January 7, 2010 

I like surprises.

Both giving and receiving. The excitement of planning a surprise for someone makes me happy. And the unexpected surprise from someone leaves me breathless. I’m thinking about surprises because it seems they’re all around lately.

Parties

I love a surprise party. In December, I flew to Virginia for a surprise 40th birthday party for Shelly, my best friend from college. Not only was the party a surprise, but my attendance was an extra twist. Her boyfriend contacted me about a month before, so I had a lot of time to anticipate. That’s part of the fun - anticipating the surprise for another. She was completely surprised - and then she was surrounded by friends and co-workers and we had the best night!

The one time I experienced a surprise party was prior to my first wedding. My fiancé and I lived in California but had come home to Missouri a week before the wedding. We had a meeting with the preacher to review the vows, etc. and when we came back to my parents’ house, there were tons of friends and family waiting to "shower" us. I was completely surprised - I literally had no idea! And because I had moved away, I saw old friends and classmates I hadn’t seen in years, which made it a mini-reunion. And a really great bridal shower.

Gifts

The best gifts are giving what the person actually wants. That’s often easier said than done. But really, you don’t have to be a detective. Pay attention and you will know. Sometimes, what they want is something they just can’t buy for themselves. Maybe they think "Oh, it costs too much" or "Do I really need that?"

My friend Teresa definitely received something she wanted for Christmas - a twice a month cleaning service. Her husband knew she had asked their neighbor for the number of her service, but Teresa just never got around to calling. She probably figured it was too much of an extravagance. But she works full time and they have 2 dogs and frankly, it’s a great gift. Because she wouldn’t get it for herself.

I was surprised with a beautiful snow globe for Christmas. It’s a gorgeous Jim Shore "12 Days of Christmas" globe with 11 figurines around the base and a partridge in a pear tree on top. I collect Christmas-themed snow globes (Santa, Nativity Scene, A Christmas Carol, etc). I had been talking about it at work because I kept waiting for it to go on sale and then I went back to the store and it was gone! A few days later, my sales managers surprised me with it - I was completely overwhelmed and almost started crying (or as I call it, getting verklempt - "talk amongst yourselves").

A week later, I surprised my mom with a tennis bracelet for Christmas. She had been looking at them at Macy’s and told me she thought that might be a nice gift for my brother’s girlfriend. Or, "she would even like one." She had been talking about a digital camera and was expecting that from Santa. But on Christmas Day, she opened up a rectangle red box instead. She was definitely verklempt. And I couldn’t have been happier.

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