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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Christmas Gifts (11/13/08)

TITLE: WHAT A SURPRISE
By Norma-Anne Hough
11/14/08


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Christmas has always been a wonderful, happy time in our household. Weeks beforehand, the girls, when they were little would send their letters off to Santa, and then wait with great excitement to see if they got what they had asked for.

The joy on their little faces when opening their gifts around the tree is always something I shall remember and treasure. Most times Santa had been very good in getting their requests right and only on one or two occasions had he slipped up. They forgave him once they realized the gift they had was better than the one they had asked for.

I have a special memory of one Christmas in particular. Jacquie was five and Bronwyn almost four. I was seven months pregnant with Mandy-Jane and it was a really hot day. I needed to buy Dave’s gift from the girls. A huge new store had opened at the new mall, so I decided we would go there.

On the way, I explained to them that they were not allowed to tell David what we were going to buy, as it was a surprise.
“Promise we won’t tell” they said.
“Do you know what daddy wants?” asked Jacquie.
“Did daddy write to Santa?” Bronwyn asked innocently.
“Must have” replied Jacquie.

Arriving at the mall, I began to have second thoughts, as there were just streams and streams of cars looking for a parking. I patiently circled around twice before my silent prayers were answered.
I decided to let the children have their photographs with Santa taken first and then to do the shopping. Wise move as the queue was not too long. Sitting on his lap they told him they were buying their daddy his present that day. Santa was duly impressed, and asked all the usual questions. Giggling with delight, they left. We then headed towards the new departmental store, Game. I had decided to get Dave a game called Swing ball that he would be able to play with the girls. It was the latest trend and he had remarked a few nights earlier that he thought it looked fun, when advertised on television.

Having made my purchases, I suggested to the girls that we make our way home; I promised to take them to their favourite Ice Cream Parlour as they had been so well behaved. Later that morning we finally arrived home.

“Please may we wrap daddy’s present?” they begged.
“You may help me, once I have finished the washing.”
“Goody, hurry up.”
Smiling I finished the washing and then called them.
Once we had wrapped the gift, I again told them it was a secret.
“We know,” they said with angelic faces. (When will I learn?)

Later that afternoon when David got home the girls rushed to meet him.
“What have my girls done today?” he asked hugging them both.
“Secret things” they told him with mischievous grins.
“Ah can’t you tell me?”
“No, mummy will be cross and it is a secret.”
Walking through to the kitchen, he smiled as he kissed me.
“They had fun today. Did it go well?”
“Bit tiring in this heat but they were so well behaved.
I am off for a swim before we eat,” I replied.

Heading towards the pool, I called to the girls to join me.
“No we are talking to daddy,” Jacquie told me.
Relaxing in the cool water I heard them talking on the patio.
“Daddy, we can’t tell you what it is.” I heard Bronwyn say.
“It has a pole with a ball on a string,” added Jacquie seriously,” but we are not telling you what it is.”
“There are also two bats” Bronwyn added importantly.
“Bronwyn and Jacquie be quiet!” I yelled.
“Don’t worry mummy,” Jacquie said, “Daddy doesn’t know what it is. It is still our secret.”

Later once the girls were in bed we both collapsed with laughter.
“I certainly have learnt a lesson,” he said. “When I shop for you I will do it alone.”
“Good idea. It was so sweet though listening to them.”
On Christmas day when we opened the gifts, Dave put on a good show of being so very surprised.
“You see mummy, he didn’t even know.” Jacquie told me.
Beaming with delight, they insisted he try it out with them immediately. Listening to their happy laughter and watching the look on their faces, is something that will live in my memory forever.


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This article has been read 621 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Genia Gilbert11/22/08
I love the genuineness of this and the joy that children bring and leave on our hearts. Neat recollection, and well told. Wish we'd never lose that wonder!
Jan Ackerson 11/23/08
Very pleasant to read!

Be careful of over-using adverbs--it's almost always better to use a strong and interesting verb without the adverb.

I enjoyed the children's voices in this story.
Leah Nichols 11/25/08
Very pleasant story and neat recollection. I know you were recalling the day exactly, but a few details like doing the washing and stuff could be left out....just focus on the story. That gives you more words to work with as well.

Nicely done! I enjoyed it very much. :)
Leah Nichols 11/25/08
Very pleasant story and neat recollection. I know you were recalling the day exactly, but a few details like doing the washing and stuff could be left out....just focus on the story. That gives you more words to work with as well.

Nicely done! I enjoyed it very much. :)
Catrina Bradley 11/25/08
This left me smiling at the pure joy and innocence of children. My favorite part was Jacqui "not" telling daddy what his gift was. Thank you for sharing your family with us!
Marijo Phelps11/26/08
Enjoyed the story- the kids were real and great!