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Giving Anonymously is Hard

I love giving gifts.

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No boasting intended here, just one of the things I love doing. Trust me, it can be so frustrating – like the sound of perfectionism, a creative mind, limited budget, too much ambition, short time frames and no crafting space all rolled into one? Like I said: frustrating.

But I still love it!

I love giving gifts, but can get really embarrassed by people’s responses, especially if they’re loud about their appreciation in front of lots of people. Ugh. Someone give me a chair to crawl under.

So giving anonymous gifts should be the perfect solution, right?

Wrong.

I gave an anonymous gift today and it is driving me crazy!

I managed (I hope!) to sneak it into a place where nobody saw me leave it, but it was sure to be noticed and picked up, but I can’t stop worrying that nobody noticed it and it’s still hanging out there in the dark, or that the wrong person saw it and it never got to the intended recipients, or what if it fell of and spilt open all over the place? I can’t check, because it’s anonymous!

I’m pretty sure, from my knowledge of the parties, that the gift will be enjoyed and the sentiment behind it appreciated. But I have to admit that I have been checking Facebook and Twitter all day to see if one of the people has mentioned getting it and/or enjoying it. Not witnessing the response myself is so frustrating. I have no way of finding out if it was enjoyed, because it’s anonymous!

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I spent time making this gift, carefully packaged this gift, planned a stealthy delivery of this gift, am confident in the enjoyment this gift will bring and didn’t get embarrassed by overly public thanks for this gift. Should be a winner for me.

Only I am left disappointed, frustrated, wondering …

I realise more fully now that for me, the reception of the gift is almost as important as the giving. Not – I hope – because of the praise, but because of the feelings I can see in the person who I gave the gift to.

For me, gift giving is all about how I make the recipient feel.

I love seeing the wondering smile on someone’s face, because you remembered what their favourites are. I love seeing the excitement because they immediately fall in love with it. I love seeing the softening look when it was just what they needed right then. I love seeing the sparkle in a kid’s eyes as they meet the new friend I sewed for them. I love the look of surprise when someone wasn’t expecting any gift. I love knowing that the person is going to walk away feeling more loved, more understood, more appreciated and maybe most importantly – remembered. I love knowing that I’ve given them two very important gifts beyond the physical package itself – thought and time.

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Today, I didn’t get to see any of that. Whilst I can guess, I don’t know. I haven’t witnessed any of the feelings that complete gift-giving for me.

Is my love of giving ultimately a selfish and self-serving process? I don’t think so, because my ultimate aim is to bring joy, love and hope to the recipients.

Do I find the process incomplete without witnessing the feelings my gift creates? Absolutely!

Which is an important reminder about what gift giving is really supposed to be all about for me – the person who receives it. It has surprised me how much I miss witnessing, or at least being told about, my gift’s reaction. It’s a bit of a jolt to find out how much pleasure I get from the appreciation of the recipient, how important that is to me – not really because of the praise, but the assurance that it brought about the feelings I intended to create.

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I need to practice this anonymous thing. I need to remind myself that the recipient is the important person in this process. I need to re-focus on why I give gifts in the first place.

Giving anonymously is hard.

Happy Christmas!!!

Happy Christmas everyone!

I hope you have some truly happy times over Christmas and much joy and peace in the year 2014 to come!

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There are many lovely Christmas things I would like to tell you about …

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We decorated our tree with two of L’s work colleges, along with our own mulled wine and festive snacks …

I’ve been finding (with a little help from the husband!), sewing, sticking, painting and wrapping Christmas gifts for friends and family …

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I held a Gingerbread Party for my friends and my sisters …

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… we had so much fun decorating gingerbread men that my friend A and myself had made!

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My personal favourite was Eve – complete with a little red apple in her hand! Go C!! 😉

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I cooked up a two course Christmas meal just for my hubby and I, with inspiration from the latest Masterchef The Professionals Series … although thank goodness I’m not being judged on the final result!! 😛

(Pickled Beetroot with Grilled Goats Cheese and Walnuts, followed by Shin of Beef braised in Red Wine, with Bacon-wrapped Potato Cakes, Roasted Shallots and tenderstem broccoli.)

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I baked, fed with brandy, iced and decorated three Christmas cakes for friends and family …

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And we got to attended the lovely Christmas wedding of two wonderful, God-loving friends and celebrate with their blood and church families!

My faithful little camera broke and although L thankfully has one he never uses, it is taking quite a bit of getting used to – hence the lack of photos! 😛 Our internet connection is also playing around, so I can’t always upload/download things when I want to …

If this was not the case, you would have had more photos and blog posts from me … I miss talking to you!

My first resolution for next year: learn how to use L’s camera so it takes photos I like!!

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Have times of much love with your families, peace in the midst of trouble, happiness in the small things, joy in the greatest gift of all time and the hope of things to come!!

Our love,

Mr and Mrs Moose

Mince Pies

Many times in the last few months, not to mention over the last number of years, I have expressed my opinion on mince pies being in the supermarket far too early … I have said that you shouldn’t eat your first mince pie of the season until it’s December.

Yesterday I ate my first mince pie for this Christmas.

I know! I know! How inconsistent can I be, right?

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But these weren’t any ordinary mince pies! No shop-bought or Mr Kipling varieties here!

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These were homemade mince pies, which I made with my three sisters. The pastry was made by my youngest sister T, who makes melt-in-the-mouth short crust pastry.

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The mincemeat we used in the pies was made by my older sister J, who chopped the apples, finely sliced the almonds and stirred in the currants herself.

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We rolled out, cut out, filled and topped each mince pie between the four of us.

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They were dusted with icing sugar as soon as they came out of the oven – or Aga in my family’s case … wish I had one of those to keep my flat toasty warm! 😉

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We ate the mince pies in front of the cosy wood burner, while they were still warm and fresh out of the oven, while sitting on the hearth-rug and chatting.

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Mince Pie Heaven!

Now don’t you think I’m forgiven for eating my first mince pie before the 1st of December?!

Meet …

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… Rosie the Owl!

I finished sewing Rosie last night and at the end of November she will be going home to a small friend of mine who’s going to turn three!

Rosie has flappable wings, button eyes, a beak that lifts up and down and cute heart buttons on her front. She is also soft and cuddly and hopefully just the right size for little hands.

I’m sure that Rosie will get a new name all her own and I hope she’ll be a part of many exciting adventures created by G!

Until then, I’m enjoying having Rosie’s cute face around and am starting on some owl-friends for my niece and god-daughter.

So grateful to my lovely honorary-mum for the wonderful pattern, adapted with the help of brilliant advice from hubby and friends! 😉