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Surprise Surprise! Saturday September 10, 2016

There was a time when expectant parents had to wait till their baby was born until the gender of the baby was known. Today most parents know the sex of the child before birth with some knowing the name and day the baby will be born. No surprises everything known in advance.

Remember when you eagerly unwrapped a present or maybe try to guess what it was by the shape of the noise it made when shaken?

Many people now tell us what they want for their birthdays even writing out a list or sending an email with suitable websites from which a gift can be chosen. A friend told me that her 12 year old daughter sent her friend a link which showed her what gift the daughter was buying.

Wedding gift registries used to be the exception now they seem to be the norm. Now you can buy a gift online for the couple without even seeing the gift. Some couples now ask for money to go towards the honeymoon or for fun activities like parachuting.

People getting married today will never know the fun of wondering what to do with 4 toasters, 3 fondue sets, 12 sets of towels and an interesting figurine from one's great aunt.

It seems that all the excitement has gone from receiving a gift. No more smiling sweetly at a relative when you receive the same gift 3 years in a row! The challenge has gone from finding a present for a friend or loved one that they would like and want.

Surprise birthday parties seemed to be more common than they are now, but maybe that is only among people I know.

I am someone who at times does not cope well with changes and I have been known to tell people, I can be spontaneous, as long as I get a week's notice!!

However I do like small surprises, fun surprises!

Maybe I am a dinosaur and I should get with the times.

Do you like the idea of the trend to choose your own presents for a wedding or birthdays?

What do you think of surprises?

Do you feel we are losing something as a society by not having as many surprises in our social customs as we used to?

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

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the room above the garage Sat, Sep 10th 2016 @ 6:22am

Very true! Hello Leah, interesting blog, you always give the parts of my brain I'm not using a work out, wonderful! I'm not a fan of surprises at all, I'm also uncomfortable receiving gifts so i cancelled my birthdays a while ago. Personally, losing surprises is no loss but I can see how as a society it could be, especially wedding gifts. My mum still laughs at some of hers! Love ratg x.

Leah Sat, Sep 10th 2016 @ 9:49am

tratg, You say such kind things. I love birthdays but am known for being difficult to buy for. I deny that of course!! Love Leah xx

danielle Sat, Sep 10th 2016 @ 6:41am

Hi Leah great post! I love buying gifts for people and would rather think of something myself than choose from a list. That said, I'd rather them have something they want than open my gift and think it will be shoved in a drawer ! We have relatives who write extensive Christmas lists which just seems to take the fun out of it! Horses for courses I suppose!

Leah Sat, Sep 10th 2016 @ 9:50am

Danielle, Thanks for your comment,Gift giving is as you point out an art!

Richard Sat, Sep 10th 2016 @ 8:03am

Surprise surprise
The unexpected hits you between the eyes...

Richard Sat, Sep 10th 2016 @ 8:04am

Surprise surprise
The unexpected hits you between the eyes...

Richard Sat, Sep 10th 2016 @ 8:04am

Surprise surprise
The unexpected hits you between the eyes...

Richard Sat, Sep 10th 2016 @ 8:05am

Surprise surprise
The unexpected hits you between the eyes...

Richard Sat, Sep 10th 2016 @ 8:05am

Surprise surprise
The unexpected hits you between the eyes...

Leah Sat, Sep 10th 2016 @ 9:51am

Surprise surprise it repeated 6 times before my eyes!! Thanks Richard

Richard Sat, Sep 10th 2016 @ 8:06am

Surprise surprise
The unexpected hits you between the eyes...

Bearofliddlebrain Sat, Sep 10th 2016 @ 9:40am

It came out six times...was that the chorus?? Bear x

Leah Sat, Sep 10th 2016 @ 9:51am

What lovely refrain no line ever the same!! more like poetry to me bear!!

LillyPet Sat, Sep 10th 2016 @ 8:21am

:))) that song will be on my mind and keep me smiling Richard! Bless our Cilla.

Hi Leah,

Great blog!

