We all have that person on our list that is impossible to shop for — 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 languages you can barely pronounce or regularly cooks ethnic cuisine that would make Bobby Flay retire his apron? Even if they aren't language and culture enthusiasts, there are awesome gifts out there for all of your worldly friends, family members, and colleagues. Consider your holiday shopping done.
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 annually stumped on what to get you. From vintage French flashcards to ultra-clever items for the literature-obsessed, here are our top picks:
Subscription to Try the World
With a tagline like ‘discover the world through food,’ you know we’re already interested. Give a loved one a taste of the world — without leaving the house. Every two months, some of the best delicacies and gourmet products — curated by celebrity chefs and produced by local artisans and small businesses around the world — will arrive at your loved one's doorstep.
Got a place 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 you covered. Bold Tuesday’s pretty and practical interactive world maps 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 incredible adventures.
Handmade in Chiapas, Mexico, these vibrant masks bring out your penchant for fashion that checks the boxes on both form and function. The beautiful and iconic embroidered floral designs are sure to be a (safely distanced) conversation starter!
Customized cuneiform tweet
For a gift that doubles as both a thoughtful gesture and a conversation starter, order your personalized clay tablet with the message of your choice (their favorite phrase, a particularly silly tweet, fond memory, etc.) translated into cuneiform.
Send words...on a potato
What better way to show off your language skills than written across a vegetable? This holiday season, skip the sweet potato pie and just send the potato — with a personal message! There’s a perfect potato for everyone on your holiday list this year, and for every potato sent, Potato Parcel donates a potato to local food banks. Added eco-friendly bonus: the recipient can choose to plant their potato to make more!
Foreign language books and magazine subscriptions
As the saying goes, books are uniquely portable magic. Gift your loved one the magic of a second-language book — new or used! Take a trip to your local book store and get lost in the foreign language section. You’ll likely leave with a gift for yourself, too!
When you’re learning a new language, nothing beats authentic content. Simultaneously informative and intriguing, gifting your friend a subscription to a publication is a great way to support their learning all year long. Pro tip: consider your friend’s hobbies and interests, and find a magazine that fits!
Animal sounds around the world
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. We’re putting Cat Sounds on our wish list — mjau.
Vintage foreign-language flashcards
For a language and culture lover, vintage finds are a sure score. Digging through estate sale treasure trunks and deep diving into Etsy always leads to fabulous finds. Everything from kitschy French-language flashcards to vintage Spanish math posters, you can give them something one-of-a-kind this year.
“You are beautiful” (in 81 languages)
It’s true — you are! And so are your loved ones, so let them know with this 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 positivity and spread the love on to friends and family.
Bonus: Language course subscription
With so many options for the world culture enthusiasts and eclectic souls on your list, gift them a subscription to learn one (or many!) new languages. Complete with cultural insights, interactive pronunciation tools, and personalized review cards, a subscription to Mango Languages is an excellent way to gift an increasingly in-demand skill proven to provide a list of other benefits.
Want to try it before you buy it? Willkómmen! Create a profile, download the app, and get started in any language for two weeks, absolutely free.
From our family to yours, happy holidays!
Curated by: Milica Petranović