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OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR — Washington Place to open its doors for Christmas

Posted on Nov 29, 2018 in Latest Department News, Office of the Governor Press Releases

HONOLULU – The Washington Place Foundation will host a special Christmas Open House on Friday, Dec. 14, 2018, from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Reservations are required for this event and can be made through only, starting December 1, 2018.

A $5 donation to the Washington Place Foundation is suggested for adults.  Proceeds will go toward programs and the preservation of the historic home.

The Priory Chamber Choir from St. Andrew’s Schools, directed by Bowe Souza, will perform a musical program from 6:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The Christmas Open House at Washington Place began 160 years ago. Mary Dominis began the tradition of the “Christmas Tree” and the celebration of Christmas in family homes in Hawai`i. Dominis was the widow of Captain John Dominis, who built Washington Place.

Visitors will take a guided tour of the 171-year-old home to learn about Christmas Eve 1858 that sparked this time-honored custom.  The Christmas trees of Washington Place will be on view in the upstairs parlor. They include a tree that is reminiscent of the 1858 tree decorated by Mary Dominis for the children of Honolulu.

A Hawai‘i-grown Norfolk pine filled with ornaments created just for Washington Place will be on display in the Glassed Lāna‘i.

Mary Dominis, who planted the first garden in Honolulu, is said to have grown a Christmas tree from a sprig that arrived in Hawai‘i by ship. On Christmas Eve 1858, she hosted a magnificent party for 100 children and their parents, thus establishing the Christmas tradition – with Santa Claus – in the Hawaiian Kingdom, ruled then by King Kamehameha IV.

Adult guests may be required to present a picture ID upon entrance to the property and may be subject to a bag inspection. No large bags will be permitted.  Free parking (on a first come, first served basis) will be available at the State Department of Health (Kina`u Hale Building) parking lot (enter off Miller Street).

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PHOTOS of previous Washington Place Christmas Open House events

For more information, contact:

Washington Place Foundation

Washington Place Foundation

Phone: (808) 536-8040

[email protected]



Media Contacts:

Jodi Leong

Deputy Communications Director/Press Secretary

Office of the Governor

Office: 808-586-0043

Mobile: 808-798-3929

[email protected]


Cindy McMillan

Communications Director

Office of the Governor

Office: 808-586-0012

Mobile: 808-265-7974

[email protected]