Nice surprises are great, both to give and receive.
I do like the tradition and magical pleasure of gifts in theory, but in reality I find the whole presents thing a bit of a pressure that I could do without! Both thinking of what to get and what to say if asked if there's anything I'd like. Even if I could think of something inexpensive, do I say to save the person the trouble of thinking what to give me? I think discussing it takes the giftness out of it and it's all too awkward! I totally get no one wanting to gove or receive unwanted items. They can't be boring either! And as for presents from on holiday...

A bit like ratg, I've opted out. I still do kids and it wont be long before they prefer cash anyway.
The worst was my mother last year asking me to ask my daughter to choose something on Amazon wrap it as if from her and she'd give me the money! I said she'd be happy with the money, but no. More stuff for me to worry about and juggle! Ugggh! :))

Sometimes though I have an idea or see something that I'm pretty sure would be perfect! Joy and pleasure all round! :) I just go with those, trust my instincts and ignore the nagging voice that says" yes but will they feel obliged to buy you a gift? blah blah blah!".

With anxiety and depression, the subject has triggered over thinking, worrying, stress and avoidance all very negative for what is supposed to be pleasurable! Some work to do on that one!
The silver lining is that I love giving my two what I can afford, in terms of surprises, presents, things asked for and expect nothing in return. No social anxiety at home at least! :)
I know that in reality, these things can seem trivial, when others are suffering much more serious challenges.
A good friend rounds things up by saying "It all comes under the heading of...." Which often makes me laugh and feel that it's all ok, it's just life.

Thanks Leah and hugs to all! LP :) xx

Leah Sat, Sep 10th 2016 @ 9:53am

Lily thanks for your detailed response. It is sad that such a fun thing like gift giving can cause so much worry and stress.

Orangeblossom Sat, Sep 10th 2016 @ 8:27am

I love surprises & I don't like looking at lists of gifts which I cannot afford. I prefer to receive a small gift chosen with love than a costly gift given from a sense of duty. That isn't the way things are going at the moment.

Leah Sat, Sep 10th 2016 @ 9:54am

Orangeblossom, Gift registries have been around for a while and no sign they will go away. Thanks for replying.

Duma Sat, Sep 10th 2016 @ 8:32am

Hi Leah. Great name, by the way.

I love surprises! To quote Zaphod Beeblbrox (well, Douglas Adams, I suppose) "Action, adventure and really wild things!" To which Marvin the paranoid android replied "Sounds awful."

No exclamation marks for Marvin.

Personally, being (as I may have mentioned before) all about the up, I love adventure and experience is pure platinum to me. I'm not a thrill seeker, weird, exciting things just happen to me. A lot.

I have been, often told, at the end of one of my little anecdotes - "No, that's just you... ...that doesn't happen to anyone else."

Know, what I miss?

Not knowing that.

If you want good old fashioned manners, may I suggest the company of Metalheads?

Companionable silence (the music is too loud) is a must, with strangers.

Zero personal space, and if you like a SERIOUS jumping up and down - there's always the Moshpit.

Good, clean fun! Not that I am allowed to mosh, anymore. I empty the pit, no fun.

I miss that, does that count?

Once again - great name!

Cheers, Duma.

Leah Sat, Sep 10th 2016 @ 9:56am

Thanks Duma, I feel such an olf fuddy reading your reply, Mosh pits and serious jumping- were never in my past or present- that would be a surprise if I was ever in a mosh pit being moshed!!

g Sat, Sep 10th 2016 @ 12:43pm

me too. have to google this one - at once - it is such a surprise !

Duma Sat, Sep 10th 2016 @ 3:12pm

You're welcome Leah. g - I loved your reply. A surprising response to a surprising piece about surpises. That's Meta surpising, at least! lol

g Sat, Sep 10th 2016 @ 5:28pm for the curious moshpit etiquette - 9 points with pic

g Sat, Sep 10th 2016 @ 5:28pm


Duma Sun, Sep 11th 2016 @ 9:30pm

Thanks g. Very informative, I learned to mosh in the bad old days, about thirty years ago, back before there were any qualifications for bouncers, apart from being tough, and preferably huge. Moshing in Glasgow may be different, also. My local club 'The Cathouse' has those 'test your punch' fairground things, around the pit (the entire dance floor) to de-escalate macho posturing. Really helps. Our Moshes are much more polite (in the literal sense of 'appropriate for the city') mainly because everyone knows how to fight properly. Y'know? I had no idea there was formal, codified ettiquette to this. Must be an American/transatlantic thing.

