The holiday season is upon us! It’s time to wind down and enjoy the vacation time ahead. But as well as the shorter days, the drop in temperature and the incessantly repetitive playlists in shops, you know what else is coming: The Shopping List. Are you scratching your head over what to buy for your language-learning friend? Before you panic buy the lavender soap hamper you saw at half price for the friend you know only has a shower, check out this list of gifts for language-learners that there’ll be sure to love (and better yet, use!).

1. Scrabble

A firm favourite at this time of year, how better to spend your evenings than arguing over whether your name counts as a word and whether you’ve always spelt it with a silent x and z that you’d not told anyone about? Scrabble is a classic for any linguistic lover, and it comes in 55 languages! Surprise someone with a game of scrabble in their target language and let the battle commence!

2. Stationery

Any student worth their salt will tell you, with studying comes a full waste-paper bin. Learning a language guarantees colour coordinated timetables, home-made flashcards, highlighted words, scribbles and crossings out. Your language-lover will need some nice notebooks, pens, post-its, the whole shebang. Treat them to a pretty stationery set this year (and keep an eye on the paper recycling bin).

3. Language lessons

What better gift for language learners can there be than language lessons? The hardest part is often parting with those bank details for something you’re not sure you’ll make use of. Give the gift of taking away the hard part: now all they need to do is learn the language!

4. Headphones

When learning a language, the winning trifecta is to be able to speak, listen to and read the target language successfully (although not necessarily in that order). You can bet this will work if the person in question is listening to that language through all available mediums. Podcasts, music, whatsapp calls with a tandem partner, it’s all there. But what’s a crucial tool to aid this learning practice? Good headphones! This way they can learn on the go (or stop annoying their roommates during cramped home office). 

5. Books

We’ve covered listening, next up is reading. You know that sense of achievement you feel as your eyes scan the last sentence of a book? That feeling is magnified by ten when it’s done in a new language. Have a look for editions of your friend’s or family member’s favourite books in the language they’re learning. Revisiting an old favourite book is always comforting, but even more so when a challenge is involved. 

6. eBook reader

If you’re feeling generous, or your gift-recipient’s home is full, why not give them a eBook reader? This has all the advantages of giving them a book they love in their target language with none of the limitations. Instead of having to choose the novel yourself, let them choose as many as they like! 

7. Poetry magnets 

Do you remember those word fridge magnets people used to have in their homes? The household ‘joker’ has always arranged them into an unfunny sentence that you had to acknowledge every time you asked for a drink from the kitchen. Well, they still sell them! Let your language-learning friend get creative while they have their morning coffee. Plus this time, if you don’t speak the language, you won’t have to fake laugh at their rubbish jokes.