Surprise Me!

Posted: February 16, 2012

Who doesn’t love a gift for no reason? We love surprise gifts but here is the trick to getting surprise gifts right.

By Tranquil Samuel

This post has been sponsored by Shopper’s Stop.

Surprises – there are many kinds out there. The English author, Thomas Hardy said, “Happiness is but the occasional episode in a general drama of pain.” And no doubt, it is the many surprises that life throws at us which contributes to this drama of pain. Most people, not surprisingly, are very guarded in their response to the question, “Do you like surprises?”

However, a surprise gift is a different matter altogether. While we all love unexpected gifts, the female gender of our species have somehow garnered a reputation of having a special fondness for them. But, surprise, surprise! Men equally love surprise gifts; only, most of them would rather die first than admit to it, for some reason that is peculiar to their gender!

A surprise gift, however, is a success subject to a few conditions. The first is that the gift must demonstrate that the giver has an unmistakable understanding of the receiver’s personality. It would be giving a surprise of the wrong kind if you were to gift your wife an ornate piece of jewellery when her tastes run to understated elegance.

Another element that heightens the pleasure of receiving a surprise gift is the attention given to detail, while choosing the gift. A Filipino woman, whose great passion is to sew historical garments, was astounded into a jaw-dropping silence when she was gifted a book, by her husband, about the embroidery techniques of the 18th century. “I didn’t expect him to pay attention to my babbling, especially about sewing. One more stroke of his character was revealed to me that day,” she says.

The surprise need not be the gift alone, but also in the way it is presented. A man in Trivandrum, who was very interested in an antique drop down desk, saw one, restored to near-perfection, in an old furniture shop. He made about 4 to 5 trips to the shop, clicked pictures, but never went beyond dreaming about it – the formidable price-tag holding him back. On his birthday, his wife visited the shop and called to inform him that the desk had already been sold. The man’s disappointment was deep; however, not for long. The next day, the desk was delivered to him at his doorstep.

According to his wife, he was speechless for a long time, and after the desk was duly assigned its corner in his room, he kept touching the desk almost reverentially, adjusted and readjusted his things on it, in which actions his wife read a big “Thank you.”

The surprise gift could be something as simple as a rose. It is the unexpected, coupled with the thought that someone set aside five minutes (and five minutes is not insignificant in our busy world), to simply say that “I care.” And if you really think about it, even a baby uttering “Mama” for the very first time can be a wonderful surprise gift for the mother.

Of course, sometimes well-meaning surprises can go awry. There has been many a Jim who sold his watch to surprise his Della with an array of expensive combs, only to find that Della had sold her abundant and beautiful hair in order to surprise him with a platinum chain for his watch, as in the story, “The gift of the Magi,” by O. Henry. But then, as they say, it is not really the gift, but the thought behind it that counts.

Pic credit: asenat29 (Used under a Creative Commons License) 

About the AuthorTranquil Samuel is a full-time mother, part-time chorister and a freelance writer and translator, with an egalitarian and contemplative bend of mind.

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