Jul Sat, Sep 10th 2016 @ 8:51am

Hi Leah. I love opening presents from family and friends, not knowing what's inside. I also love buying and giving presents. When my mother got older, she just gave us money which was a sign of her not being able to physically go out and buy something (no internet). I hope I don't get too old to buy presents. I love the ceremony of wrapping presents, giving and receiving them. I know people who don't even wrap presents. I liked your description of married couples and their duplicate wedding gifts!. Julxx

Leah Sat, Sep 10th 2016 @ 9:59am

Jul. I ended up giving money to some family members as it was easier and it was what they wanted. It was not an age thing!! I think it is funny now that heaven forbid we give someone a gift they did not expect/ I have neen given books I would not buy myself but have thriughly enjoyed them. Thanks for your reply.xx

Bearofliddlebrain Sat, Sep 10th 2016 @ 9:37am

What a great idea for a blog,Leah! fetch a cuppa, this could take a while...!

I absolutely Lurve giving gifts, often bought but sometimes homemade, cake, scones, mince pies (when appropriate!) or homemade crocheted blankets, shawls or bags...when I'm in the mood!!
Neighbours are celebrating a Golden Wedding anniversary today...and I had no idea what to get peeps who have what they want or reallyneed and as I visit often I know they don't need more it's a gold-leafed plant in a lovely pot!

What I dislike is 'THE list'.
Apart from young children for their Christmas gift, I hate lists...expensive wedding ones especially or the request for money...grrrrrrrowly Bear!!!
I know these days of 'blended' families or couples living together before marriage means that they have everything - sometimes two lots of things, but as you said earlier...what to do with two (or three in our case!) irons, gazillions of towels and bedding that is itchy and scratchy...most ornaments we were given are still intact however I am down to the last towel (actually given as an engagement gift 32 years ago)

But normally, I'm in the 'SURPRISE them' camp!

....mmm....what did I just say? I like to surprise peeps?
...and yet, I'm not always keen on complete surprises for myself!!! Ah lol! My problem with surprises can be 'oh heck, why did he not warn me??!!!' Or 'Really? You think I would look good wearing that?'
So am a fickle Bear! Like Jul said, I don't want to get too old to go and buy presents....I agree with Lillypet it's sometimes the worry of buying something that needs to be worked on, and I admit, I am a people pleaser so it's tough!!!

Quick, go drink that cuppa, it's nearly gone cold!
Bear hugs all round...a gift freely given and maybe a surprise to some!
Bear xx

Leah Sat, Sep 10th 2016 @ 10:01am

Bear, I can see there will be a new vocation, gift counsellors. You cna make me a homemade shawl anyday. I like when someone has gone to the trouble to make me a gift. Thanks for your comment.

DAVE Sat, Sep 10th 2016 @ 9:45am

Hi Leah,

Like you as a child I loved surprises, I still do, and I love giving surprises even more, wrapping an evident request in a box larger or even smaller than the recipient exoect, when they say prior to opening, "Oh you didn't get me what I wanted", only to see them cringe with delight, I sometimes change direction to give the receiver a continued surprise, it's great fun to observe others reactions, especially when taking them on a flight destination without giving away anything.

Life Leah needs more people to create the unexpected....that is what makes life so much more interesting, for those around us.

Thank you for your expressive thought provoking.

Make your own miracles, and become THE OBSERVER'.

God Bless.


Leah Sat, Sep 10th 2016 @ 10:03am

Dave, The unexpected can be good it can also be awful. Your comments are always a pleasant surprise, thanks Leah

g Sat, Sep 10th 2016 @ 12:22pm

What a great blog Leah ! I had to read it and all comments twice and it all rings so true for me at different times in my long life. Different customs , traditions , cultural , national ....etc. mixing and putting their stamps on my psyche , beliefs , prejudices , preferences , liquid , changing , transforming . Surprises ! Presents ! Pressure of choosing , receiving , as giving seems so much easier if you do not take into account a famous historical figure ( name skipped my mind at the moment ) who slaughtered the whole visiting delegation because they brought cheap presents not to his liking .

