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The pressure is on as the big day gets closer! Thirty-six hours before showtime, FedEx trucks filled with the secret cargo snuck into town under the cover of darkness. Bins filled with thousands of gifts were unpacked and stashed in the auditorium basement while two Harpo staffers stood guard. "The lies we have told," Oprah says. "May we be forgiven for the lies we have told because of the intention of our hearts."

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No one from the outside was allowed in—including cleaning crews. "We decided not to let any local Macon people in the auditorium so that we wouldn't blow the surprise, so we are literally cleaning the bathrooms ourselves," says senior associate producer Brian.

Twenty hours before the show, Oprah sees the elaborate stage for the first time. "One of my favorite things about our Favorite Things show is when we pull the presto change-o switcheroo from an historic Southern mansion to Christmas magic," Oprah says.

On Saturday morning, way before the crack of dawn, production designer Tara Denise and her crew rehearse to make sure their complex stage trick is actually going to work. "What makes it even more complex—if it's even possible—is that it's two sets. We've got to do one set to fake everybody out," Tara says. "This is so fun because the whole idea is to keep it a secret. Half the fun's over if it's not a surprise."
FROM: Behind the Scenes of Oprah's Favorite Things 2007!
Published on November 27, 2007