Mele Kalikimaka! First Family Heading to Hawaii for Christmas

Obamas head for Christmas vacation in balmy Hawaii.

ByABC News via logo
December 22, 2009, 2:03 PM

Dec. 23, 2009— -- Bing Crosby famously dreamed of a white Christmas, but he knew the lure of some fun in the sun, too.

"Mele Kalikimaka," the American crooner sang. "Hawaii's way to say Merry Christmas to you."

Sun, sand and seclusion – it's easy to see why the first family will leave behind a snowy, cold Washington and once again travel to Hawaii for Christmas and New Year's.

The Obamas will spend 10 days on the island of Oahu, where the president grew up, and a favorite vacation spot of his over the years.

They will rent the same Kailua home they stayed in last year for the holidays during a brief vacation before moving to Washington and into the White House.

The Obamas' rental property is 7,000 square feet of paradise on the southeastern coast of the island, complete with large open spaces built around a lagoon pool.

"You have a chance to relax. You have this large enclosed area that feels like you're at your own private hotel, with a lush setting. And it's very peaceful here, it's very quiet," said Dave Zimel, owner of Paradise Points Estates.

It's also not cheap. Staying in this $8.9 million house, which Zimel has dubbed the "Obama Winter White House," will cost around $4,000 a night. The two houses next door will be occupied by Obama family members and friends.

But when you spend that kind of money, people pay attention to detail.

"We brought some things in last year -- what we found out, what he really loves, is the sweet potato chips and the taro chips," said Zimel of the local Hawaiian chips, a presidential favorite.

In the corner of the courtyard is a traditional Christmas tree, perhaps out of place among the palm trees and lush tropical plants on the island. Zimel said the tree is a special delivery for the first family.

"There's not a lot of evergreen trees here on the island, so that came over from the mainland," Zimel said.