Since I become a reporter at the Killeen Daily Herald over two years ago, Christmases have looked a little different than I am used to.

Reporters in the newsroom rotate holidays, and for two of my three Christmases here — including this year — I have volunteered to work Christmas Day.

My wife and I celebrated Christmas and opened gifts from each other and our family while our son spends time with his dad elsewhere in Texas.

While I get far more enjoyment from watching someone open a gift that I know is going to knock their socks off, I must admit, this year I got a couple of cool gifts that I did not expect.

For those who have read my columns the past few weeks, you may remember two that I have written that will show how this Christmas came full circle.

In September I wrote about my grandfather, for whom we had a memorial in Iowa, and earlier in December I wrote about my favorite musical artist — “Weird Al” Yankovic.

I’ll begin with the latter.

When I wrote that column in December, it was kind of on a whim — just a column and topic that came to mind at an apparently random time. The evening that edition of the paper printed, I was on Facebook and saw on Yankovic’s page that he would be announcing a new tour for 2022: “The Unfortunate Return of the Ridiculously Self-Indulgent, Ill-Advised Vanity Tour.”

When I wrote that column, I swear I had no idea that he was announcing a new tour — although the timing of my column appeared to be quite fortuitous.

After opening my gifts from my wife — which included a “Weird Al” CD that I had never previously owned (and, yes, I’ve listened to it all the way through multiple times already) — she produced a card that she had strategically saved to be the final gift.

Inside the card was a printout of a ticket confirmation where she had purchased tickets for us — yes, US — to go to see “Weird Al” in concert when he comes to play at Austin’s Moody Theater on Oct. 2. My wife coming with me is kind of a big deal.

Now, that takes me to where my grandfather comes into the mix. Though the tickets to a “Weird Al” concert would constitute what I would consider the most surprising gift this year, one thing that my mom sent us would constitute what I would consider the best or favorite gift: an ornament with my grandfather’s picture on it.

As I had written in my column after we went to Iowa for his memorial in September, my grandfather had passed away in January after a very brief stint with Stage 4 cancer on multiple organs.

Earlier in the day last Saturday, as I was on Facebook looking at pictures from my family’s Christmas gathering in Iowa, I saw pictures that my mom had posted that she had gotten my grandma a blanket with several pictures of my grandfather on it. When I saw the post, I thought it was really cool and very touching. My grandparents had been married for over 60 years.

I didn’t have much thought of it afterward, however, until we opened our gift from my mom.

The ornament has a picture of my grandfather from our wedding, and it is inscribed with the following: “Forever with the angels. Always in our hearts. Larry Gibson. 1939-2021.”

Seeing that gift kind of put a pause on things that night for a moment. I immediately put the ornament in the middle of the tree so it can easily be seen.

I still did thoroughly enjoy watching my wife unwrap her gifts. That said, my wife and my mom really made my Christmas with the surprising and thoughtful gifts.

It is interesting to see how Christmas came full circle this year based on some columns I have previously written.

I hope all readers had a wonderful holiday season and have a prosperous new year.

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