All the girls are home, the tree is decorated, the presents have been bought and wrapped (or sent), the pantry and refrigerator stocked – we are ready for Christmas Day!
Here’s what’s happening at Casa Aloha for Christmas:
First, I’ve changed our Christmas Eve menu: Instead of Pono Market chicken, etc. I’m going to prepare a Chinese feast of mabo dofu, stir-fried pork with peppers, chili shrimp, and rice. I planned to make these dishes for Meiling while she’s home as they’re some of her favorites, and realized I am running out of time because she heads back to the mainland the morning of the 28th.
Christmas morning will start with coffee for Brett and I, and hot cocoa with marshmallows for the girls while they open their stockings. Then we’ll have our traditional breakfast of toasted bagels with cream cheese and smoked salmon, some fruit, and orange juice. I wanted to make something different for breakfast this year, like a breakfast casserole, but was unanimously told no. Tradition rules!
We’ll open our presents while we eat breakfast – only one person opens a gift at a time so we can all admire each gift. Tradition also dictates we open from oldest to youngest, so Brett always leads off. He and I don’t exchange gifts, but we’ve been told there will be gifts from the girls.
Here’s what we’re giving the girls this year:
- Meiling has always been the most difficult of all our children to shop for, but we’ve gotten smart in our old age and these days ask for suggestions. She’ll be getting a pair of Birkenstock sandals and a Forever 21 gift card.
- We bought WenYu a cozy, fleece-lined bathrobe and this pair of slippers to wear in her dorm room – she likes to stay warm.
- YaYu will get an Atlas pasta machine along with a pasta drying rack and pasta cookbook. One of the highlights of her culinary class this past term was learning to make fresh pasta, and she’s been dreaming about having her own pasta machine ever since.
- We sent a check to Japan for our grandchildren. Our son and daughter-in-law purchased a much-desired Lego Star Wars set for our grandson, and our granddaughter will get a jacket and some baby toys.
- The girls will each get two Toblerone bars, some assorted Lindor truffles and Ghiradelli chocolate squares in their stockings along with a Mālie Organics travel set, a $10 Starbucks gift card, and a crisp $20 bill.
Our budget this year was $600, and with an assist from some Amazon credit we earned via Swagbucks and our kamaaina discounts, the total spent on Christmas gifts this year was $604.71, less than $5 over our budget (and if I had waited a couple of weeks to buy the pasta machine I could have saved an additional $12, but who knew Amazon would drop the price). The girls saved for and bought their own gifts for everyone but I have no idea how much they spent or what they bought for anyone.
Brett’s sister sent the girls a big box with fun stocking stuffer-type gifts, and she also sent Brett and I a generous check to cover things like meals out and such while they are all are here.
Christmas afternoon, weather permitting, we plan to walk together out to the Pineapple Dump and do some whale watching.
It’s going to be a wonderful Christmas!