform holiday music throughout the evening.

Adult guests may be required to present photo identification upon entrance to the property. No large bags will be permitted.  Free parking will be available at the state Department of Health (Kîna’u Hale Building) parking lot by entering off Miller Street.

To make a reservation or to learn more about this event, please call (808) 586-0248.

Submitted by the governor’s office