Days of Christmas, Discussion

{Discussion} Giving vs Receiving Books

Do you prefer giving or receiving books?

advent15As you may have noticed from the endless stream of blinking lights, the mad rush to buy the perfect Christmas tree, or the fighting over the last toy in the store, Christmas is around the corner. That means our Christmas present buying is coming to an end. For some people this is a blessing. For others it’s a disappointment because some people love buying presents for others and some people dread it. Usually people dislike buying presents because they don’t know what to buy people. In my house, our back-up option was books.

Even if we’d spent several months struggling to come up with a snazzy idea, at the end of the day, some people are just difficult to buy for (especially when you’re a kid using your parents money to buy presents for your parents. [And your dad wants a grill or hunting supplies. :p]) But books were always to fall back options because, I mean, who doesn’t like books?

And books make such a great present for everyone because there is such a wide variety. Even for the people who prefer history to fantasy, you can find a book. Even the people who like to bake over read, you can find a book. There are books for everyone, but you already knew that. And we already knew we all shared a love of books. So, the real question becomes, do you prefer receiving or giving books?

Receiving Books

That’s right, ladies and gents. We’re starting on the selfish end of the Christmas tree this year with receiving books, because who doesn’t love receiving books? Alright. Maybe not everyone. Maybe not the person who gets books from relatives and family friends who have no idea what you read. (As I’m sure we’ve all had happen to us once or twice.)

Even so, there is something amazing about unwrapping a present to find an entire world, an entire story underneath the fancy wrapping paper. You don’t have to worry about sharing it with anyone (at least until you read it, if you have younger siblings. Sorry, guys.) And you can enjoy the story over and over again and even share your reading experience with hundreds of thousands of other people around the world who loved it as much as you. In other words, it’s both an activity, you received in a present, and a conversation starter with others.

The best part is that it’s a gift for both introverts and extroverts! If you’re that introvert who may have an aversion to speaking with other people, it’s great! You get to sit alone for hours and read (or a few minutes depending on some of your reading speeds. 0.0) And the extrovert gets to gab about it to all their friends. Heck! Maybe the introvert will even make new friends by having the book attached to their hip as they walk around town! (Whether you want said friends or not is entirely up to you. :p )

Giving Books

Now, you probably already knew the amazing feeling of receiving a book (especially if it’s exactly the book you want.) But what about giving books? For some people, this isn’t very much fun. After all, what if you buy a book for a friend/family member when you haven’t even read the book? What if you want the book all to yourself? (Admit it. I know there are people out there who feel this way. :p ) How do you overcome such jealousy and actually share a new bookish world with your loved ones?

How about following an Icelandic tradition?

Did you know that in Iceland there is a tradition where you give a book to each person in your family on Christmas Eve and spend the rest of the night reading? It’s true! My brother and sister-in-law picked up this little tradition in our family a couple years back, handing out books to their family and friends during their Christmas Eve get together. At first, I didn’t quite get it. Their family and friends didn’t seem like readers to me, but I realized something as I sat and watched them open their presents: it’s not about being a reader. It’s about sharing the love of reading with others.

Let me put it to you this way: Can you imagine your life without reading? Can you imagine if you didn’t have books to read or didn’t enjoy reading? What if it was simply because no one had really taken the time to offer you a book you might enjoy? What if you were actually someone who loves to read but just didn’t know it yet?

What if you could be the person to bring reading into someone else’s life?

I don’t know about all of you, but I wasn’t a reader when I was younger. I hated it. I was so slow. I didn’t enjoy stories, and it wasn’t until I was an adult that I learned to love reading. Now I’m behind on hundreds of stories that people love and I have no idea what they’re talking about and there are only so many hours in the day! But if someone had handed me a book at ten, a book I’d fallen in love with so much that it ignited my love to read, how would my life be different now? How much fuller of imagination would it be?

Spirit of Christmas

And I asked at the beginning which you prefer, but I ask you, in the spirit of Christmas this year, share something you love with someone else. Perhaps it won’t make a difference. Perhaps they are just not into reading, but you won’t know if you don’t share, right? 🙂

Oh! And still let me know which you prefer in the comments below! This is a discussion, after all! :p

And check out my discussion from last week:
Shelf Organization


20 thoughts on “{Discussion} Giving vs Receiving Books”

  1. Hmmm I always find it difficult to buy books for people outside of immediate family just because you never know if they’ll be as excited as you are about it or if it’ll sit in their living room collecting dust for decades. I do prefer getting a book and my favorite part is the obvious-getting to relive it again and again and gain something new each time you delve back in! Thanks for the thought!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hmm… I can understand that. Even I have difficulties imaging what types of books my friends would read, and that’s after having lengthy bookish discussions. (Though, I suck at buying books for family, too, so maybe it’s more a me thing. >.>)

      Anyway! Thank you for joining the discussion and sharing your preference! ^.^


  2. Great post, Melanie! I’d have to say that I really enjoy both (as long as I have an income, haha)

    I really like receiving books (if like you said, the person doing the giving knows my tastes). And I also like giving them as gifts, especially if it’s a book which I personally enjoyed and that I’m giving to a friend. Hopefully that friend reads it and enjoys it too ;P so we can discuss. I also love books in general, so am always happy when I can gift a book to a fellow book-lover, because I don’t have many of those in my life.

