As many people do while making preparations for the Christmas season I was thinking yesterday about the fun I had with my daughter’s family two years ago on Maui. I had enjoyed that vacation with my grandchildren during the week before Christmas and arrived home just in time to celebrate Christmas Eve with the rest of my family and create the Christmas turkey feast the next day.
Because we always lived beside the ocean it was a goal of my husband and me to have our children ‘waterproofed’ and it pleases me to see that these parents have set a similar goal. While away with them I had witnessed once more the good that regular swimming lessons can do, even if you live in Alberta. I was delighted to find the grandchildren are turning out to be ‘water-babies’ too.
Having spent so many Christmas seasons in ‘the Islands,’ Maui itself holds a special place in my children’s memories of Christmas; my grandchildren are now having a similar opportunity to experience its delights.
When our children were little my husband held a sales position within the logging industry, which meant he travelled a great deal, often spending several nights a week away from home. Anyone who knows that business, will acknowledge the month of December is generally a slower time, with many logging camps shut down for unfavourable weather conditions or simply their scheduled crew holidays.
We were never a family that went away during the school’s summer holiday time. Instead we chose the Christmas school break for our vacation. When the kids were 4, 6 and 8 we tried our first warm vacation – Maui was the choice. It turned out to be a fabulous change from winter at home, an opportunity to extend the summer swimming lessons and best of all, the telephone didn’t ring.
We treated those weeks as true family time and came home and back to school with a better understanding of each other. Because of the assignments the children completed for their teachers we learned together a great deal about the history, traditions and industries of the Hawaiian people. It was a good experience for all of us and for 12 years it was an accepted family tradition.
Some will ask, “How could you be away from home during that celebration time?” We could for the benefits I’ve mentioned, we could because we had a very small nuclear family of only our parents. Having Christmas on Maui differed from ours at home only by the day’s temperature and its activities.
Here was our typical Christmas Day: Christmas morning open stocking, eat breakfast and clean up the dishes, then open the few packages from grandparents we had brought along. Next came my dressing a turkey and packing a lunch; just before we left for the beach I put the turkey into the oven.
When we arrived back at the cabin at sunset with sun touched, sandy, salt-crusted skin everyone had a shower, maybe even a dip in the pool. Then it was into pajamas for the children, followed by a celebratory dinner. It was the same meal as we served at home but with less fuss and scrambling to meet an unspoken deadline for its service. The next day for our lunch sandwiches we had turkey meat and cranberry sauce. And so our vacation continued, back to a different beach each day.