With Christmas approaching, many people are considering buying books for their loved ones to give them something new and exciting to read in the New Year.
As I’ve recently explained, gift cards are great for book lovers, but if you know what they want then you might be tempted to buy them an actual book. But wait! The Guardian thinks there’s etiquette to gifting people books.
Apparently you shouldn’t write an inscription, in case it gets given away or re-gifted (featuring an anecdote that’s about as true as a Tory election promise), and giving a book is as much about the giver as the receiver, as it’s a way to show how smart you are.
This is, to be frank, bollocks. You don’t have to buy people books to show that you’re a smart-arse, and you certainly are more than welcome to inscribe your book if you bloody well want to.
Christmas isn’t about you; it’s about doing well by others and spreading love, joy and laughter. It’s also about nice food, but that’s obvious.
It’s posh people nonsense to suggest that giving the gift of a book is some kind of test of the giver’s character. The book you give should be a reflection of the person you’re giving it to and the things they love the most in the world.
Overall, it’s impossible to know what’ll happen to a book you gift to someone else in the future, and giving a gift to make yourself seem smarter, rather than to please the reader, is egotistical and, frankly, bloody stupid. Get a grip and buy the book you want for whomsoever you want to this Christmas. Put some money into a charity box, then go stuff your face. The festive season is about spreading joy, supporting the unfortunate and munching food, after all.