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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