One of the nicest of my family's holiday traditions is that we have annual gathering with the extended family. My paternal grandmother, my Popo in Chinese, hosted the gathering every year. Cousins, aunts, uncles, and family friends returned from college or their lives on the Mainland and the local relatives came from across O'ahu for the gathering. Over the years, the gathering moved from my Popo's tiny home to various restaurants around Honolulu. When my Popo passed away, we learned that one of the things she did was to put aside funds in a trust that could be used to continue to host our family Christmas gatherings. My father, who was the middle of three siblings, passed away many years ago, so our family gatherings are now hosted by his siblings–my aunt and uncle.
For the past few years, our Christmas celebration has been held at the Halekulani Hotel, the only five star hotel on O'ahu. The food and the service are always absolutely wonderful. It is the perfect Hawaii mix of casual elegance where you get amazing food and service with a multi-million dollar view while wearing an aloha shirt and open toed sandals, but truly the best part is getting to see all of my cousins and aunts and uncles.
I know that lots of people find their family gatherings a chore and honestly as a younger man I often didn't value chance to get together with my family as much as I should have, but I have to say that it has become one of the most enjoyable parts of my visits home. I truly love the chance to sit around and catch up with everyone and I think that it must make my Popo happy to know that we continue to gather and enjoy each others' company.
I have no way of knowing, but after all of these years I suspect that Popo's original fund is long gone and my Uncle and Aunt host it in Popo's memory, but either way, it is a really wonderful tradition and is part of what makes Hawaii continue to be the place that I call home even though I live and work (and now own a home) in Lala Land.
Merry Christmas, Popo!