With Christmas nearly here, some lucky folks are starting to pack their bags to head home or travel to join friends or family for celebrations and quality time. 

Today's advent calendar surprise pays tribute to all those making the Christmas journey, as well as everyone who'd like to be but cannot for whatever reason. 

A few Christmases ago, a lad named Bryan Greig who was at university in the US decided to surprise his family with a trip home to Ireland for not only Christmas but also his little sister's birthday. 

He chronicles his whole journey, from well wishes from his American classmates to the inventive ways he passed the time during airport layovers. 

The very best bit is when the family gather's round to celebrate his sister's birthday and Bryan catches her massively by surprise. 

Because comment sections always bring out the best in people, some people slagged him for making such a big of a deal after being away from home for only four months. 

But Bryan offered a pretty great defense: 

"An open response to all of the naysayers out there: The time frame of this video really seems to annoy a lot of you. There is literally no emphasis on the fact I was away for only four months. The point of this video is the importance of family, especially around festive times. Clearly you cannot grasp this...

"Constructive criticism I can accept. Mindless negativity, especially with regards to the happiness of my own family, I cannot.  Merry Christmas to you all!"

Well said, Bryan! 

Have you ever surprised someone for the holidays? Tell your story in the comment section and let's try to keep it kind and constructive! 

December 17 advent calendar iStockphoto