12/24/2011 11:52 am ET Updated Dec 24, 2011

John La Giglia, Chicago Soldier, Returns Home, Surprises Daughter For Holidays (VIDEO)

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A local soldier delivered a long-awaited holiday surprise to his six-year-old daughter Friday: Himself.

Army Staff Sgt. John La Giglia, 29, of Chicago's Beverly neighborhood, surprised his daughter Grace with a visit to her classroom at Sutherland Elementary School Friday morning. La Giglia, a 10-year veteran, has served the past year in Afghanistan, NBC Chicago reports.

"I've been all around the world, and there's nothing like the South Side of Chicago," La Giglia said of arriving home, according to NBC.

In addition to his service in Afghanistan, La Giglia also served one year in Iraq.

Surrounded by family members, including his wife Mariellyn, son Michael, 4, and daughter Brooke, 2, he said he was "overwhelmed," the Chicago Tribune reports.

He had not been due back home until sometime in the new year, but the soldier described being able to sleep in his own bed at home as a true Christmas miracle.

"I've been shaking all day. It's the best Christmas present ever," Mariellyn told CBS.

Some 100 local soldiers also arrived home from Afghanistan this week, just in time for the holidays, NBC reported.