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Merry Christmas Dorrie

Just wanted to take a break from my creative discussions and share a personal moment.

My wife and I have been married for 39 years and have four Christmases before that during our long years of engagement. In all that time, I have never been able to truly surprise her for Christmas. I slowly determined that this year I was going to change that.

A few weeks ago she and I were at a local mall and decided to visit a favorite jewelry store. She looked around and it wasn’t long before she focused on a particular bracelet. It had small Mother of Pearl stones separated by tiny little pearls that surrounded her wrist. When the time came for a decision, I thought for sure that she would want this as her present, but she surprised me by saying that she wanted to think about it. It was at that moment that I determined that unless she saw something else she wanted more, this would be her gift.

Now it was Friday the twentieth of December. She hadn’t seen anything else she liked so I was just about set to launch my effort to make the purchase and surprise her. Unfortunately, we were once again at the same mall and while she had indicated looking at other shops, I was disappointed that we were eventually headed back to the same jewelry store where we had seen the bracelet. It seemed like surprise was off the table.

Maybe Santa was on my side (even though I am Jewish) because when we asked for the salesman who had assisted us the last time, he had just left. There was another salesperson and she did her best to see if he had set the bracelet aside or made a note of what one it was. She could find neither. Meanwhile, Dorrie saw another bracelet that she liked, but after trying it on still was not sure if she liked it enough that it would be her Christmas present.

On the drive home, I told my wife that I would contact the first salesman and see if he still had the first one or if he could order it and get it quickly. At that moment, my plan began to come together. I called the salesman on Saturday and he said that the one we had looked at had been sold but that he could get another one just like it by Monday.

I typically don’t lie to my wife, but this was in a good cause. I told her that the one she liked would not be available for several weeks. I then asked her whether she would be happy with the second bracelet. She said that she liked it but really preferred the first one. She said she would be happy to wait until that one was available. More good news.

The salesman was helpful in letting me know what it would cost if I bought both bracelets. I told him to let me know as soon as the one that he had to order arrived. He agreed and by three in the afternoon on Monday, it was there and so was I. I had him wrap both gifts separately and asked him to mark the one that was the favorite. When I got home, I placed both presents in a closet in the room that serves as my office. Since I have never surprised her before, there was zero chance that Dorrie would go searching to see what I had bought for her.

Christmas morning arrives in Mechanicsville, Virginia. I went downstairs early as I do every morning to make Dorrie’s coffee. It was at that time that I took the one marked present and set it under our Christmas tree. Later when it was time to wake her, I finally came up with the final piece to the puzzle. How was I going to get her to sit by the tree when she wasn’t expecting a present? I had a brainstorm.

“Dorrie, did you wrap our daughter’s present last night?”

She nodded.

“Why don’t you get up then and I will wake Aly and the three of us can have a little Christmas morning family gift opening session?”

She agreed and soon the three of us were on the couch. Dorrie had surprised me as well as she had done many times before with a couple wrapped gifts. She encouraged Aly to get her gift. Our daughter was thrilled with the cool sports jersey she had asked for when she had it unwrapped. I opened the first of my presents which turned out to be a nice pair of slacks and a really cool dress shirt. It was time to launch operation SURPRISE.

“Dorrie, I think I heard some noises on the roof last night. I think Santa may have been here. I’m not sure how he got in, what with us having a gas fireplace, but hey, why don’t you take a look under the tree?”

She looked and looked but I may have hidden it a bit better than I planned, so I ended up having to help her find it. When I handed her the bright blue box with the silver bow, her eyes went wide.

“Is this…”

I just shook my head. “Open it.”

She was delighted to find the favored bracelet. Meanwhile I opened the other gift from her to find another nice pair of slacks. It was time to do the final revelation.

“What’s that Santa?” I asked holding my arched hand to my ear. “There’s something else?”

I took some steps toward out hallway that leads to the upstairs, going on with the show.

“Are you sure? Okayyy.”

Rushing up to grab the second gift, I returned to our family room asking Dorrie to close her eyes and put out her hands.

After a few seconds the second identically wrapped gift was sitting there.

Her eyes were now forming a question.

“Go on. Open it.”

When the other bracelet was unwrapped, her eyes were now as wide as saucers.

“Paul, it’s too much. It’s too expensive…”

“Dor, do you like them?”

Without hesitation, she answered yes. That moment is one I will hold on to, even with my memory challenged brain for a very long time. The rest of Christmas day was charming and a family treasure.

Here’s wishing that you had a wonderful Christmas too. If you haven’t managed a surprise like this, here’s hoping that you will get a chance in the future.

Thanks so much. Happy Holidays.

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