Two students at North Todd Elementary received a big Christmas present a little early .
And it was an experience they'll never forget.
Mariah and Destiny Wilder weren't sure what they were about to open in front of the entire school early Dec. 13.
Their dad, Sergeant Matthew Wilder, was recently deployed to Iraq.
He sent a letter to the school saying how sorry he was that he had to miss their birthdays.
But to make up for it, the letter said he had sent them a present to open.
Mariah's mom says all Mariah wanted for Christmas was her daddy in a box.
So when Desiray Wilder found out her husband was coming home on Dec. 12, she decided to make Mariah's dream come true.
The school helped arrange the surprise.
Sergeant Wilder will be home for the holidays before heading to aviation school.