“It’s thaaaaat time of year…..”, when tiny Keahole-Kona airport is stacked to overflow with those gleaming private jets at the south end of the runway. The snowbirds have come home to roost for the winter and spend a little downtime in their timeshare condos or expansive homes in North and South Kohala coast. On Wednesdays, Kailua village is flooded with foot-traffic from the weekly Pride of America cruise ship – a boon to local restaurants and shops.
Winter yields sunny yet crisp morning weather and mild temperatures during the day. Evenings sometimes require a light sweater when strolling through the village, while up-mauka, locals appear in flannel jackets and lambskin booties while snuggled in front of their fireplaces, outdoor firepits and wood burning stoves. Night skies are crystal clear, featuring pulsating stars ripe for picking.
In Kona, the holiday season also affords rounds of parties and get-togethers with island style panache!
The Kona Babes commemorated 2011 with a much anticipated annual Cookie Exchange held at Carol’s island manse on the slopes of Hualalai.
De Riguer: Each attendee provides a minimum of 3 dozen cookies (lovingly prepared or wisely purchased by the contributor)
and a fun gift item valued up to $25; placed under the festive island-style Christmas tree…
Carol, our hostess, provided the basics of a salad bar (greens and shrimp) and the rest of us contributed tasty supplements, agreed upon in advance by a circulating email!
Although a much smaller group this year than usual – we had fun doing what the Babes normally do: eat, drink and be merry… and talk story…
After devouring the salad bar,
we gathered in the living room for the gift exchange – yippee!!! (are we just kids…at heart??)
The Rules: each of us picked a random number to determine the order of gift picking, with number 1 as the most optimum choice, in the end! (you’ll see why very soon…)
But first, there were little surprises for all Babes in attendance: Special gift bags with assorted personal pampering items (please elevate your mind out of the gutter – I am talking flavored lip gloss, etc….)
and also assorted t-shirt styled nighties (for future Kona Babe sojourns off-island?). Those nightshirts will come in handy should you have the unfortunate experience of a hotel fire – at least you know you can run down the emergency exit stairwell and burst out onto the street in front of a news camera looking great!
Continuation of Rules: The first gift is chosen, unwrapped and oogled by everyone, as Chooser #1 sits down with her coveted prize.
Number 2 can either pick a new gift from under the tree or <GASP> forcefully take Number 1’s gift. If it’s the latter option, then number 1 has to choose another package or bag.
Number 3 can usurp either 1 or 2’s treasure, or select something new from the remaining bounty under the tree.
On it goes until the last person has succumbed to the madness, which, by now, has left everyone completely frazzled, yet jovial.
Finally, it’s Number 1’s turn again to choose from everyone else’s booty or else keep her original gift. Thankfully, it all ends there!
Did I mention that each gift can only be “traded” up to 3 times? By then, it’s so handled that no one wants it! LOL – just kidding!!
In the past, things actually got a little competitive at times – but this year, it was all fun and relaxation as most of us stayed with our original pick – and that’s a testament to just how good our grab bag gifts were!
It was time for the actual cookie exchange – one of the ‘absentee’ Babes thoughtfully donated holiday-themed treat bags to use for just such a purpose.
Another Kona Babe provided plastic cookie containers to assist us in packing up the outstanding display of this year’s dessert presentation.
This year’s cookie presentation yielded fabulous results!
From the more traditional…….
…to a varied group of standard and eclectic…..
…but all of it…and I do mean all of it… was scrumptious as can be! As only the Kona Babes can do it!!
The hilarious group shot(s) ordeal with cameras set on timer was the final and traditional wrap – signaling the end of another fun and friend-filled year for the Kona Babes. Thank you readers for following our (sometimes sporadic) posts – but always with aloha in mind, as we wish you, dear friends, Mele Kalikimaka and Hau’oli Makahiki Hou for 2012 from the bottom of our hearts!!
…Mahalo Annie (and Annie’s mom) for the wonderful hospitality!!