The holidays are often associated with gift-giving. As someone striving for a more minimalist lifestyle, things (not necessarily gifts) are something that I’ve thought a lot about.
Each year, my parents ask what I’d like to have, and it’s given me the opportunity to think a lot about the things that I either really need or that won’t become clutter once the initial excitement wears off.
One thing is certain – I don’t need or want any more material possessions.
If you’d like less stuff weighing you down or distracting you from the things that matter most – like language study, but you still need gift suggestions to give your friends or family, you might find this list of minimalist language learning gifts useful.
Or, if you’re looking for an excellent gift to give your language loving friend, this list might include exactly what you’re looking for.
1. Experiences, Not Stuff
Experiences are the perfect gift for the minimalist language learner. They don’t take up space, they definitely don’t already own it, and they add value to your life. A few ideas for experiences that you can ask for include:
* A cooking class so that you can learn to make a dish from the area that speaks your language
* A fancy or not-so-fancy meal out (bonus points if this is at a restaurant where your language is spoken)
* A day tour of some sort if you have a trip coming up – depending on where you’re going, these can be incredibly affordable
* A calligraphy course, a painting class, or whatever else you may be interested in learning
* Tickets to a food fair or festival
* Tickets to a Kpop concert (or whatever in-their-language music event is in town)
2. Consumable Gifts
Are you studying Korean? Ask for a fun foodbox like Snack Fever so that you can try out snacks from the area. Or maybe you’re learning French? In that case, there’s Bon Appetit Box. JapanCrate is an option for Japanese learners. And Try the World is a great opportunity to try foods from different countries each month.
But it doesn’t need to be an entire subscription box. You can also ask for individual items like the Korean Honey Butter chips, Japanese Ramune, a bottle of Italian wine, or a box of Swiss chocolates.
3. The Chance to Sponsor Someone from a Country that Speaks Your Language
There are tons of organizations out there that aim to make an impact. If you don’t want anything for Christmas, then why not give to someone who needs something?
One of my favorites is Kiva. You can ask your friends and family to donate to the organization on your behalf, or ask for a Kiva gift so you can choose who you loan to. The money goes to people who are looking to start a business, go to school, or feed their families interest free.
What’s one thing you can count on almost any language learner appreciating immensely? Free lessons. Ask family members for an iTalki gift card, or perhaps credit towards whichever other tutoring site you prefer – Lingoci, Lingoda, Baselang, Hanbridge or eChineseLearning.
Perhaps you are in need of a new iPod to enjoy all those podcasts you listen to, or a Kindle so that you can carry your language books with you. Maybe your notebook is pretty tattered and getting a new one would spark a little more joy when you take your notes. Take a look at the materials you’re currently using to study a language. Could you benefit from upgrading any of them?
Do you love Memrise but haven’t yet made the jump to the Premium account? Or maybe you love watching videos on YouTube, but would love to skip the ads with a paid membership. Have you used up all your free LingQ credits, but just haven’t been able to buy in to a paid account? There are so many fantastic language learning apps out there and a one year or even three or six month membership could be the perfect gift.
As a minimalist, money gives you the freedom to decide where and what you need to invest in when you’re ready to do it. It’s a great strategy if you can’t decide what you need before the gift-buying deadline set by friends and family.
8. An Online Language Course
It’s possible that a cooking or painting class aren’t your thing – even if they teach a style from the country that speaks your language. Perhaps you’d prefer a language related course like Language Learning Accelerator, the Add1Challenge, Benny Lewis’ Conversation Countdown, or Lindsay Dow’s Successful Self Study.
There are a wide variety of fantastic language courses online and many of them would make excellent gifts.
Sometimes the best gift a friend or family member could give us is their time. As a new mom, my parents babysitting is a much appreciated gift – especially because it gives me the chance to catchup on my language studies (and gives Little Linguist time with family). I also love lunches or coffee dates with my friends.
10. A Gift Certificate for a Chore That Takes Time to Do or that You Hate Doing
Not enough time in the evenings to study? Ask your significant other for a certificate for them to take over cooking tasks for a week. Maybe it’s the weekend you’d like more study time. When my brother and I were still living at home, he would often gift me car wash certificates. It was a great gift because it saved me the time doing it (I hated having to do it) and saved him money.
Or, if you’d rather not ask your friends to take on your chores or cooking, ask them to gift you a visit from a house cleaning service or mobile pet groomer or credit for Yelp24/Uber Eats to skip making dinner a night or two.
Can you think of any other gifts to add to this list?
Let me know in the comments!