I love surprises. That tingly feeling of anticipation as they hold your wrapped package in their lap, wondering what on earth it could be, not daring to hope, but hoping anyway that it might be that one thing they really wanted. The tension builds as they gently ease open the wrapping paper (or tear it off, if that's the way they roll). And then, if you shopped/planned/or made correctly, the look on their face makes it all worthwhile.
Early in my marriage I tried for surprises and they always failed. First of all because my husband has an almost supernatural gift for knowing what's inside a wrapped package. I tried wrapping a tie rolled up into a squishy ball, foregoing the standard and obvious tie box. My husband, picked it up, gave it a squeeze, and said, "Oh, that's a tie." I was quite depressed. Then I tried the box within a box gambit. He'd pick it up, shake it, listen critically, and announce the contents. Boo again. He guessed the cologne before he even picked up the box, smelling it three feet away from the tree.
Finally my husband realized that knowing what all of his presents were a week before he even unwrapped them drained Christmas morning of a lot of its fun. He now has a strict no guessing policy. He doesn't shake, squeeze, or sniff any packages under the tree. Until Christmas morning. Then he releases his inner Karnack and has a good time.
But the other reason my surprises fail is because of finances. Since he pays the bills, unless I pay cash, he knows about it. And accumulating a stack of cash isn't something I'm good at. I do many things fairly well, but none of them generate income, so I'm stuck either asking him for money to buy him a present (which he always vetoes, saying he doesn't need anything) or buying in a very modest price range.
Last year I finally managed to surprise him. I'd been saving cash in my super secret cash stash and when I found a really good deal on Amazon on something he had on his wish list, I asked my daughter to order it and handed her the cash. She kept it at her house and brought it over Christmas eve, sneaking it into the house while my husband was occupied with the grand baby.
Christmas morning he was happy, amazed, and confused when he opened his gift. He said thank you many times, then asked over and over "How did you do it?" It drove him nuts. I loved that best of all.
Today's cookies are molasses cookies. An obvious choice for Christmas time and always welcome. What's the surprise part about it? Um, (she coughs in embarrassment and nervously shuffles feet), it's the recipe. There is no recipe today. You see, I made these cookies a while ago. I've been too busy with life to stop and take pictures of stuff I've made recently, so I was really scraping the bottom of the barrel for this post. And after I'd gotten it written, I could not find the recipe. I'd helpfully written the notation that it came from a King Arthur's Baking Sheet and was Whole Wheat Molasses Cookies. So, if any of you happen to have the recipe, please email it to me and I'll post it. Till then, I'll keep looking. And hopefully I've inspired you to go bake your own favorite molasses cookie.