Our family tradition is to open presents on Christmas Eve. But in 1998, we opened gifts a few days earlier. We told our children there were family members going out of town, and they would not be here for Christmas. Luckily, they did not ask which family members because it was US!
For weeks, I had shopped for summer clothes in the winter. Not an easy feat trying to find bathing suits because Internet shopping wasn’t really a thing yet back then.
I purchased brand new suitcases for my two boys and packed shorts, t-shirts, snorkel gear, beach towels and sunscreen. On top of that, I placed what I wanted my children to first see – brochures and airline tickets of where we were going to be on Christmas Day!
That evening at my in-laws, we did the usual holiday ritual of eating, visiting and opening gifts. We had our children open their gifts from us last. When they opened their presents and found suitcases containing clothes, they were puzzled. The look in their eyes said, “Uh, what’s this? Clothes? Really?”
We all know 17 and 13 year old boys hate getting clothes of any kind. For any occasion.
I couldn’t believe they missed the brochures of beaches and surfers!
“Boys, look at the airline ticket!” I said. When they both looked closely and saw Honolulu, they couldn’t believe it. They immediately started looking at the brochures to see what they were all going to get to do. It was fun to watch them get excited over “clothes” as they dug through the suitcase to see what else was packed. This was going to be a Christmas to remember!
But we live in Oklahoma. It wouldn’t be normal without some sort of crazy weather phenomenon. By the time we arrived at the airport Christmas Eve, a full-blown snowstorm had hit. All flights were cancelled. We had to return home and try again on Christmas Day.
We were disappointed but hey… it was Christmas Eve and our family was still getting together. We stopped by the in-laws and celebrated our traditional Christmas Eve!
We flew out on Christmas Day leaving a cold, wintery Oklahoma and arriving in beautiful, sunny Honolulu, Hawaii. Warm beaches. Beautiful blue ocean. Palm trees. Our Aloha Christmas was something our family would never forget.
He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree. – Roy L. Smith