    My parents don’t really read anymore 😦 and my boyfriend doesn’t read at ALL. Most of my friends also don’t really read, so all that’s left is my 2 friends who DO read, and my little sister.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh! I hear that, Flavia. I, too, need more book lovers in my life with whom I can sit and discuss books, but they seem to be far and few between (at least, IRL). I can say I’ve found quite a few on the interwebs, but it’s not quite the same. I can’t sit down over coffee and chat with them (especially when they don’t want to Skype me. nudge nudge ;p )

      My family are also not big readers. They read, sure, but not nearly as avidly as I do. Though, my brother and sis-in-law would read more if they had the time, but they don’t read the same stuff I do, anyway. :/

      P.s. I’m still holding out hope we might actually be able to see each other soon! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I have brought reading into two peoples life. One, of course, is my daughter, but the other is one of my coworkers. She’s in her early fifties, and suffers from a bit of a learning disability. As a result, no one ever really took interest in pushing her to read, and she’s stuck at around a 4th grade level.

    But I’ve taken her to the library, to the bookstore, I’ve went out of my way to find books she might like, and to talk about books with her. I’ve discovered if I would recommend it for my daughter, it’s probably a good choice for her too, which makes it easier.

    It has been very, very rewarding. Her face lights up now when she’s talking about a book that she loves. And she’s thanked me several times for “Opening up her world.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow. This is an amazing story, Lilyn. I’m so happy you were able to share the enjoyment of reading with another, as we should all strive to do. Your story proves we may never know who will love reading until we offer it to them. ^.^ Thank you for sharing this.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I can say that I am in the selfish group… I really do love to receive them!! Nowadays these past Christmases I only get what I buy to myself, we no longer celebrate Christmas properly like when we were little kids…
    And that Icelandic tradition is fantastic!! I’ve never heard about it before but I’m loving it!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hee hee! I’m happy you admit being in the selfish group as there are a few of us out there. ^.^ I, too, enjoy receiving books (though that might be partly because I’m a book hoarder… >.> shrug) And I’m sorry to hear about your Christmas, but at least you know you’ll enjoy what books you’re getting. ^.^

      Doesn’t it? I think the world should adopt this Icelandic tradition! ^.^

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I love giving gifts… but of course, I also love receiving books! What bookworm doesn’t? Lol! 😂 But seriously, it sounds like I should move to Iceland…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. In regards to giving books, I do enjoy giving them. However, most people that I buy presents for have tricky tastes. Some of them change constantly while the others may have read a lot in the genre they like, and I have no clue if they already have read it. Therefore, it gets really hard to buy any books for them, and it takes the fun out of it. However, some of my best friends who love reading are the ones I buy books for because I’ve seen how excited they are for them.

    In regards to receiving books, I both love and hate it. I love getting books as presents; however so many times my one friend gets me books that I have desire to read and I’m left with a book on my shelf that goes unloved for years…and I do mean years. I’m grateful she bought it for me and got it, but it sometimes puts the pressure on them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Huh. I had presumed buying books for people who don’t read much. However, I can also see the difficulty one faces when buying books for someone who reads a lot. After all, one doesn’t want to buy a book the person already owns. This is a good point you bring up.

      Interesting. I had never thought of the pressure one must feel to read when receiving a book, but I understand this. I just received books for my birthday and already I’m mentally rearranging my reading schedule to make room for them. Quite curious.

      Thank you for joining the discussion and sharing your viewpoint, Mandy!


  7. I don’t really have a preference of giving or receiving but I only give books to people that I know will appreciate it. I’ve made the mistake of buying a book for someone who doesn’t read (granted, they had actually asked me to pick a book that I thought they would like. I thought long and hard about it and I chose the perfect one). Some people just don’t appreciate books like we do and (to me) buying or giving them one is a waste of time, money and effort. People come to me for recommendations all of the time and while I have my go to books I always ask what they’re looking for because that’s what matters

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hmm. This is definitely something to take under consideration, Rae. And it actually reminds me of my birthday. My brother had asked me what books I had (as I own quite a few), I think more from the standpoint that he didn’t want to buy me a book I already owned.

      Though, I will agree with you. I love books. As such, I love receiving any books as presents, but I can understand that for some, receiving a book could be equivalent of receiving socks for others. (I actually love getting socks. Haha!) But, in the spirit of Christmas, it is better to give someone a present that they want than try to give them something we want.

      Thank you for sharing and opening up my mind to a different viewpoint, as always! ^.^

      Liked by 1 person

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