by Diane Haynes Woodburn
Ahh, the holidays! Time for joy and celebration. Translation: fasten your seatbelt—it’s going to be a wild ride. Here’s my to-do list: Engage husband in archeological dig to find the Xmas decorations, attempt the enigma of our “easy to assemble” tree, give up and bribe sympathetic friend to assemble aforementioned tree, clean the house, lose five pounds (make that ten), jam the calendar full of dinner parties that will put every ounce back on. Sigh. Shop for loose yet flattering festive clothing . . . deep sigh. Clean the house. Organize the staff party. Begin armistice negotiations on mutually acceptable holiday dinner dates with our married kids (who have in-laws who expect said offspring at their holiday dinners. The injustice!) And oh yes, all four of our boys and two of their spouses have birthdays between November 1 and December 14. Bake a cake, bake another. . . and our first grandchild is due mid-December, so let’s throw in a baby shower. Clean the house. But wait, Hannukah gets wedged in somewhere; let’s make latkes! (The miracle of Hannukah is that we survive!) Clean the house. Presents? Where do I start? Better yet, where do I end?
I need a massage.
Don’t misunderstand me. I love the holidays. I love that we all get together, that I get to cook and bake and laugh a lot. It’s the guesswork of what to get relatives and friends, muscling through crowds of holiday shoppers, wrapping the presents, decorating that diabolical tree. . . . Holy cannoli! Can’t we just give each other presents all year long? If you know your daughter-in-law would love that fringed paisley purse, why not just buy it then and there? I can imagine my phone call next April: “Hey, Katherine. Can you come by tomorrow evening? I have your Christmas present!” Now that sounds fun. Let’s just eat.
That’s why I like Thanksgiving best; it’s about food and family, friends, and sweet memories. I remember one Thanksgiving when I was still in college. My mom and I had been cooking for hours and had just plunked ourselves down at the table where all the desserts were lined up. We were admiring our accomplishments and enjoying a well-earned cup of coffee, when Jason, Mother’s cat, jumped up on the table to join the party—and with feline savoir faire sashayed across two pumpkin pies, leaving little paw prints embedded in each. Mother and I were both so tired, neither of us did a thing. We just watched him, then turned to each other and burst into hysterics. “Put some whipped cream on it,” she advised, wiping a tear of laughter from her eye. “It will be fine.”
If, like me, you could use a little backup for the chaos to come, Maui Nō Ka ‘Oi is here to help. This holiday issue is packed with ideas on the perfect gift for him or her. Our annual Shaka List offers twenty reasons to love Maui: a paean to the places, people, and experiences that make Maui nō ka ‘oi—the very best. (Shannon Wianecki has been compiling the Shaka List for twelve years. That makes over 300 cool discoveries you’ll find in our online archives!) And if you’re still experiencing holiday overload, we recommend a quiet morning filled with incandescent beauty, as Kyle Ellison shares some of the best vantages to watch a Maui sunrise—without the crowds.
Feeling refreshed? Ready to tackle your own festivities? We’ve got just the recipe (well, recipes) in MNKO’s “Holiday Test Kitchen.” Taverna’s chef Roger Stettler shares an Italian-inspired holiday dinner, complete with a heavenly dessert of zabaglione di grappa (a way better version of figgy pudding). And if your zabaglione is less than perfect, remember Mom’s advice for any holiday crisis, “Put some whipped cream on it. It will be fine.” It’s pretty much my mantra.
Wishing you a holiday filled with friends, family, food, love, and a little whipped cream—for the memories.