Magazine article Russian Life

It's the Little Things That Count

Magazine article Russian Life

It's the Little Things That Count

Article excerpt

It is hard to say what Russians like more - to give or receive gifts. Probably the former. After all, Russia is known for its hospitality. Surely you have heard that you should never compliment a Russian on any item in his or her home, otherwise they will do their utmost to make you a gift of this item. Such is the unwritten code of Russian largesse. Which, as this month's column attests, has overflowed into the Russian language itself.

Since this piece was written for March, the month of International Women's Day, our gift giving tips will definitely-come in handy. To begin with, here's a practical hint: when you've finally decided on what type of gift the occasion requires, don't waste any time. Run right out and buy the gift before it's too late. For, as the Russians say: [Russian Text Omitted] ("That which is most appreciated is given when needed." Or, "An egg is dearest at Easter.").

Upon receiving a gift, Russians do not usually unwrap the gift at once, preferring to put it aside for a more private moment, unless, of course, the gift giver insists. Russians share the English belief that one should never look a gift horse in the mouth [Russian Text Omitted].

But, what if you don't have any idea what to give? In that case, bear in mind the fact that Russia still considers itself to be 'the most literate nation in the world,' [Russian Text Omitted]. So, when shopping, remember this bit of folk wisdom - a book is the best gift: [Russian Text Omitted]. But take care when selecting presents for New Russians: reading is not their favorite activity. Hence the famous joke about two nouveaux-riches arguing over what gift to buy their mutual friend: "Let's give him a book," says one to the other. But the second differs, "Why? He's already got one." [Russian Text Omitted]

In principle, Russians consider selecting the right gift a special talent: [Russian Text Omitted]. Many Russians are quite particular about the gifts they give. They carefully choose their gift, have it wrapped elaborately, and then heighten the overall effect by a thoughtful inscription - [Russian Text Omitted] - to the one receiving the present. Take note of the most typical dedications: [Russian Text Omitted] (To dear Ivan lvanovich on the occasion of his 60th birthday, on his wedding day, as a souvenir, as a token of our friendship, in memory of our first meeting). …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.