The fine art of receiving

Birthdays, Mother’s Day, Christmas, Valentine’s Day… A lot of emphasis is placed on the joy of giving. It’s not surprising, really – there’s almost nothing as heartwarming and love-affirming as giving someone you care about something you know will make them happy.

Birthdays in my family are a big deal. I’ve been known to start squirreling away little bits and pieces months in advance, from trinkets I find at the op shop, to things I’ve made, to small pieces of kitsch crap (‘booby prizes’ to keep it interesting!), to little treasures I discover in odd shops along the way .

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I made this hat out of fabric scraps and cushion stuffing, for my sister, for her 30th birthday.

I get a certain childish joy from pretending I’ve only bought the recipient an economy packet of tissues (beautifully wrapped, of course) then revealing that ACTUALLY I have ONE more thing, which upon being opened turns out to be ALL of the things I’ve collected, all individually wrapped, which spill across the lap of the give-ee who squeals with delight and faux-surprise.

BUT, knowing how to receive is every bit as important – sometimes more so – as giving. Receiving a present is the perfect opportunity for you as the give-ee to make the giver feel good about themselves for taking the time and effort to buy you something – no matter how you actually feel about whatever it is you’ve just unwrapped.

EXHIBIT A: Receiving a puppy.
Now this one is easy. You don’t even need instructions. Who WOULDN’T wail and weep with happiness after opening a box, to discover a warm, fluffy, waggy, licky, fuzzy ball of love inside?

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EXHIBIT B: Receiving a pair of socks.

Now, people like me love a nice pair of socks. Sometimes, the right pair of socks can make an outfit. Other people would rather die (yes, DIE) of boredom than even look at a pair of socks. Those people might unwrap a pair of socks and react like this:

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But what they should do, is react like this:

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EXHIBIT C: Receiving the ugliest, itchiest, most heinous woolly jumper your poor, bleeding eyes have ever been assaulted by.

You may react like this:

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But what you should do, is this:

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So you see, it’s simple. Making people feel good about themselves for giving you a gift is as easy.

All you have to do is pretend you’re unwrapping a puppy, every single time.

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For my sister on her birthday

When I was four years old, a funny little baby came to live with us. My parents said I could name her whatever I wanted, and because I desperately wanted a dog, I named her Fluffy. Her birth certificate says ‘Sonia’, but we all still call her Fluffy, even at 30.

2015/02/img_5644.jpgFluffy was a screecher. It’s a wonder Tutti didn’t chuck her out a window. She screamed like a banshee morning, noon and night. I can still remember sitting on the green, foam, modular lounge, wrestling with baby fluffy as she pterodactyl-shrieked like a maniac, arching her back as if possessed. Even then, I loved my little sister. ‘There, there, Fluffy,” I soothed as I peered into her pink, furious face. “There, there.”

2015/02/img_5643.jpgFluffy has always been quite uncoordinated. She was never going to excel at any sport that required the catching of a ball (though come to think of it, neither was I). But she has been blessed with the most astounding creative spirit. I think the word for it is accomplished. She can sew like a master. She makes incredible clothes and hats and beautiful children’s toys; she is a brilliant and quirky illustrator and a wonderful writer to boot. If you have never seen the impressive body of work that is her Nun and Crocodile blog, then you ought to. Now. Run, don’t walk!

2015/02/img_5645.jpgWhen Fluffy could first talk, she called me Little Mummy, and I always took great pride in my role as older sister, to look after her, and out for her and give her advice and a bit of tough love. Sometimes you need someone to tell you to shut up. I am very good at that. And I credit myself with gifting Fluffy with her very own spirit animal. The Honey Badger. Honey badgers are fierce. They are the most fearless creatures in the world. They are crazy. They do not give a shit.

Screen Shot 2015-02-09 at 1.08.42 pmI have always thought Fluffy was better looking than me. She is definitely more photogenic and has an enviably thin waist. I’m not even sure I have a waist.  But I have never, ever been jealous. I am quite proud of that fact.

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Here is Fluffy, today, on her birthday, wearing a necklace I made for her.

Anyway, all that’s left to say is Happy Birthday little Fluffy. I have no doubt this next decade is going to be spectacular. Being in your 30s is the BEST. Until you turn 40. I hear 50’s good. Sixty’s the new 40 apparently. According to some of the ladies over at Advanced Style, being 80 is AMAZING!

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Love,

Ceci xx

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A restaurant you should not ever go to, and especially not on your birthday

Last Tuesday, my mum, the marvellous Tutster, turned 64. I love birthdays, always have. There’s something exciting about turning another year older, having accrued another year of wisdom, and thinking, ‘FINALLY! This is the year I’m going to achieve all the things I keep putting off. THIS is the YEAR! (And even if it isn’t the year, at least you can renew your optimism again, the next time your birthday comes around).

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This is what 64 looks like. If 64 was a grainy photograph of Tutti holding a box of presents.

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