Last year, we spent the two weeks leading up to Christmas in Hawaii (partly at a conference, but still!) and have had a number of extra-ordinary trips this year, so we spent much of the last three months telling the girls that this year, we were going to have a nice quiet Christmas morning at home. The tradition in our house is that Christmas eve everyone opens new pajama's, Christmas morning the girls get up and open their Christmas stockings, followed by a special breakfast, and then open presents. It makes for a pleasant morning. Tigana especially was psyched up for this agreeing -- indeed insisting -- that she too wanted nothing more than a quiet Christmas at home this year. (Kasia was less convinced. Ever since we went to Hawaii last year, she has constantly asked at least once a week when we are going back; named her new webkin's pony she got for her Birthday in Nov "Hawaii", and made it clear that if she had a choice she would choose Hawaii over any day at home.) So.
Christmas eve, Mary distributes new pjs; Christmas morning the kids get up early and we open our Christmas stockings; have a big breakfast; then open presents. Mary carefully hands out the gifts in order, so that the last gifts opened are gift certificate from Grandma for surfing lessons for Tigana and Kasia. "For next time we're somewhere where there's surfing."
Tigana says, on cue, "I wish we were in Hawaii right now."
Robert: "Really? But you said you just wanted a quiet Christmas at home this year."
Tigana: "Well yeah. But, you know. Hawaii would be great."
Mary: "Oh good. Because that's your last present. We're going to Hawaii."
Tigana: "We are? When?"
Robert: "Get your coat. The plane leaves in 90 minutes."
Tigana: "AaaaaahhhhhaahahahahahahahahahahahhhhhaaaaaaaWooHoo! Really? Hahahahah! Wow! Really? Aahahahaaaaa!" (And so on for another 10 straight minutes, bounching off walls, jumping up and down and so forth.)
Kasia received the news somewhat more calmly but just as happily. Scheduling has never been one of her strong points, never being entirely clear on whether a particular day is a school day or holiday or whatever, so just allows her parents to shuffle her around more or less at random, secure in the knowledge that if she asks often enough, Hawaii will appear in the rotation there somewhere.
Needless to say, given the chaos in the airline industry over the previous week, Mary (who handles all our planning and logistics) was a nervous wreck Christmas eve waiting to see if all her careful planning was for naught. Booking our flights for Christmas day (when relatively few people are flying compared to the rest of the season) had seemed like a stroke of genious 3 months earlier, but as the airlines were cancelling 90% of flights out of Vancouver the day before, it suddenly didn't seem quite so clever.
However, our flight out of Lethbridge was on time and uneventual. Our trip out of Calgary was delayed about four hours while the airline tried to round up flight crew. (Since the pilot and copilot were already on board the plane, I got about a dozen passengers to agree to take turns serving drinks if we could take off, but the desk clerk didn't seem to take our offer seriously. Union shop, I suppose.) Fortunately, the flight to Maui out of Vancouver was similarly delayed, so we had no trouble making our connection, though we didn't find that out until off the plane in Vancouver, so Mary had been tearing out her hair on the assumption we'd missed our connection. When the flight to Maui finally got in, we had missed our car reservation. Budget rental car was closed, so we had to take a cab (roughly $100.00 US) to our hotel instead. But since we had arrived in the middle of the night, I'm not sure how crazy I would have been driving an unfamiliar route in the dark. But all in all, not TOO bad a way to spend Christmas afternoon and evening, after a nice quiet Christmas morning at home.