We recently just returned from what I would call a holiday of a lifetime. We went to Alberta, Canada and were fortunate enough to indulge in some of the magical wonders this part of Canada has to offer. All, while spending quality time with our family over one of my most favourite times of the year, Christmas. This trip all came about when my brother-in-law and husband decided to surprise our family with a trip to Calgary so my sister and I's family could spend Christmas together. The opportunity of all of us with all of the kids to have this special day together hasn't happened in years, so to say this was surreal would be an understatement. My husband filled me in a about week maybe 10 days earlier that this trip was happening, my kids didn't know. This was one of my busiest Decembers for work in history so I was over the moon excited and totally overwhelmed. Needless to say with many late nights, a sink full of dishes and couch filled with clean but unfolded laundry Christmas eve morning the surprise was put into motion. Our flight was at 7am so the taxi picked us up at 4:30am. We managed to get our kids dressed and into the car all still asleep. At one point my younger son did ask where are we going, to which I responded somewhere special. He was too groggy to press any further but simply smiled and rested his tired head back on my lap. We arrived at the airport and although my skin was crawling with exhaustion, I could barely contain my excitement. The kids woke up at this point shocked to find themselves near the Air Canada check in counter but were bursting with curiosity. We finally, told them we were going to spend Christmas with their cousins and they jumped up and down in pure joy and they couldn't stop reminding us "how awesome" this Christmas was going to be. We landed safely in Calgary and the plan was put into action, my sister and her kids had no idea we were coming. We made a few stops on the way and then arrived to their house as my sister was out with her kids. She had a few things to pick up so she needed my bother-in-law to come and grab the kids from wherever they were. Once we were settled in the house and my sister had called and texted multiple times (her frustration building) my brother-in-law went to pick up the kids for them to come home and find some unexpected Christmas guests. They were so delighted when they walked through the door and kept saying this was going to be the best Christmas ever. My sister was still out getting a few last bits as most of us will do Christmas eve, so we all had time to get set up to hide for when she walked through the door. As the seconds felt like minutes we waited hiding around the corner with kids who were wiggling like mad with excited joy filled energy. Finally, she arrived home and we jumped out with a very loud MERRY CHRISTMAS, scared the you know what out of her, and then watched her flood with pure bliss filled emotion. We shared long, love filled hello hugs and my sister had to keep stepping back to look at all of us to convince her brain that yes indeed we really were there. We must have watched the video of her reaction at least 10 more times that day and each time we would all tear up in the disbelief of what was actually happening. My sister and I are extremely close our childhood struggles, hurts and disappointments have created a bond between us that I can not begin to express how grateful I am to have. She has always filled my world with surprises and love, even when our worlds around us were sometimes crashing down upon us at an accelerated rate. It was so amazing to be part of an opportunity to give back to her, even just a little bit. This experience stirred a sensation inside that lingered for days and realistically is still hanging around. It was another element of happiness and I could contribute it to how surprising others, whom I love, made me feel. It feels AMAZING. So I have decided that part of choosing happy is indeed filling life with surprises. Surprises that you do for the people you love. What's interesting is these surprises don't have to be big. It can be as simple as putting a business card with I love you written in highlighter of the door crease of your loved one's car (true story my lovely hubby does this for me often). It can be putting a note in child's lunch box, showing up at there school with a new sippy cup, rearranging their stuffies in the shape of the letter of their first name. Surprises big or little they all matter and they create a connection and moment where you are only focussed on that person. These surprises also let that person know you were thinking of them. In the act of planning or actually surprising the person you love, you are filled with reminders of why you love them, how much it means to you when they are happy and how their happiness totally contributes to your happiness. I am always searching for more tools on how to connect with happiness because life will definitely present obstacles that can get in the way of seeing aspects of joy. To me including surprises as a regular part of my life is another way I can continue choosing happy.