I always am excited when I have a surprise for someone in the family. It doesn't always happen each year to everyone. But this year, I had a few. I'm terrible at keeping secrets and usually tell someone. This year, I kept the surprises to myself so everyone could enjoy them.
We started off with Justin. When they were decorating their tree, Mindy had sent me pictures. She remarked about how much she loved her ornament collection and all the special memories they conjured. She then sent me photos of the 3 lonely ornaments Justin had. I decided to get him an ornament. Hallmark has a nice collection of retro ornaments. Since I've been in email contact with his mom, I emailed her to find out what Justin's favorite toys were back in the 1980's. She responded that he really loved his cabbage patch doll. She told me the story that went along with it.
Hallmark does not currently have cabbage patch ornaments, so I went on Ebay and found two from 1983---little boys. I ordered them and was excited for the surprise. The very next day, Justin's mom sent me an email. She said, "Justin's going to kill me for doing this, but I found two photos of him with his cabbage patch dolls." I was beyond the moon!! The "plan" immediately came to mind.
I printed those pictures. On Christmas Eve, I had Justin open the ornaments first. I had Mindy start video-ing (she had no idea what was happening). Then I presented him with the photos and told the story as related by his mom. She said that her mother searched all over to find him the doll. Her father was not happy that she was buying his grandson a doll! I then added that in the photos, it looked like he had TWO cabbage patch dolls!
I surprised Sandy with an album by Kid Rock and a guitar pick that he used. She was beside herself. My cousin is married to a sound man who travels with many different famous bands. This year, he toured with Kid Rock, so that's how I scored the guitar pick! Thanks, Terry (and Judy)! Sandy is going to set up a little Kid Rock shrine on a shelf at her house. I knew she'd love it. Surprise #2---score.
Greg had put "Notre Dame art" on his Christmas list for the past few years. This year, I found some awesome pictures on Easy. They used the map of Indiana---specifically South Bend as the background for the Fighting Irish leprechaun, the ND logo and the shamrock. I had them framed. They were awesome. I can't wait to see them on the wall. Surprise #3---score.
I was pretty excited for Butch this year. We don't really do a lot in the way of gifts. We're at a point in our lives where if we want something, we just buy it for ourselves. There's not much we want. When I Christmas shop, guys are especially hard for me. But this year, I had a couple of good ideas. One, I got him a scratch off world map and had it framed. We're doing a lot of traveling now and I thought it would be fun for him to scratch off where we've been. Two, when he saw the needlepoint belt that Stephanie is stitching for Nicky, he made a comment that he thought it was neat. So, I decided to get one for him. I didn't have time to stitch it, but planned to give him the canvas. I was really excited when I came across a needlepoint belt of the "old" course at St. Andrews in Scotland---which he was privileged to play. I knew he would love that. The only problem was that you had to purchase the best already needlepointed. You couldn't just get the canvas. So, I got him the finished best just because it was the "old" course---I knew he'd love it. Three, I picked out a needlepoint canvas to actually stitch for him. It has classic cars on it. He liked the canvas, so I'm sure he'll love the belt. Three surprises for him. Surprise #3---score.
That was really it for BIG surprises this year. I say big surprises because most of the gifts are a surprise. I usually only pick one or two things from the santa lists. Luckily for me, the family seems to like what I pick out for them. They never return anything unless there's a size issue. That makes me happy. We're not a gift card kind of family. We like the process of trying to find just the right gift for each person. They always come up with fun stuff for me too. I know it's hard for a gal "who has everything!"
Christmas 2015 is in the books!