Receiving , gracious , without immediate indebtedness feeling and point scoring mind jotting , is extremely difficult and needs practising as it is good for the soul and the giver.

The giver , on the other hand , should not expect anything in return ever , should not judge the gift or the giver.

Money - this dirty luker - what more can I say ? I cannot bring myself to gift even vouchers , to put a price on love , friendship ...
It is never an adequate amount !

Well chosen present , however , does not have to be expensive but may take time and other resources to fish out .

When we know the person , their likes , dislikes , hobbies , interests the objects or experiences shout out when noticed - " I am for so and so and then is the time to acquire and put in the cupboard till the time of the occasion or pack and surprise straight away surprising oneself in the process , really surprise , as they shout out - " It is not my Birthday ! Why ? " and such.

By now you would know that I would not like to find out the gender of my child before the actual birth from the doctor .
It does not mean that I did not wonder and try to guess from the shape of my stomach and " The Feeling " .

I love surprises so much that when my husband booked a trip for our anniversary I asked to be blindfolded on the way to the plane and put earplugs in my ears not to hear the announcements .

And when I buy a lottery ticket , once in a blue moon , I carry it in my purse for months without checking the numbers because all this time I may be the winner ... but I think it is a completely different subject - like squeezing the value out of the now two pounds not one anymore to the last drop .....

Leah Sat, Sep 10th 2016 @ 11:10pm

g what a delightful comment. I can see you blindfolded with ear plugs to add to the surprise!! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

g Sat, Sep 10th 2016 @ 12:30pm

Oh , if you are curious - it Was Venice ! - and it Was a Biggie and First timer . Almost no surprise at all .

I am not knocking the impossibility to chose ( which should never be done last minute and under duress ever ) when one is not with it , depressed , disinterested . Then the pain of choosing even the card and the words to put inside may be unbearable.

Even more need for a secret cupboard .

Leah Sat, Sep 10th 2016 @ 11:12pm

g, making a decision when I am depressed is too much for me, too. Venice- what a great choice.

g Sat, Sep 10th 2016 @ 12:38pm

I think I need to share my todays experience of moodscope.
I have signed in and read the blog and then did the graph and read the blog again and wrote my first long post . on pressing add comment I was taken back to login page and my post disappeared. I nearly panicked assuming that I had lost the post however it was still there on the previous page but it was not being posted. I had copied it tried again and again was taken to login page so although I looked as signed in I was not ? I had tried a few times with the same result . I had to sign in again but then the post really disappeared so coping it was a good idea . MAYBE FROM NOW ON WHEN IT , I do not know when I pressed caps lock button , when my post start to look pretty long I will copy it just in case . maybe you had similar experience . better safe than sorry. have a nice day all moodscopers . it is muggy and rainy here in London.

Bearofliddlebrain Sat, Sep 10th 2016 @ 4:01pm

Oh G...or g! There are gremlins in Moodscope at times and some posts get added two or three times (or six today...might be a record held by Richard??) and other posts get snatched up and lost...don't worry, as long as you copy it, you can always add it in seems to happen to most of us at some time or another - I think there's a spelling gremlin in mine too! It's drizzly and mizzley in Cambridgeshire too but have a good afternoon! Bear x

Leah Sat, Sep 10th 2016 @ 11:13pm

g, see even moodscope is full of surprises. I admire your patience.

Leah Sat, Sep 10th 2016 @ 11:14pm

Bear, I think I hold the record for number of typos in one comment or blog and I can't blame gremlins!!

Leah Sat, Sep 10th 2016 @ 11:15pm

Sunny in south coast NSW- lovely spring morning. To be fair we have had lots of rain over the last few nights.

Nuncman Sat, Sep 10th 2016 @ 12:47pm

Leah, Good post! I like gift surprises, and try to give family & friends something they don't expect but will like, however everyone around me seems to believe gift vouchers are the only way to go "so you can get something you really want".

But there are of course many surprises that I don't like, which when it comes down to it means I don't much like unexpected change.

