Skip to main content


“Gift Giving”



Pre-Listening Question

  1. How do you usually approach gift-giving? Do you find it easy or challenging?
  2. What factors do you think are important to consider when choosing a gift for someone?
  3. Do you agree with Emily’s statement that understanding the person you’re giving a gift to is the most important part? Why or why not?
  4. In what situations do you think it’s appropriate or inappropriate to give a gift to a boss?
  5. How do you usually choose gifts for family members? Do you tailor them to their interests or preferences?
  6. Do you think handmade gifts hold more sentimental value than store-bought ones? Why or why not?
  7. What are your thoughts on giving practical gifts, like socks, versus more personalized ones?
  8. How do cultural or societal norms influence gift-giving practices in different contexts?

Vocabulary and Expressions

Here are some words and expressions that appear in the video:

appreciate (verb): to value or be grateful for something
– I appreciate the effort you put into making this gift for me.

circumstances (noun): the conditions or factors affecting a situation
– Depending on the circumstances, I might choose a different gift for my boss.

tricky (adjective): difficult to deal with or understand
– Finding the right gift for my sister can be tricky because she’s so picky.

tailor (verb): to customize or adjust something to fit specific needs or preferences
– I like to tailor my gifts to each person’s interests to make them more meaningful.

mishap (noun): a minor mistake or accident
– Last year, I had a mishap with the gift wrapping and accidentally tore the paper.

Listening Comprehension Questions

Now, watch the interview and answer the comprehension questions. You can also turn on the automatically-generated captions for the video once you start it.


Randall: In this video, Emily, let us talk about gift ideas. And I am sometimes, well, I don’t know what to get people in different situations. And what should I give? What shouldn’t I give? And let’s talk about this. This situation of giving something to a boss. If you do a coworker, a sibling, or a parent.

Emily: I think the most important part of giving a gift is understanding the person you’re giving a gift to. For example, giving liver paté to my dad as a gift option would probably be a bit terrible option.

Randall: Terrible, terrible option.

Emily: But he does appreciate something that’s been handmade or something that relates to his role as a father or a grandparent.

Randall: What about a boss? These are kind of some tricky situations. Would you give something to a boss? Yes or no?

Emily: I think it would really depend on the circumstances. How big is the company? How closely are you familiar with your boss? Things like that.

Randall: Okay, what about a sibling?

Emily: Yeah, you should probably give your siblings gifts for birthdays or Christmas. And then again, it’s just really getting to know them for my brother, he usually likes to get things for his dog, so I tend to get him dog things.

Randall: Okay, what about a parent?

Emily: So personally, I really like to give my parents something that they’re going to actually enjoy, which they seem to like handmade things or . . . 

Randall: Pair of socks?

Emily: No handmade things. For example. My dad always asks for peace, love, and understanding. And so one day I made him a board that said peace, love, and understanding. And that was his Christmas gift.

Randall: Uh. It’s wonderful. Still is on my wall in the bedroom. Well, thank you, Emily, for sharing some of those thoughts. As you mentioned, it often depends on the relationship, uh, the time of year, what the event is, and it can be a tricky situation, but something to consider.

Post-Listening Activity

Create a Gift-Giving Guide: In small groups, ask students to create a comprehensive gift-giving guide for different occasions and relationships. Provide them with templates or guidelines to structure their guides, including sections for various recipient categories (e.g., family, friends, coworkers) and different events (e.g., birthdays, holidays, special occasions). Encourage students to incorporate the advice and insights from the interview, such as the importance of understanding the recipient’s preferences and selecting thoughtful, personalized gifts. After completing their guides, have groups present their recommendations to the class, discussing the rationale behind their gift choices and any additional tips they’ve included.

Related Language Activities on Randall’s Web Site

The following activities deal with related topics to give you additional language practice.

Try More Free Listening at