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What to Get the Man Who Has Everything! (A Christmas Surprise)

The surcoat of a knight

Today’s post is about a Christmas Surprise. (originally published on December 21, 2015)

While not at all quilting related, you will find that the DIY value is without question – just in a different way.

So, before I get into the meat of this post, I do need to give a little background.

  1. My husband hates surprises – but I have always wanted to surprise him at Christmas
  2. We usually talk about our gifts to each other each year (not sure why, but probably to be sure we are getting something we like)
  3. Terry is my Knight in Shinny armor – literally – we do Renaissance Fairs and are a fixture at Scarborough Renaissance Festival outside of Waxahachie, TX.
The surcoat of a knight

So, with this little bit of information, I should also say that this all began with a crown and a Facebook post.

The Facebook post referred to the following website:  You can also do a YouTube search to see how this concept actually works.  Ultimately, the company (Mysterious Package) will send a story in 3 packages for a fee.  There are a few pre-configured stories to choose from.

The problem is that none of the stories really fit my husband’s personality or interests.  I did; however, have a gorgeous titanium crown on the way from the Ukraine. So, I did my own story!

The trick to pulling this off is that:

Every convincing lie must have a vein of truth – the more truth the better!

First thing I did was research our family name, and here is where things started to get a bit eerie.  I found a German Imperial Knight from the 16th century that has a version of our surname.  His story was just too perfect not to use. I enlisted the assistance of my children – who are always up for a challenging mission, and the fun began.

Below you will see the actual letters and “artifacts” that I sent to my husband.  The ultimate artifact was a box with his crown inside.  I presented these all to Terry as if I was a long-lost relative who worked with a University as a scholar of History.  This scholar’s only goal was to be sure that his (and the Knight’s) family line was intact and would continue on.

The First Letter with its attachment

Letter 1

Imperial Knights

This first letter set the stage for what was to follow. There were no artifacts with this letter except for the “proof” of my business card.  The fun part about this is that I HAD given a card to a lady at Texas Renaissance Festival while shopping for soap and I had told Terry about it that day.

Our son brought this letter into the house one day and said that a “carrier” had hand delivered it.

The Second Letter with its artifacts

Letter 2

The Knight and Death

This letter included more in-depth information about the Knight in question – Gottfried “Gotz” von Berlichingen (1480-23July 1562). He was also known as Gotz of the Iron Hand.  It was left on the front doorstep and included a small, wooden puzzle box which held two keys.

The Third and Final Letter with its artifacts

Letter 3

This was really the finale to the entire ruse.  Not only did Terry receive the remaining and very interesting information about his long-lost relative, the artifact included was a box which was protected by a large padlock. And you guessed it – the key from the puzzle box fit the lock!  This lock and key set I also got while at the Texas Renaissance Festival.  Our great friends at Eternal Arms had just the artifact I was looking for.

Inside the box were three items – a letter marked READ ME FIRST, a green bag (with the crown inside) and a hand-written letter from me.  Of course after reading the letter and finding the bag, the jig was up.

Fortunately for me, Terry loved his surprise and may even use his new found heritage to develop a knightly character one day – I hope he does!

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