A thousand times thank you to @holly70 for participating in the Secret Santa project, and for making it so special and memorable for me! Getting the packages from the mailman today was super exciting! @DawnCloud, thank you for arranging this unique and fun activity!
  1. Milton is curious
    He has to investigate anything new in the house. I am so excited, but I want to savor the two (two!) packages, unopened, for a little while.
  2. Well, that didn't last long! I held off my curiosity for only about fifteen minutes.
    Right away I see a lovely note and a second paper that explains my gifts. I set that aside for last, not wanting to spoil the surprises. My note explains how Holly (who shares a name with my sister) enjoyed reading my lists and discovered we had a lot in common! And we do! How cool is that?!
  3. Next, I saw the glint of silver, red, and blue, and immediately knew my no-longer-secret Santa had seen my list about my all-time favorite candy.
    My love of 3 Musketeers began at age five. My great-grandmother lived with us for a while, and the two of us would take long walks together. She was the most serene person I've ever known, and her respect and fascination of nature was infectious. She'd tell me about the plants, flowers, and trees we passed, and how to best care for them. At a certain point, she would pull two small 3 Musketeers from her pocket, and we would enjoy a sweet treat—just Gram Fleischer and me.
  4. More chocolate!
    These beauties are Grand Marnier-infused dark chocolate-covered pecans from the Sticky Fingers Candy Company in Valparaiso, Indiana. Here is why these are AMAZINGLY delicious and unique: 1) Pecans. Hands down the best nut there is. 2) Grand Marnier. Subtle orange flavored liqueur that pairs perfectly with ... 3) Some of the best-tasting chocolate I've ever had. My husband agrees these are seriously good. (I am not above hiding them.)
  5. Coffee from Louisiana! A place where Holly lived and enjoyed very much. (I've been to Louisiana just once: for a trade show in New Orleans. I'd like to go back.)
    I look forward to enjoying a cup tomorrow morning—it smells heavenly!
  6. I'll be enjoying that cup of Community Coffee from my new mugs—look how sunny and upbeat they are! And they are from the candy shop that made my chocolate-covered pecans!
    While enjoying my coffee and new mug, I'll be working away solving word puzzles in my big book of Variety Puzzles. Holly likes to work word puzzles, and I'm happy she shared this cool book with me, because I like doing word puzzles, too.
  7. This is the cover of a very cute notebook!
    Anyone who likes making lists must have a few little notebooks. Computers and smartphones are great for making lists, but they will never fully take the place of paper and pen. At least not in my house!
  8. Creole seasoning from Louisiana!
    Oh boy, I can't wait to try this. Holly says it's used on nearly everything in Louisiana. I love trying spice blends, so Creole Spice scrambled eggs for breakfast tomorrow.
  9. Milton has a new friend!
    Isn't this little wooden kitty the coolest? I. Love. It! (Milt is playing it a bit cool with the newcomer.)
  10. The kitty immediately finds its spot in my house.
    I bought the fish at an estate sale a while back ... these two were destined to reside on the same shelf!
  11. And then I opened my second package. And I shrieked a little.
    Yes, @holly70, I DO love advertising signs but I don't have any. This Hershey's sign is perfect in so many ways, and I've already found a spot for it in my kitchen. Not sure if you can tell how perfectly the sign colors fit in with my kitchen's pale green walls—which are covered with vintage fruit crate labels.
  12. Thank you again, @holly70, for being such a generous and thoughtful Secret Santa! You are very good at gift giving—and at being sweet. 😊
    I look forward to reading more of your lists in the future.
  13. One more thanks to @bjnovak and @dev for creating Li.st! (And everyone else who made it happen.)
    Did you realize how much your idea would enrich people's lives? Sharing joy and heartache, long-hidden secrets, music, books, poetry, movies, recipes, dreams ... and nightmares. And now even chocolate! So, good work, guys.