Oprah Holiday Gift Guide 2012: Oprah Favorite Things Military Spouses


Oprah’s Holiday Gift Guide 2012: Marine Barracks Headquarters

Oprah Winfrey spent a lot of time shopping for her Favorite Things 2012, with friends like Tory Burch and Curtis Stone. After approving everything from the Dyson Pedestal Fan to Tom Ford Lipstick, Oprah was ready to surprise her deserving audience with this year’s gift choices. Everyone in her audience was a Military Spouse of the Year nominee.

Oprah Favorite Things Military Spouses

Lindsay and other members of Oprah’s TV production team were hustling to get everything ready, one day before showtime. The pressure was on for show day as the military spouses started arriving in Washington, D.C. Among the 30 guests were:

  • Kristy Spurgeon, Army Spouse of the Year 2011 nominee
  • Brooke Gonzales, Coast Guard Spouse of the Year 2012 nominee
  • Catherine Woyee-Jones, Army Spouse of the Year 2012 nominee
  • Lori Bell, Military Spouse of the Year 2010 winner
  • Jeremy Hilton, Military Spouse of the Year 2012 winner
  • Kerry-Ann Ellington, Marine Corps Spouse of the Year 2012 nominee
  • Karen Guenther, Marine Corps Spouse of the Year 2011 nominee

As they met at the airport, the spouses discussed what might really be going on. Could it be an Oprah’s Lifeclass special about military life? Their guesses were on the right track, and these people seemed to be really in sync with one another, because of the experiences they have in common.

Oprah’s Favorite Things 2012: Military Spouse Magazine

Oprah: Military Spouse of The Year Nominees & Married To The Army

Oprah’s Holiday Gift Guide 2012 featured an audience full of husbands and wives who give back and were nominated for the Military Spouse of the Year award.

Oprah met Babette Maxwell, the founder of Military Spouse Magazine and its annual Military Spouse of the Year awards. She got to be a part of the surprise for nominees from 2010 through 2012.


Babette explained that she started the magazine out of her car to provide a voice and resource for military spouses in a post-9/11 world. The spouses were “totally in the dark and there is not a more deserving group,” Babette said.

Oprah’s Holiday Gift Guide: Favorite Things 2012 Reveal

O Magazine’s Adam Glassman was also on hand as the spouses arrived, and like everyone else, he couldn’t wait to see the shocked and surprised faces of the honorees.

The guests believed they were in town for a special screening of the OWN series Married to the Army: Alaska. They were told they’d meet one of the show’s creators, which turned out to be Oprah herself.

Oprah: Military Wives & Jeremy

When Oprah walked out in her green dress, the spouses went wild and got on their feet. So far, no one was crying. Oprah thanked the spouses, saying their service and sacrifice were just as valuable and important as what their partners were doing for the country. Jeremy was the lone husband in the group, a stay-at-home dad since his wife’s deployment. He confirmed that military spouses form their own support network.

Oprah called on Lori Ann, who admitted that it sometimes feels like being a single parent when your spouse is deployed for long stretches of time. Karen worked as a nurse and saw firsthand what families of injured service members experienced. She has pursued supporting them as a calling for the last eight years, helping to raise $66 million.

Oprah: Military Spouses Give Back

Karen was surprised with a message from Marine Corps Corporal Josh Bleill, one of the soldiers who has benefitted from the work of Karen and her partners in action. Though he lost both his legs and had many other injuries, the work of Karen’s organization helped him get his life back.

Oprah said that when she started out as a reporter, she tried to think about the numbers of soldiers in the war as individuals who had families and loved ones. Spouse Kristy said that she and her family have focused on positivity as much as possible.

Married to the Army: Alaska was created to help viewers connect with the experiences of families like these, and it actually sounds like a great idea, even though Oprah’s plugs for the show were just the misdirection for this year’s Favorite Things 2012 special.

Oprah: Favorite Things Blunder?

As she left the stage and let the spouses screen the new OWN series, a disgruntled Oprah confronted a producer. Oprah was concerned that presents hidden backstage were visible and that the surprise would be ruined.


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