Our webmaster takes us through the story of Tuomas's gifts and his reactions when receiving them.
After Tuomas's reaction to the gift the website sent him last year for Christmas, it was apparent we had to do something special for 2011. In 2010 we only had 4 weeks to decide what to get him, organise and mail it. So this time we started early, and boy are we glad we did....
In February we asked the community if they wanted to take part in a Christmas gift for Tuomas again, the responce was huge and we realised the amount of people who wanted to take part far surpassed expectations. We set around estimating our budget and then stumbled accross something which caught our eye. A 1st edition (30 year old) Uncle Scrooge book, now we all know Tuomas is a Carl Barks fanatic and a huge fan of Scrooge McDuck so this made perfect sense. I checked with the rest of the team and then the community if they liked the idea which quickly got the seal of approval, next thing I had to check Tuomas didn't already have it which was quite tricky without alerting him to what I was up to. All I will say is Mother's know everything =)
Christmas sorted it was now his birthday. We wanted to do something unique but could not think of anything, we had suggestions for poetry/art etc but we already put together a special message book for him which contained both of those things. Then one morning it came to me we should write him a song. The community loved the idea, I already had in mind who would compose it... sorted. I was naive in thinking how easy it would be to co-ordinate a project like this, that having so many different elements and organising it through text via the internet wouldn't be an issue, but boy it was tough. Good thing was I got Anthony on board who was my partner in crime throughout the whole process. It may have took us 10 months but we finished it, and with only 5 days spare before I was due to meet with Tuomas.
Saturday 2nd December:15:00 Helsinki
I arrived early at the hotel and proceeded to wait for Tuomas to come meet with me, all time I was thinking about what he would think of the gifts.. would he like the song, had Kirsti got it wrong and he already had the book?
When sitting with Tuomas is was time to give him one of the gifts, it was decided the book would be first. Once he opened it he stared at it at first then it seemed to make sense what it was. He said he had seen it before but for some reason decided not to buy it. He was shocked to find out it was the limited first edition and it had the handsigned lithograph with it complete. It was an amazing feeling being able to watch him smile as he glanced through the pictures obviously so excited to have such an extrodinary gift. It came at a good time as 2013 will see Tuomas work on a solo project inspired by the Life and Times of Scrooge book, something this book is linked to. So lets hope this book helps him with the inspiration process when he comes to sit down to work on it.
After dinner came time to give him the CD, the gift I was most nervous about giving him. I didn't say anything as I handed it over and just watch him open and say 'it's a CD'. He looked puzzled when he realised he recognised the owl on the artwork. He asked what it was and I jusy told him to read the booklet. Which read:
This dedication is from all the members of your websire. This is our way of saying thanks to you for the years of music
and creations you have gave us.
Through this journey we call life, remember this: You never walk it truly alone.
Happy 35th Birthday"
Then it made sense to him. He was pretty lost for words, just kept saying wow and amazing over again. I offered him my iPhone so he could listen to it, though it was disapointing the first listen would not be on the quality of play back equipment it should of been it was nice to have him listen while I was there to see his reaction.
I watched him listen to it and read the lyrics as he did. I don't think he lost the smile from his face once, even once he had finished listening. He couldn't believe it and started asking questions about who did what and how we did it. His praise for the quality of the production and composition were amazing to hear. He said the lyrics were perfect and so emotional and scary close to him, which was such high praise as they were the first lyrics I had ever attempted to write.
I did not take as many pictures as originally planned, unfortunaly the lighting in the hotel was not fantastic. It also did not feel right to record the event on an emotional level. I'm sure everyone understands having a camera on you makes it more stressful to show enjoyment etc... not that it would of been a problem in the end.
In all he was shocked, pleased and overwhelmed at what his community did for him this year. From myself, Tuomas and the rest of the team, we thank you for being here and being so supportive and surpassing our expectations at everything we do here.
Dearest fellow Imagineers of the community,
A week ago I received such overwhelming gifts that they left me utterly speechless and awestruck. The magical Uncle Scrooge - book with Uncle Carl`s signature is something I drooled over years ago, and now I understand why I didn`t buy it then. I love every page of it, and it will be of huge help and inspiration with my "The Life And Times Of Scrooge McDuck" - project. Thank you so very much.
And the song... First I got a ticket to Disneyland as a Christmas present from my mother in 1990 and now this! "Unity" is such a splendid piece of music, heart and soul which echoes the purest love, companionship and goodness. It made me feel, oddly enough, serene. It made me blush. It made my griffin dance through the skies. Listening to it makes me want to do more and more and more music for this world and its inhabitants.
Bottom line is; the song and the thought behind it touched me deep, still does, and I can but thank everyone involved and around it. It is a song and performance of purest Splendour and Truth.
A most peaceful Yuletide to all you wonderful people, and a most adventurous year 2012!!
Magical times & goodwill,