Keiki take holiday-themed fantasy flight to meet Santa on ‘Christmas island’

It’s a busy time of the year for Santa. He’s making his list, and checking it twice.

But Santa and Mrs. Claus took some time out of their busy schedule for a special event.

You may think Santa’s supposed to be at the North Pole this time of the year, but “he comes down to ‘Christmas island,’ takes a little detour, because Santa needs to take a little vacation before he does his job for the week,” explained event coordinator PJ Valdez.

On Tuesday, Santa welcomed a plane full of kids and their parents to his vacation spot.

“I think it’d be good for them, make them forget about what they go through every single day, and have fun and see Santa,” Valdez said.

Some of them are homeless or recovering from an illness. Little Halai had leukemia.

But today, all she could talk about was Santa: “I took a picture and he gave me gifts.”

“The wish list is right before the flight,” Valdez said. “We gave the kids three things they would want and we got it for them, or haha, Santa got it for them.”

An ordinary hangar at Daniel K Inouye International Airport was transformed into a winter wonderland.

Even Jake Shimabukuro showed up for the party.

“It’s been absolutely amazing, from all the volunteers that came out to support all these families and organizations, it’s amazing, a once in a lifetime experience to be sitting in the hangar of Christmas island. It’s wonderful,” said parent Haunani Fujimoto.

A big mahalo to United Airlines for helping to make the day so magical for the kids.

There were more than 200 guests, including Children from Ronald McDonald House, HUGS, Inpeace Keiki Steps, and Honolulu Community Action Program and their families.

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