"Prejudice" is a dirty word, but when it comes down to it, it means pre-judging situations & people. We live complex lives, and would not be able to function if we reviewed every action & decision we made, so we automatically look right (or left) when crossing the road, we stay away from certain dogs, and reach out for small babies.

It's when we find something that doesn't act in line with our prejudice that we usually don't like a surprise.

So yes I do think we are losing something by eliminating social & pleasant surprises.

Leah Sat, Sep 10th 2016 @ 11:16pm

Nuncam, Thanks for your comment. You have given me lots to think about. Will ponder on your thoughts on prejudice.

The Gardener Sat, Sep 10th 2016 @ 6:53pm

I've had gremlins today, could NOT log-in, had to disturb poor Caroline. To Belinda from yesterday - offer of help gratefully received - as so many in my position know it's use the professionals for all you're worth, grin and bear it (with the increasing ability to 'lose it' completely) and take constant comfort from friends, in person, e-mail, phones, or on here. Leah, surprises are certainly not pleasing to everybody. For Mr G's 60th birthday I wanted to take him, as a surprise, away for the week-end. French air-traffic control were striking so often it seemed that any flight involvement would mean spending the weekend at Heathrow. A surprise, certainly. I decided on Amsterdam, French could not wreck it. It worked brilliantly, he had no idea where he was going until we reached the check-in desk. One of the most pleasing was this year. Eldest son was due for a regular visit in February. Threatened strikes and horrendous storms made me doubt his getting here at all. His car drove up to the minute - I went out in the road - and his wife jumped out as well! Due to ties with children and animals she had not been here since Mr G's 70th birthday. Over-joyed for me was an understatement. She inspected the new house, we ate, drank, caught up - but, best of all she, who like me is not noted for being a handyman set to with husband and did wonders. In three days they made windows shut, stopped doors sticking, sorted computer problems - not even constructive criticism, all positive. Mr G in a week respite - going for my annual indulgence, half a bottle of champagne and the Last Night at the Proms, how Naff can you get?

Leah Sat, Sep 10th 2016 @ 11:19pm

Gardener, Thanks for your memories. I can see you with your champagne, enjoying the last night at the proms with a pink boa a twin set and pearls!! Enjoy!!

Lesley Sat, Sep 10th 2016 @ 7:47pm

Thank you Leah. Surprises are a delight but as someone who does not want more things which are unnecessary I now like to inform closest what would mean most to me - pleasurable items such as essential oils and base oils. I also like to know what others would like. This allows me to spend a limited budget on presents which will be wanted. When it comes to experience gifts it is another story! Last week a kind friend bought me my Xmas and birthday pressies for the next few years - 10 acting lessons with a friend of mine who teaches and directs. I could not have asked for a better present. Sheer surprise and so appreciated.

Leah Sat, Sep 10th 2016 @ 11:22pm

Lesley thanks for your comment. I am always interested in people's thoughts about different customs. I think that while you would never have asked for acting lessons it was a great present for you and a surprise. Who could ask for more?? Take care

Leah Sat, Sep 10th 2016 @ 11:27pm

I am often surprised as to how people respond to my blogs, always a pleasant surprise.
I think gift giving is a part of our culture and we will approach it differently.
Thanks everyone who commented and/or read my blog. Actually I am always surprised that anyone comments so each comment is a wonderful surprise.
Feel free to keep on commenting as I do love the surprise of comments and I keep reading and replying.
Maybe that is a record for using the same word-surprise, in a comment!!

Nicco Mon, Oct 3rd 2016 @ 5:18pm

Thanks for this blog about surprises, Leah. As usual I am very behind with things and only just catching up. I love to give surprises but, personally, I don't like to receive them myself! I prefer to know what's in store for me. Also, I would rather receive one thing I really like than 6 things I really can't use - I always get so many boxes of toiletries but can't use them as I've very allergic! I would also buy a couple a wedding present I know they want and need than something which disappoints. My daughter usually gives me a list every Christmas - I don't have to get everything on it and it usually rolls over to the next year - I find it much easier. But I do get your point and I do think I miss some of the spontaneity and excitement of days gone by.

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