The delights of surprise gifts

Christmas is almost upon us all now.  The presents should for the most parts be bought, wrapped and labelled.  Some of the more prepared of you may even have gifts under the tree, although mine are currently in the spare room with the christmas munchies...

Sometimes presents are not a surprise to us.  In fact, maybe some of us hate getting presents that are unexpected.  It saves disappointment in a lot of cases.


However, some surprises can brighten up even the most nightmarish weeks, and I am happy to say that I have had three!


My guardian mask from Hing Lung restaraunt
 The first arrived on Thursday afer a late night shopping trip led us to our favourite chinese restaraunt.  We go there regularly, and the week before I had sent them a christmas card.  They have made the last year, throughout which we have visited them very frequently, and my fiance and I felt that this deserved some acknowledgement.  Upon arrival, the owner happily thanked us for our card, which was sat pride of place behind the bar.  To me, that was more than enough.  However, whilst in the middle of my lovely chicken and sweetcorn soup, the head waiter came with a little present on a dish.  It was a lovely guardian mask, and was by a lovely coincidence my favourite colour (blue, not red)!  This came as a complete surprise, but possibly one of the loveliest surprises I had received in a long time.  What amazes me most is that the reason we had got the present was just because we had sent a (tiny) christmas card.  Usually kindness is its own reward - but I will never object to a perk every now and again.



A symbol of childhood christmas-time
The second surprise arrived on Friday night.  My mum had arranged to collect me from work that night as she wanted to take me to a garden centre.  The particular part of the centre that we went to see was no longer there, but we did wander into the aquarium and saw some pretty fishes and some live coral (which I have never seen up close before) so the visit was not a complete waste.  As we got into the car again my mum told me she had my christmas presents from grandma in the boot.  She also gestured to a large white bag on the back seat and told me that was mine too.  I had no clue as to what it was, until I lifted it up...and nearly squealed with excitement!
My grandma has made millions of things for her five grandchildren over the years that have been absolutely amazing.  However, now we have all passed eighteen she does not feel the need to make so much, which is fair enough.
So why, you may ask, did I get a nice surprise from my grandma, and what the heck is it?
As you can tell from the picture, it is a christmassy house.  However, as my brother and three cousins will agree, it is much better than that.  This...is a Christmas Sweetie-House, and is probably one of the most constant memories I have of my childhood christmas-times past.  Many a time have we taken one of these back home to be used for several years to house all sorts of sweet-related goodness.
Currently my cousin lives with my grandma and grandad, but occasionally stays with her friend's sister.  This sister has two young daughters, who inspired my grandma to make a 2010 model of her little house.  My cousin posted a picture of the finished article onto Facebook, and on a recent visit I found myself sat next to it.  After some discussion I said that the sweetie house was one of my fondest christmas memories.  My grandma smiled, obviously cheered up by what I had said, and that was it.  But obviously she decided to make me my own little house, and I was utterly delighted.

and yes, it was full of sweets!

The final surprise came on Sunday, when I was rummaging through some things.  I pulled out my Write Space competition form, which I had set aside "for safe-keeping."  As I pulled it out I read that the deadline was not 24th January, as I had thought, but February!   So I have an extra month to complete my entry, and because it is almost complete, I may have time to write a second!


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