English Majors Don’t Want Books for Christmas

Now, I’m not speaking for all English majors here when I say that we don’t want books for Christmas, but I’m sure that even those that do want books can understand me when I say that books aren’t our core passion. We definitely don’t want books gifted to us for every holiday, birthday or other celebration either. English majors can and do enjoy things other than books, and sometimes books just aren’t the thing we want as a gift, especially for Christmas; here are a few of the reasons why:

Odds are we won’t have time to read them

It’s a beautiful idea to get someone who loves to read books one that you enjoy or love yourself so they can then enjoy it as well. Trust me, I love to do just that if I know somebody who likes to read as a pastime. However, as an English major I can almost guarantee that we don’t have time to read in our spare time. Most students can understand such a struggle of not having the free time to do what they love, but for English majors, what we love is often what we study. That means that in our free time we don’t necessarily want to spend more time reading novels, poems, short stories, etc. So if you do decide to gift an English major a book for Christmas, don’t expect us to have the time to read it until at least spring break. But don’t hold your breath, and definitely don’t expect us to read it within a week or two just because we “love to read.”


It’s likely we own the book or have already read it

My biggest problem with getting books given to me as gifts is that more often than not I already own the book or at the very least have borrowed it from the library and read it. I know whenever I’m gifted a book I’ve already read or own, I feel guilty telling the person who gave it to me because I know they probably spent a lot of time picking out the right book. This can be even worse when the person giving the gift doesn’t know you intimately enough to know what you’ve read. They usually get you a popular book just because it’s popular, which means that you’ve probably already read it. Not even my parents will attempt to buy me books for Christmas because I’ve read too many for them to keep track of. It’s easier for both of us if they just don’t get a book without asking first.


We have too many books as it is

A lot of English majors love books, which also means we own a lot of books. For most of us, there is an inner desire to have our own personal library full of classics and favourites alike. However, as students we don’t have the space to fulfill these dreams right now. Most of us are willing to admit we have a bit of an obsession with owning books yet are unlikely to get rid of any of them to make room for new ones. Gifting us books is dangerous because we have too many books and not enough shelf space to hold them all!


You probably don’t know what we like

Readers have all sorts of interests, and a book that holds a special place in one person’s heart may be despised by another. It is always fun to gift books to friends based on what you love and think they may also enjoy, but there is also the sad fact that they may not like your book. English majors are just like all readers, and in our limited spare time, we are going to read only the books that peak our interests. If the book you gift us isn’t that genre we probably won’t touch it and will only inadvertently insult you in the process. This can be especially tricky when the individual gifting the book isn’t someone close to you, such as a relative that only heard from your parents that “you’re studying English” and “like to read.”

Just because someone is studying English doesn’t mean they want books for Christmas. Sometimes buying us books is acceptable, but usually only when we’ve picked those books out for ourselves. We don’t always have the time to read books for fun when we have to read them for our degree; unfortunately, because of our degree, reading can sometimes feel like a chore.

This Christmas, if you have an English major—or even just a book lover—on your shopping list, consider buying them book-related gifts instead! Just because we love books doesn’t mean we won’t appreciate something else, and if you really don’t think there is anything in the world to buy us other than books, opt for a gift card for the closest bookstore and let us pick our own when we have the time!

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