Surprise! The TODAY family wishes Hoda a happy early birthday

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Hoda Kotb’s birthday isn’t until Sunday, but the TODAY family didn’t want to wait!

She got some early birthday wishes on Friday from co-host Jenna Bush Hager and a hearty Zoom toast from the rest of the crew at TODAY with Hoda & Jenna who are working from home during the pandemic.

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They also shared 56 reasons why they love Hoda, from “you have a heart of gold” to “you inspire those around us.”

Hoda is looking forward to celebrating turning 56 on Sunday with fiancé Joel Schiffman and their daughters, Haley Joy, 3, and Hope Catherine, 1, as well as a special guest.

“I’m always excited to have time to hang with the family on my birthday, but this birthday is extra awesome,” Hoda said. “I haven’t seen my mom in, boy, I can’t even remember when, probably January or February, I think. We see each other usually every month or two, and she is coming, so I’m so excited!”

Hoda added that she and her mother, Sami, made sure to take precautions during the pandemic.

“We all got tested, so I feel safe,” she said. “I can’t wait.”

One of Hoda’s good friends and a regular TODAY contributor also sent her a special birthday message.

“I love how you make everybody so happy, I love how you call and check in on me, I love what a great friend you are,” Maria Shriver said in a video message.

Haley also did an adorable warmup for Sunday by singing “Happy Birthday” to her “Mama” in a video message.

It’s been a whirlwind year since Hoda’s last birthday in addition to there being a global pandemic. She and Schiffman got engaged in November after being together for several years but have had to postpone their wedding during the pandemic.

They also celebrated Hope’s first birthday in April after adopting her a year earlier to their growing family.

“There’s been so much that’s been unpredictable,” Hoda said. “I just believe if you’re wondering about your time in life, some people, they get their blessings in their 20s, and some people get theirs in their 30s and 40s and some people wait until their 50s, maybe even their 60s or even beyond, but when they come, they come.

“There’s something about getting them later because you can’t believe it. I’m happy for every birthday.”

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