Amy Roberts: An island in the sun
Last year about this exact same time, I had a rather intense moment of panic. Five solid days of year-end consumption loomed, and I had yet to purchase a single holiday gift.
That’s not like me. Most years, my shopping is complete by July. I suppose it helps my gift giving list is relatively small — my immediate family and (some years) a boyfriend. Besides the ease that comes with having only a handful of people to shop for, when I stumble upon the perfect gift for someone, I buy it regardless of the time of year and hide it until Christmas. I’ve done this for as long as I can remember. When I was in high school, this habit almost burned the house down. My sisters knew I bought gifts well in advance and come August they would tear apart the house looking for their presents. In my 9th grade wisdom, I tried hiding the goods in the oven. Apparently, I just assumed we’d be having takeout for the next five months.
But despite a lifetime of prompt purchases, one year ago, I distinctly remember the pit in my gut as the Black Friday advertisements began seeping into every possible nook of my life. There was just a month until Christmas and I hadn’t bought a single gift. Worse, I didn’t have a single idea what to get anyone. The parade of consumerism that followed — Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, and Giving Tuesday — didn’t help. I was at a loss. Eventually, we all get to a point in our lives where those closest to us just don’t need any more crap.
I couldn’t tell you what thoughtless items I eventually settled on. Some long-since discarded toy for my niece. Probably something that promised to be a life-changing gadget for my parents, the novelty of which quickly wore off. I suspect whatever it was I put under the tree last year has subsequently found its way to a Goodwill.
A few months after Christmas of 2018, my family came out for a ski weekend. I asked them if they remembered anything they received that holiday season, and we all had a rather difficult time recalling. Not because we weren’t grateful, but because, at the end of the day, whatever we ended up with was really just something else to dust, or wash, or trip over.
It was during that weekend I decided Christmas of 2019 would look different. In large part because there would be nothing from me under the tree. I was determined to forgo the material stuff in favor of the memorable stuff. Which is how we all ended up in Fiji last week.
It was a splurge to be sure. Everyone’s Christmas, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, anniversary, birthday, Easter, Kwanzaa, and every other holiday Hallmark makes a card for would all be wrapped into this week on a beach.
I chose Fiji rather hastily — I wanted some place sunny and warm and it’s been on my list. Last spring, I declared my intention and the location before I’d done any research beyond a quick Internet search that produced wallpaper-worthy images of tropical island paradises. They were enough to convince me.
I would soon learn many of the country’s island resorts are for adults or couples only. Which was a bit problematic considering my five-year-old niece had no intentions of staying behind. The other places I found catered to kids so excessively, they might as well be a stop on a Disney Cruise. I needed a place that would be relaxing for the adults, but also entertaining for the munchkin.
We ended up at the Malolo Island Resort — a place I can only assume was designed by parents who adore their kids just as much as they adore the life they had before having children. Adults-only pool time, dining, and activities are guilt-free when kids are entertained by resort workers who take them snorkeling, dolphin watching, and stand watch as little humans from various continents come together in the universal language of play. We could just as easily opt-in to family fun, alone time, or any possible mix we desired.
Between spending a week in Fiji and having all of my holiday shopping done, I have no stress about Black Friday and its onslaught of copycats. But I’m especially chilled knowing those I love will remember this week, and this gift, for a long, long time.
Amy Roberts is a freelance writer, longtime Park City resident and the proud owner of two rescued Dalmatians, Stanley and Willis. Follow her on Twitter @amycroberts.
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