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Samantha's Surprise is the third book in the Samantha series.


Only in Samantha's Surprise[]

Chapter by Chapter Summary[]

Chapter One: Christmas Wishes[]

Chapter Two: Presents and a Party Dress[]

Chapter Three: Decorations and Disappointments[]

Chapter Four: Someone Very Special[]

Chapter Five: Exchanging Gifts[]

Looking Back: Christmas in 1904[]

Discusses the Christmas season in turn of the century America. Topics covered:

  • How wealthy people made Christmas the most lavish holiday of the year
  • Fascination and imitation of English holiday traditions and lifestyles among the upper class
  • The introduction of Christmas trees during the holiday season by Queen Victoria and common ornaments of the time, such as watches, tops, and glass ornaments
  • Gifts wealthy children might expect on Christmas, such as imported toys from Europe and teddy bears, a popular toy of the time
  • Lavish holidays meals for wealthy families, and common after-dinner entertainment such as singing, games, and puppet shows for children
  • Increased workload for servants of wealthy households during the holiday season
  • Boxing Day, a holiday in which servants would receive their gifts or get a day off from work
  • Charity donations from the wealthy to orphanages and hospitals


Cornelia and Gard's proposed wedding date has been changed several times. In the 1986 edition, the wedding is said to be in March; in the 1998 edition, the wedding is said to be in June; and in the 2001 edition of Samantha's Story Collection and the 2004 Samantha's Surprise with a new cover, the wedding is said to be in the spring with no specific date given. The 1995 Teacher's Guide also explicitly states a March 1905 wedding. The 1998 edition is the only one (other than Samantha: The Gift, which moves the wedding to November and replaces this book completely) to drastically contradict the series' timeline of them being married by spring. All editions of Happy Birthday, Samantha! state Gard and Cornelia are married by the time of Samantha's birthday in May. The short story Samantha Saves the Wedding (first published in 1993) and Samantha's Blue Bicycle (first published in 1995) also confirm a spring wedding, as they hold the wedding in the former and have returned from their honeymoon in the latter.

Book Covers[]

Items associated with Samantha's Surprise[]



  1. In Chapter 2, Samantha mentions to Jessie there are two weeks until Ida's party on the 22nd, and then to Grandmary that it's a week from the coming Thursday. She also has plans that Saturday and it's not the weekend yet, so the most likely day is around Friday, December 9th as the start of the book.