Friday, November 30, 2012

gift etiquette.

What's the etiquette with buying someone a book for Christmas that you really want to read? Are you allowed to read it before you give it to them? Or is that really not okay? What if the book is second hand already? Does that make a difference? While we're on the topic, are you allowed to watch DVDs before you give them? What about trying out perfume?

(I really want to read this book.) 

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29 comments:

  1. I don't know what the etiquette actually is, but I have every intention of reading some of the books I bought friends for Christmas because they are perfect for my friends, but also look really, really good to me!

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  2. No reading of books. The pleasure is partly in the untouched pages. But that's surely generational, so it's true only if you are giving the book to someone old.

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    1. does that mean you're not allowed to give second hand books?

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    2. @LPC ARE YOU CALLING ME OLD?

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    3. True for new books, but don't worry, in contrast the pleasure of secondhand books is partly in the patina, the possibility.

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  3. I think yes you can read a second hand book - and a new one if you're really careful not to crack the spine.

    DVDs - definitely watch them and there's nowt wrong with "testing" a couple of squirts of perfume.

    I think you're also allowed to buy someone a book and then ask to borrow it once they've read it!

    But maybe I'm just a reckless etiquette-free rebel

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    1. What about booze? Can I "test" that?

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  4. Read it! I've done this before, but I'm a fuckin' fast reader. Just make sure you don't leave greasy fingerprints on it--which I've done but it was Diane Keaton's book to my mom, so I think she understood/approved.

    DVDs--prob not since it'd be obvious you opened them

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  5. [quietly discards holiday plan featuring gently-worn underwear gift-wrapped for little sister]

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  6. second hand books are even more special to get, i think.

    i'm giving my bestie a stack of books for christmas- one i couldn't wait to open, but i didn't break the spine so the secret stays here ;)

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  7. second-hand, sure. new, NO WAY.

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    1. i concur, and i don't think it's a generational thing.

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    2. I don't think it's a generational thing, I think it's a book lover thing.

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  8. No, no, no!

    But by all means buy people books you want to read and *then* borrow them (that's the spirit of Christmas, right?). Id say no though to secondhand too, so it's probably a product of the idea that self-denial has a value...Which, Hmm.

    I've watched DVDs I then gave to my dad and I still feel guilty.

    (when I worked at a bookshop we were allowed to borrow new books provided we returned them in saleable condition, so you know, Im not saying you *should* I'm just saying its not that hard to read the whole hardback Harry potter series (I know) without getting greasy fingerprints on them or bending the spines;)

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    1. "the idea that self-denial has a value" - this is exactly it. I completely agree with you, I was just hoping that maybe everyone would tell me that I was wrong.

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  9. You can read the book you're going to give me.
    Belle-Mere

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    1. Off-topic, but - I learned a great expression from my (French) in-laws: "une tranche de belle-mère." It means a really tiny slice of cake. As in, "ne me donne pas une tranche de belle mère."

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    2. Only the French would ask for a really tiny slice of cake. I want a BIG slice.

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  10. diana banana30/11/12 8:21 pm

    i think if you read a second hand book before you give it, it counts as 1/2 of a gift and you should therefore give 2 second hand books.

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  11. With new books, only if you're really, REALLY careful. Which, I fail at, almost always, so I just don't anymore.

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  12. I once read a book before I gave it to my friend, I had to be super careful not to open it up too much, so as not to crease the spine. I felt so guilty when I handed it over! But it was the Patti Smith autobiography, so it was awesome. Kellie xx

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  13. If it's for me, you can read the book or watch the DVD. You can keep the perfume

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  14. Oh I adore Christopher Brookmyre! I vote yes to reading before giving as long as it doesn't show.

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    1. He's brilliant, isn't he? That wasn't one of my favourites of his but it was still unputdownable.

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  15. I have no problem with the reading of the book first! I have already picked up 3 books at goodwill to give as gifts too :)Don't crack the spines though! I've stayed up all night on Christmas Even finishing books that I was giving, lol! My partner has already asked if he can read the book that I'm giving my brother. DVDs.... hmmm... I'd say that if they are in plastic wrap, then leave them there... if they have no wrap, then by all means, preview them! Testing the perfumes is fine with me too :)

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  16. Depends on who you're giving it to. My Mum and I give each other books as presents all the time, and I'd be genuinely surprised if she hadn't read it first. Evn if she bought it new. I say go for it.

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  17. Absolutely NOT.

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  18. I am with unfounddoor but feel need for CAPS, here.

    NO, NO, NOOOO!!!! I am horrified both by the number of comments suggesting any of this could ever possibly be ok (squooshing perfume so that it doesn't go right up to top of bottle! potential finger-printing of dvds! the breaking - however subtly - of book spines! The transgression! AAAAAARRRGH!) and also by my own horrification. I am obviously an uptight, old, self-denying freak. Perhaps you should consider whether your recipient(s) are, too, and decide accordingly.

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play nice.