Maybe it was just the time of year, all the shimmering holiday decorations around Chris Paul a reminder Christmas is right around the corner and soon 30 or so family members will make the trek from North Carolina to Los Angeles to join him for a few days.

The marathon NBA seasons take Paul away from his loved ones longer than he cares to admit, so any chance he gets to gather with them is a time to cherish.

"If I can't go home for Christmas I'll bring them here with us," he said.

Or maybe it was the thought all those kids he was about to surprise with Christmas gifts at La Salle Elementary School in Los Angeles on Thursday afternoon.

Sure, the high-achieving kids from L.A.'s best after-school program knew about the pizza party administrators were throwing for them Thursday, but little did they know Paul was going to jump out from behind a curtain at the school auditorium armed with a bunch of presents for them.

And little did they know Paul would get more satisfaction from giving them their gifts than they would get from receiving them.

The All-Star point guard has thrown alley-oop passes to Clippers teammate Blake Griffin, delivered perfect bounce passes to LeBron James on Team USA in the Olympics and hit enough clutch shots to lift every single team he has represented to important victories, but the most meaningful work he has done is off the court in the cities he has played in.