Blogmas: 7 Gift Ideas for Language Lovers
Updated: Sep 3, 2021
'Tis the season to be jolly. For this month's BGT blog, let's do something a little different and get excited for the Christmas season together! If you're anything like me, you're either into language and culture yourself, or you have lots of friends and family members who are.
In this little gift guide for language lovers, you'll find a fun array of physical and digital gift ideas to suit every budget. So, without further ado, let's see what they are. Please don't forget to leave a comment at the end telling me your favourites or sharing your own gift inspiration.
Category: Physical Gifts
1. Ugly Christmas jumper
In the United Kingdom, it's customary to gift ugly Christmas jumpers (US English: sweater or pullover). Yes, this is a thing. In offices, there's even sometimes an allocated "ugly Christmas jumper day" to wear your ugliest, most obnoxious jumper on PURPOSE. Fun, isn't it? If you do decide to give someone an ugly jumper, especially if it's someone
based outside the UK, please let me know their reaction – you'll make my day! I really wish I could show you a picture of me wearing an ugly Christmas jumper, but I do not intend to let one of those take up space in my very organised wardrobe, haha!
Language lovers often happen to be bookworms, too. They get lost in their favourite page-turners and build their vocabulary in the process. Fellow translator and copy-editor Jasmin Haselberger is a big fan of bilingual novels, which are available for a ton of language combinations. Image picture dictionaries are also a superb gift idea for active language learners. What's great about them is that you learn words and phrases in context. Most people are visual learners and will benefit from this type of dictionary as opposed to a more traditional one. I can recommend this for German natives learning Spanish.
What item goes beautifully with books? A bookmark, especially if it includes a quote by the reader's favourite author or perhaps a hilarious pun. In fact, I'm designing my own bookmarks to give to clients this year. Help the VIPs in your life pick up where they left off!
You think food is an uncreative gift? Not necessarily, especially when it's something
you can't purchase in your country of residence. When she was living in Belgium, my colleague Chloe Stout brought her family and friends in England a yummy selection of Belgian chocolates and speculoos (German: Spekulatius). Whenever I go back to Germany around Christmas, I bring along some Terry's Chocolate Orange or a box of Thornton's pralines. Does it get any better than that? I don't think so.
Category: Digital Gifts
To go hand in hand with number 4, sharing a recipe taken from your favourite cuisine (*clears throat* Italian) is a delightful way to bring cultures closer together.
Some Christmas-specific recipe ideas:
Christmas pudding (England)
We all know that 2020 has been an incredibly tough year in terms of seeing our nearest and dearest. Sadly, it may not be possible for family or friends to be together for the Christmas season either. In these times, we can still share some love through fun online games. As my friend Dot Roberts suggests, have a Zoom meeting and play a Christmas-themed game of charades. Why not try virtual Scrabble, the international version? Or even enjoy a Netflix watch party together. That's the beauty of our time: The technical possibilities are seemingly infinite.
Vouchers are often deemed impersonal, but they certainly don't have to be. Do you know someone who's been eyeballing a 6-month Babbel subscription to brush up on their Dutch skills? Why not get them a voucher? You know a huge Harry Potter nut who is ready to read The Sorcerer's Stone in Russian?
An e-book download would fit the bill. Even online language lessons are becoming increasingly popular and are a fantastic gift idea for anyone wanting to broaden their linguistic horizon.
Bonus gift idea: music playlist
Are you a music lover as well as a language nerd? Try putting together an international Christmas playlist! You could even take it a step further and translate your favourite song's chorus into another language for a likely very "cringeworthy" moment. Some song ideas to get you started: Feliz Navidad (Spanish), Last Christmas, Santa Baby (English), Stille Nacht (German), Midden in de Winternacht (Dutch), Tu scendi dalle stelle (Italian).
Whatever you decide to gift this year, remember that the most important thing is the joy it brings to you and the people on the receiving end. A good gift is personal and unique. What we really need this Christmas is health, hope and happiness.
Wishing everyone reading this a festive holiday season. See you again next year!
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Thank you for reading!
Smiles all around,