We all have that one person on our list that is impossible to shop for - for them, a festive mug or a pair of brand-new socks just won’t cut it. Whether it’s your trilingual cousin or your globe-trotting college roommate, there are certain people on your holiday shopping list that inspire you to step up your gift-giving game year after year.
But what do you get the person who can read in languages you can barely pronounce or regularly cooks ethnic food that would make Bobby Flay retire his apron? While it may seem intimidating at first, there are actually awesome gifts aplenty for your worldly friends and family members. And if you’re the one who’s hard to shop for, pass along this article as a gift guide for family and friends who are usually stumped on what to get you. From vintage French kitsch to ultra-clever scarves for the literature-obsessed, consider your holiday shopping done.
Foreign language board game.
What do you get when you combine your favorite board game with your favorite second language? Holiday happiness. The perfect gift for the vocab-fanatic in your life, they’ll love putting their skills to the test with foreign-language board games like Scrabble, Monopoly, and even Life - or should we say Vida?
Customized ancient script (cuneiform) tablet.
What do you get the person who already has everything? A clay tablet with a personalized message written in cuneiform, of course. For a gift that doubles as both a thoughtful gesture and a conversation starter, order your uncle who knows it all a personalized clay tablet with the message of your choice (his favorite phrase, a particularly silly tweet…) translated into cuneiform.
What beats a good pun? A good pun on a potato. This holiday season, skip the sweet potato pie and just send the potato - with a personal message for your loved one. From potato parcels to potato lumps of coal, there’s a perfect potato for everyone on your holiday list this year. Added bonus: they now offer one-day shipping for the holidays.
Calling all linguistic and typography nerds! There’s finally a scarf designed with you in mind. This winter, you can wrap yourself up in a scarf that truly speaks to you - it’s called Word Wear. Pick the word that resonates with you, and wear it proudly. Designed to mimic the pages of a classic dictionary, your font-crazed friend is sure to geek out.
Foreign language books and novels.
As the saying goes, books are a uniquely portable magic. Gift your loved one the magic of a second-language book - new or used, they’ll be introduced to new worlds (and words!) just the same. Take a trip to your local book store and get lost in the foreign language section. Fiction, poetry, prose, and history - you’ll likely leave with a gift for yourself, too.
Foreign language magazine subscription.
When you’re learning a new language, nothing beats authentic content. Simultaneously informative and intriguing, gifting your friend a subscription to a foreign-language magazine is a great way to support their learning all year long. Pro tip: consider your friend’s hobbies and interests, and find a foreign-language magazine that supports it. Fleur creatif, here we come!
From the sounds of mice to the sneeze heard around the world, tickle the fancy of every language learner with James Chapman’s sound posters. Equal parts artsy and informative, James’ clever posters artfully depict the wild world of onomatopoeia and more across the globe. Personally, we’re putting Cat Sounds on our wish list - mjau.
For a language and culture lover, vintage finds are a learner’s best friend. Accessible, authentic, and affordable, digging through estate sale treasure trunks and deep diving into Etsy always leads to awesome finds. We’ve got our eyes on these kitschy French-language flash cards - after you’re done learning new vocab, repurpose them as home decor. Looking for something special for your foreign-language learning friend? From vintage Spanish math posters to German pocket flashcards, you can give them something one-of-a-kind this year.
It’s true - you are. And so are your friends and family, so let them know with this awesome kit of 81 foreign-language mini stickers and a wall print that says so. Learn to say this affirmative phrase in as many languages as possible, then pass the kind words on to friends and family. As for the print, who wouldn’t want a gift that reminds them how great they are day in and day out - in upwards of 80 languages? Pass on the positivity and spread the love.
Designed for the most popular tourist destinations in the world, these handy little pocket guides are a gift for both the traveler and the server. Restaurant staff find second-language dining experiences just as painful as you do, so opt for these helpful (and adorable!) guidebooks as stocking stuffers this year. With an A-Z list of the essential phrases and vocabulary you’ll need to navigate menus abroad, this is a perfect gift for the Europe-inclined.
With a tagline like ‘discover the world through food,’ you know we’re already interested. And with good reason: people are raving about this monthly subscription box that lets you sample the world without leaving your house - although you’ll likely be inspired to book your next trip ASAP. It’s the perfect go-to for the culture aficionado in your circle. Every two months, you receive a box from a new country, featuring 7 gourmet products curated by celebrity chefs. You’ll get the very best delicacies each country has to offer, produced by local artisans and small businesses. It doesn’t get any better than that.
Got a map that’s close to your heart? Whether it’s your hometown, your dream backpacking trip, or that vacation to Greece you’ll never forget, Mapiful has got you covered. Simply enter the location you want to map out and a beautiful print is already in the making. Customize it, make any changes, and within days you’ll have a personalized map delivered to your doorstep. This year, gift a map print to your significant other (where you met!), your best friend in college (map out the campus!), or even grandma (trips to her house were always your favorite).
Your wall art can double as travel inspiration with Bold Tuesday’s pretty and practical interactive world maps. Have map, will travel - choose from maps that allow you to peel off, color in, or word-search for the latest country you’ve visited. Fair warning: if you’re the competitive type, you’re about to go on a lot of awesome adventures.
Take them to get a library card!
Got a friend who (somehow) still hasn’t signed up for a library card? There’s no time like the present to get them a library card present. This holiday, make a day of showing your friend or family member the wonders of the local public library. Take them to a monthly event, host a movie marathon featuring library-rented movies, or start a book club in their honor. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.
With so many options for great language and culture gifts, you might be feeling inspired to up your language-learning game in the new year. Now’s the perfect time to check out findmango.com and start learning a new language at a library near you. Or, brush up on your culture learning with one of our free specialty courses, and dive deep into unique world interests like Chinese Zodiac or Spanish Legal.
From our family to yours, happy holidays!
Curated by: Milica Petranović