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Sep 25 2016
by Taylor Lang

This Family Celebrated All Of The Holidays Their Dad Will Miss Because Of His Deployment to Afghanistan

By Taylor Lang - Sep 25 2016

This family threw their dad a surprise weekend full of all of the holidays that he would be missing while being deployed to Afghanistan.

Olivia Clendennin, a 10th grader at Baker High School in Florida, helped her family put together a weekend crammed with candy, turkey, and christmas cookies. Who was the mastermind behind it all? She told Fresh U over Twitter direct message:

My mom was the one who came up with the whole idea; she's the best when it comes to planning surprises. We did it mainly because not only was he going to miss out on the holidays, we would also be missing him, too.

On the Saturday morning, Olivia's mom took her dad to get a massage so that the kids could decorate the house for Halloween. Olivia and her brothers cooked food and decorated for their family tradition.

"Every Friday before Halloween, we have a tradition where we watch a scary movie and eat a bunch of greasy food," she told Fresh U. "We call it 'Fridays freaky film and fattening food fest.' But this year, since I'm on my high school cheer team and I had a football game to cheer at, we couldn't do it on the Friday before 'Halloween'. So, we did 'Saturdays scary cinema and sickening snack soirée.'"

After watching the Conjuring 2, Olivia and her family moved on to celebrating her dad's birthday, which is in December. For his birthday, they got him a MacBook so that they could Facetime and stay in touch. 

Olivia C

Sunday morning was filled with the smell of their traditional Christmas morning meal and they decorated while her dad was out washing the car. Christmas presents in September? Yup! Olivia and her family got her dad a DVD player for the MacBook so that he would have some entertainment, as well as a heated blanket to keep him warm. They also gave him chocolate liqueur. That's a pretty good Christmas if you ask me.

Olivia Clendennin

After skipping to December, Olivia told Fresh U about their Sunday night celebration:

That night we went 'back in time' and celebrated Thanksgiving and watched the Lions game. We went all in like it was actually Thanksgiving! 

Olivia posted some of the pictures to her Twitter page, and within days she had received thousands of likes and retweets. People sent her and her dad tweets and messages filled with love and support. People are even trying to get the Ellen Show to invite them on!

When asked how she felt about going viral, she told Fresh U:

My dad does know about it getting popular, but he doesn't know about over 11 million people seeing my tweet. Prior to this whole 'going viral' thing, the most action I've gotten on a single tweet was like twenty likes 😂 . 

Her friends have been joking about her being famous. 

The news has even showcased her tweet!

Olivia and her dad are touched by everyone's kind words as he gets ready for deployment:

"The fact that so many people from around the world are responding to it and sending my dad their best wishes and their prayers really makes my heart warm and restores some of my faith in humanity," she told Fresh U.

Congrats to Olivia, her dad, and their family for being able to celebrate the holidays together. Fresh U would also like to thank her dad for his service.

Lead Image Credit: @OliviaNoraC via Twitter

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Taylor Lang - Syracuse University

Taylor is a Broadcast and Digital Journalism Major at Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. She started writing and editing as a freshman for Fresh U. From there, she began to help create and expand the News and Multimedia Departments. When not doing something relating to journalism, she LOVES Disney and reading while sipping hot tea. She hopes to inspire others to follow their passions and do what makes them happy.

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