GOVERNOR’S OFFICE NEWS RELEASE: Public invited to Washington Place for holiday open house

Posted on Nov 23, 2015 in Latest News, Newsroom, Press Releases

HONOLULU – The Washington Place Foundation is hosting a special Christmas Open House at Washington Place from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Friday, December 18, 2015.

Reservations are required for this event and can be made by calling 586-0248 by Wednesday, December 16.

The Cathedral of St. Andrew’s Choir, directed by John Renke, will perform a program of Christmas music from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

The Christmas Open House at Washington Place began 157 years ago. 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.

Visitors will take a guided stroll through the 168-year-old home to learn more about the occasion on Christmas Eve in 1858 that sparked this time-honored custom. The Christmas trees of Washington Place, including a tree reminiscent of the one decorated by Mary Dominis for the children of Honolulu in 1858, will be on view along in the upstairs parlor. In the Glassed Lanai will be a uniquely “Hawaiian” Christmas tree that honors the beneficiaries – the children of the Queen Lili`uokalani Trust.

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 of Honolulu’s children and their parents, thus establishing the Christmas tradition – with a Santa Claus – in the Hawaiian Kingdom, which was ruled then by King Kamehameha IV.

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

All adult guests may be required to present a picture ID upon entrance to the property and may be subjected to a bag inspection.  No large bags will be permitted.

Free parking will be available at the State Department of Health (Kina`u Hale Building) parking lot.


Media Contacts:

Jodi Leong

Deputy Communications Director/Press Secretary

Office of the Governor

Office: 808-586-0043

Mobile: 808-798-3929


Cindy McMillan

Communications Director

Office of the Governor

Office: 808-586-0012

Mobile: 808-265-7974