Gift Ideas,  Random

Books for Christmas?

Many of you have been asking me about my Christmas posts, like the Gifts Ideas I did last year and you enjoyed so much. Don’t worry, I’m already planning them and they’ll be up during December. This year, I’ll take into account the horrible economic situation in Europe and I’ll give you so more economical ideas. Meanwhile, I’ve been thinking a lot about gifts and what to buy to our beloved ones.

In my family, I have a problem: they are all science/medicine oriented people and reading is not their preferred hobby. In fact, they are not bookish at all, so I obviously never buy them books. My motto when looking for a gift is that it has to please the person I’m buying it for even though I may not like it. But still, there are many of you who have children, younger siblings or even friends who do not really enjoy reading but are still open to give books another try.

So, this post is for those of you who want to encourage reading and bookish tendencies and do not know what to buy, not “How to make someone Bookish” 🙂

1. Books are fun.– If you are researching books for a child who doesn’t like reading, I suggest looking for fun books: from pop ups to books they can play with, carelessly, as if they were another toy. You can ask your local book shop for them so that you can see them before purchasing, but if not, there are great offers online. You can find anything from Medieval history to classics, such as Alice in Wonderland (from Book Depository):

2. There are books about everything.- Not all of us enjoy reading narrative. Some kids (and adults) may prefer poetry, short stories, essays or even technical books. It is important to know well what the person likes and try to find a bookish gift for them. If they do not like books, they haven’t probably researched book shops so, maybe you’ll discover something they’ll enjoy. While writing this paragraph I’m thinking about photography books, how to take beautiful pictures etc. Even cookbooks!

3. Reading a low-quality best-seller is better than not reading anything at all.- Some people look down on contemporary fiction and best-sellers because they do not like them and they infer other people won’t. Wrong. If they are best-sellers, they are more likely to please more people than an unknown, complex book you adored. Plus, we all like an easy best-seller to simply evade ourselves from our worst weeks, right? 🙂

4. Classics may come up handy, but not always.– Another great choice is a classic, but be careful! Many classics have been adapted to movies and widely broadcasted on TV. This plays against us: the person may know the story and a) not be interested on reading the original book or b) find it boring or know it by heart after watching the movie every year (think of Christmas stories!).

5. E-books.– Some people feel more comfortable having an e-reader and knowing they can download a classic book for free, take a quick look at it and decide whether to read it or not without having spent a cent. I know e-readers are expensive and some people may not spend their own money on them, but maybe they’ll be thankful if you bought it for them. In my case, when my family and I want to buy something expensive for someone, usually buy the present as a group and sign a card attached to the present so that the person knows it comes from all of us.

6. Finally, if the person is not interested in books at all, do not buy them books. I know this goes against the previous points, but think if someone gave you something you do not like at all (fitness clothes, a movie you hate, something artsy, a dress etc.) and you know they know you don’t like it. You would end up thinking: Do they want to change me? Why have they spent their money on this? The person will be more thankful if they got something THEY like or need.



  • Rikki

    Very good points and very sensible. As sad as it is, item 6 is very true. No point in giving a non-reader a book. Just as much as I would hate to get workout clothes – to stay with your example – they hate books, and it is all about giving something the other person would like and not the giver.

  • Ann Weisgarber

    I rarely give books as a gift because of Number 6 on your list, but a gift card to a bookstore can work. Many bookstores carry other items, and it’s a great way to entice non-readers to a store they might avoid. And who knows? They might pick up a book just for the heady experience of doing something different!

    • Elena

      That’s another great idea, Ann, thank you! I guess that they have more chances to discover a book if they enter a book shop than if they now… However, I doubt whether some non-bookish people would actually stop and take a look at the books. Sad but true (same would happen to me at a videogames/fitness store, there’s nothing to be ashamed of).

  • Leeswammes

    Very good tips! Indeed, why not buy a best seller? Unless they do read a lot, they might like it since lots of people have obviously liked it.

    Children love those pop-up books! Always a good choice.

  • amanda

    I confess I’m a little surprised that sciency people wouldn’t be interested in science books! I guess that’s my bookish bias…. 🙂 Some good ideas here. My problem is that my dad is a reader but isn’t big on owning the books he reads–he prefers library books. So if I buy him a book, I have to make sure it’s one he might actually keep around!

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