A Holiday Surprise

    Grace Miller wasn't expecting any miracles last December. She certainly wasn't waiting for elves to come and decorate her house for the holidays. Sure, she would have liked to have the place looking seasonal and cheerful for the arrival of her visiting family members, but she just didn't have the time. Imagine her surprise coming home one day to find that her abode suddenly resembled a gingerbread house.
    "I was in shock," recalls Grace of the moment she arrived in her driveway, which was suddenly so unfamiliar to her. "My whole house was lit up like a Christmas tree star."
    As it turned out, the "elves" who had transformed Grace's home were none other than several of her co-workers at Pink magazine: Kandace Tate, Julie Jones and Lynn DeLaRosa.
    "We went over and decorated every square inch of the front of the house while she was at work," said Lynn. "We finished just in time for the Pink Partini that evening; and afterwards, when Grace drove home, she actually went past her house because she didn't recognize it."
    It took the three of them an entire workday to complete their mission of cheer, undertaken as a way to help a cherished friend and co-worker.
    "Grace had mentioned that her daughters were coming down for the holidays but she just didn't have it in her to decorate the exterior of her house," said Julie. "That won't do!" replied the girls. Soon they were hatching a plot-one that required major supplies.
    "We bought up half of Wal-Mart in lights, ribbons, wreaths and living garlands," said Julie. "We laughed and had a great time and, after the Partini, Grace called and asked us to come over and see it all lit up. It was wonderful to hear her response because she was so touched by it."
    Grace's neighbors, friends and family all complimented her on how beautiful the house looked. It had wreaths in every window, garlands on the banisters, candy canes, bows and Christmas plants-in short, just about everything you can think of when it comes to festive dÈcor.
    "It was a really wonderful thing, and I know they worked hard on it," said Grace. "I definitely felt special; they really made me feel that they cared."
Lynn said she knew Grace would appreciate how hard they'd worked on it; they pulled out all the stops.
    "It must have been pretty funny to watch," recalls Lynn. "Here are these three girls up on the roof, running wires down all over the place. A couple of the neighbors even asked us if we were a house decorating business."
    All three women agreed that Grace was worth it. She's a kind, thoughtful and caring person who would never ask for anything, yet wouldn't hesitate to go out of her way for someone else. Beyond that, they also believe that the holidays are a time to do these kinds of things for people.
    "Just to do something-a gesture that makes somebody's day-it makes you feel good," said Lynn. To which Julie added, "For somebody who doesn't have family around, the holidays can be a very lonely time. Even a small gesture can help make people's lives a little brighter."
    So did they accomplish their goal of brightening Grace's day? Absolutely, and it wasn't just the hundreds of Christmas light bulbs.
    "This is the most heartwarming thing that anyone's ever given me," said Grace. "I think Christmas is not about gifts. It's about caring and giving and special notes-anything that's personalized. This was something I won't forget; those girls are very special to me."

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