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Soldiers' surprise Christmas homecomings: Top 5 videos

When U.S. troops unexpectedly arrive for the holidays, their loved ones often react in memorable ways

When American soldiers make it home in time to spend the holiday season with their families, the reunions can be full of surprise, jubilation, and tears. Here, the 5 most-viewed YouTube videos that have captured these heartwarming moments in recent years:

1. Mommy's married to Santa Claus
"This is the best Christmas ever," exclaims a flabbergasted wife after discovering that the visitor wearing the Santa Claus costume is her husband, back home from a stint in Afghanistan six weeks earlier than expected. Don't miss the moment (2:12) when the soldier's 2-year-old daughter absorbs the confusing revelation that Santa is... Dad. (Views: 698,000)

2. The gift wrapped in the trunk
When a mischievous soldier pops out of the trunk of a car to surprise his family, his children clamber all over him ("I wished for that. Oh my God," cries one) while his wife, endearingly adorned in an antler headband, struggles to deal with her shock and confusion. (Views: 120,000)

3. An airport reunion
A young girl waits at the airport with her mother, told only that they're picking up a soldier in need of a ride. The soldier in question turns out to be her dad, on leave from Iraq — leaving the daughter stunned, shyly clutching at his uniform as they embrace. (Views: 82,000)

4. Screams of joy
A mother who hadn't expected to see her son for another year is understandably startled when he enters the room. She leaps from her chair and rushes to embrace him, seemingly unwilling to release him in case it's an illusion. (Views: 43,000)

5. A mother's intuition
After receiving a rather subdued welcome from the rest of the family, a soldier manages to unhinge his mom. "Stop crying, you're supposed to be happy," he jokes as she holds him tightly. She later declares she'd had an inkling he was on his way: "I said, 'I've got this feeling [he's] coming.'" (Views: 33,000)

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