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mariskooli bowls

    Creative Living Creativity Corner

    the art of gift giving and receiving

    January 25, 2012

    We’ve all been there right? Receiving unwanted presents that went straight into cupboards only to come out and be dusted off when the gift giver came back to visit? Who’s going to own up to recycling presents they received when next needing a gift for someone?

    When I was in my early 20’s I went out with a young man who one day, on my birthday, prepared a lavish breakfast feast. That was wonderfull in itself. More poignantly, on the table there were about 20 individually wrapped presents waiting for me. Until then, no one had made a fuss over me or my birthdays. That experience changed something in me forever. It was the surprise element, the individually wrapped items, the sheer amount of energy and thought that must have gone into this ‘mini project’ that left an imprint.

    What it taught me was to put effort into gift giving. I wonder whether my giving thoughtfull presents derives from that very experience i had in my 20’s.

    What it also taught me was to honour my birthdays and make a fuss of myself. Well, dear readers, you’ll be happy to know that I have maintained this tradition, with or without a man! Yep, girls can do it for themselves…. my birthdays have become week-long events. For my 30th, I hired a warehouse and celebrated with 150 people from around the world. For my 40th, wiser and far more discerning, I had an intimate dinner with 35 family and friends chez moi. I just moved home. Fortunately it was a glorious evening so some of us sat out on the terrace. No way I would have otherwise fitted 35 bodies into my small, but perfectly formed abode.

    I loved turning 30 and couldn’t wait for my 40th but must admit the novelty factor stops right here. The thought of hitting 50 in a few years is far less appealing.

    But, I’m digressing, we are talking presents, right? Well, for my 40th, which coincided nicely with moving into my new home i designed and had totally refurbished, i made an important decision. As the saying goes: ‘have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful’. Solution: have a birthday list. Yes, you read correctly! A birthday list. Why is it ok to have a wedding list but not a birthday list? I quickly conducted some market research asking some friends and family how they felt about this? The general consensus was that cash was a no no as they wanted to be remembered by their specific present. People coming from abroad were delighted because, apparently, i am difficult to buy for (really?) and there was no need to schlepp presents in a suitcase. So, it seemed a win win situation. All i will say is i was (obviously) happy with everything i got. All presents are still with me and very much loved and used and everyone was incredibly generous. Thank you!

    Here is a small selection:

    These are littala’s mariskooli bowls, also known as mari bowls. They were bought from skandium and now come in two sizes. They are divided into different price categories based on the difficulty of manufacturing certain colours of glass.

    These glass plates and bowls are from the wonderfull ceramica blue.

    And of course my lovely vases from cec le page.

    I love giving and receiving presents. The best gifts in life are not bought with money. This is how I was greeted by my close friends on arrival at Düsseldorf airport on my birthday. I rest my case.

    For those thinking of buying me something and want to play safe? Always happy about amazon vouchers. Have you got stories to tell?