The countdown to Christmas is underway
Undoubtedly, this is one of the most exciting and eagerly awaited times of the year, but as you probably know, getting everything ready for this year’s Christmas season can also be stressful. Finding the right gift for every friend, colleague, or relative can be especially challenging, as well as time consuming. The good news is that there are plenty of great gift ideas that can make language learners happy this Christmas. If you are in need of some inspiration, take a look at our list of suggestions below.
A Christmas gift does not need to be expensive or extravagant: what really matters is the thought. A small but thoughtful gift is more than enough to show your appreciation for your loved ones, especially if the gift you choose is also practical. And what could be more practical than a fridge magnet? Fridge magnets are more than just souvenirs, as they can also be used as language learning tools. Of course, we are not talking about the average fridge magnet here. You can now easily shop online for fridge magnets in a foreign language. These come in magnetic metal tins and contain re-usable word tiles in the language of your choice.
Foreign Language Calendars
Foreign language calendars are another great gift for language lovers. The principle behind them is the same that applies to fridge magnets: language learning is best achieved through exposure and repetition. Foreign language calendars now feature inspirational quotes, idioms, interesting facts about a language or a culture, and more. These calendars can also be purchased online, or even better, you can design your own and have it printed for a truly personalised Christmas gift.
Language Learning Apps
This is the ultimate Christmas gift for language learners who also happen to love their mobile gadgets. While it is true that there are hundreds (if not thousands) of free language learning apps out there, their best and most useful features are only unlocked when you pay for their premium service. So how about making the language learner in your life happy with one of these apps? There are plenty of options to choose from, as you can now choose among bilingual and monolingual dictionaries, flashcards and vocabulary builders, pronunciation guides, thematic tutorials, phrasebooks, etc. A language learning app is as practical and convenient as Christmas gifts go!
Fluent in Three Months
Fluent in 3 months … how’s that for a New Year resolution? But “Fluent in 3 Months” is also a best-seller that has already helped over 100,000 language learners make real progress and achieve their goals. The book has been written by a successful language learner and polyglot and is packed with useful tips and suggestions on how to learn a language – in fact, any language! What makes this book different from others is that it focusses on “learning to learn” and on building up your confidence levels when tackling the challenging task of learning a new language.
Grammar, Spelling, and Punctuation Made Easy and Fun
As much as the majority of language learners dislike them, grammar, spelling, and punctuation are essential aspects of every language. However, this doesn’t mean that learning how to write in a foreign language has to be boring. Books like “My Grammar and I (Or Should That Be ‘Me’?): Old-School Ways to Sharpen Your English” or “Eats, Shoots and Leaves – The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation” are perfect for English language learners (and for native speakers too!). These books are packed with funny and memorable anecdotes, practical examples, and hilarious comments that will help you understand why, when, and how to use the correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation.
Newspaper or Magazine Subscriptions
If you are looking for a Christmas gift that is perfectly suited to intermediate or advanced language learners, why not get them a subscription to their favourite magazine? From Hello to Vogue, the most popular magazines have foreign language versions in the world’s major languages. Thanks to their strong visual component, foreign language magazines can go a long way helping learners improve their vocabulary in a pleasant and enjoyable manner. You can also help advanced language learners boost their reading skills with a subscription to a major newspaper, say Le Figaro for those learning French, El Pais for Spanish learners, or Der Spiegel for those learning German. There are many others available, but a quick Google search will help you find the right choice for every learner.
Subtitled movies are often touted as one of the most effective and entertaining methods of picking up a new language, as the type of interactions and conversations featured in films are often a reflection of everyday language – the language that you can rarely learn from books. Thanks to the growing presence of online retailers, it is now easy to find and buy fantastic movie collections featuring the best of foreign cinema.
Food is one of the most important elements of every culture. Behind every local dish there is often a bunch of history and traditions that have been preserved for centuries, and getting to know the ins and outs of the typical gastronomy of a country is a great way of understanding better the local language and culture. If you really want to treat language learners to a special experience, why not book them into a cooking course delivered in the language they are learning? Many language schools in France, Spain, Italy, and other countries can arrange weekend cooking lessons in popular destinations. For example, you can learn to make your own pasta from scratch in Rome or prepare a delicious paella in Barcelona. This gift is an authentic treat to the senses that will be appreciated by all language learners!
Language Study Stays Abroad
Cultural immersion remains one of the most effective ways of learning a language. Of course, we can’t all move abroad, but short language study stays may be an option. You can always look into intensive language courses abroad, as it is easy to find a course that lasts for as little as 2 weeks. And although the summer is a popular time of the year to learn a foreign language abroad, Christmas could also be ideal, especially if you can arrange a homestay that will give learners valuable insights into other cultures.
Online Language Courses
Can’t afford a language course abroad? Then how about booking your favourite language learner into an online language course? These courses have come a long way since they were first developed, as they now focus on every practical and theoretical aspect of language acquisition, including reading comprehension, listening and oral skills, fluency, pronunciation, etc. Online language tuition combines all the advantages of face-to-face courses along with the convenience of taking language lessons when it suits you and where it suits you. Moreover, courses are delivered by qualified language instructors and the content can be easily personalised to suit the needs and learning style of every student. It just doesn’t get any better than that!
In addition to running interactive virtual classrooms, leading online course providers (take Lingoda as an example) have gone a step further and have created online communities of motivated learners who support each other through their language learning experience. If you are looking for a valuable Christmas gift, you needn’t look any further.