Holiday Shopping List: The Best Educational Gifts For A Lifelong Learner

Saikat Basu 06-12-2013

As a young student, you probably would have grabbed the “gift” of a homework-free day. But as one grows up, it’s impossible to argue with the best gift all – the gift of learning. With that great gift, comes a responsibility for our own self-development. We must continue to learn.


The holidays are just the right time to encourage someone who is doing just that. Do you know someone who is studious, loves learning new things, takes time out to learn a new skill, or is huge on personal development? That person is the easiest to shop for.

A little gesture, but a gift that spurs better learning could go a long way in expressing support, and of course, love. Here are ten ideas for the lifelong learner in your life.


Tablets as gifts

Need I say more? The tablet computer has revolutionized the world, and it is on its way to transforming education. Some educational gift lists still have the backpack as an item. I say, a good tablet could very soon erase it. We have gone into the arguments of owning tablets for education Tablets for Education: Study Tool Or Touchscreen Distraction? When the computer arrived in homes many parents wondered; is this just a toy, or a tool for education? My mother decided that it was the latter, and while she was wrong (it’s both!), the... Read More before. The learning riches it could deliver to the palm of your hand makes that argument a non-starter. You can go for a Google Nexus 7 ($228) or the 7.9 inch iPad Mini ($329 for the basic 16 GB Wi-Fi-only edition). Personally, I prefer the new iPad Mini with Retina Display over the pricier and 9.7 inch iPad Air because it is more manageable.

The Stylus



What can you gift a person who has everything – especially a couple of tablets lying around? You can bet that he doesn’t have a stylus yet. Yaara took you through a stylus showdown Stylus Showdown: Back To School Review and Giveaway It's Back-To-School month, and all through the month you've had chances to win great back-to-school items such as the ASUS VivoBook X202E touchscreen laptop, the Timbuk2 Power Q laptop backpack and a custom-made budget gaming... Read More a few months back. The JustMobile AluPen ($18.95) came up on the honor roll and I wouldn’t argue with the assessment. I personally like the Adonit Jot Pro Fine Point Stylus ($30) as well.

Gift Cards – iTunes, Google Play, & Amazon

Gift cards

If it’s an iPad, it can be filled up with pickings of the best educational apps. Let the apple fall on someone’s head with an iTunes Gift Card.

Google can’t be far behind! Make someone happy with Google Play Gift Cards. There’s a lot to pick from — books, songs, movies, apps, and more from the Google Play store. Redeem on the Web or Android devices.


Redeemable Amazon Gift Cards make for ease and impact. Then there are some with which you can cover hobbies like photography; like with The Ultimate Digital Camera Online Photography Course Gift Card ($75).

Wolfram Alpha Gift Subscription

Wolfram Alpha Gift Subscription

Wolfram Alpha is the ideal gift for someone who like facts and figures. The computational engine might rank high on the geek scale, but you can put Wolfram Alpha to use 10 Surprising Things You Didn't Know Wolfram Alpha Could Do I continue to be amazed by Wolfram Alpha and the way it crunches numbers around openly available data. The result – it shows us the world in a far more inter-connected and interesting way. It... Read More for every day stuff too. The best value Wolfram Alpha Pro Subscription gift ($49.50 /year) opens up interesting possibilities for a learner. Remember, the Pro subscription has richer and more dynamic tools like the Problem Generator Learning Math Just Got Easier With The Problem Generator From Wolfram Alpha Wolfram Alpha has turned its computational power into a solution for one of learning’s most “nightmarish” problems, learning mathematics. The Wolfram Problem Generator helps students solve practice problems with ease. Read More , allowing for deeper learning.

Udemy Gift Cards

Udemy Gift Cards


Buy an entire course as a gift for someone! My friend Ryan wrote an excellent article on how to turn your knowledge into money Knowledge To Bank: How To Make Money On The Web By Teaching What You Know These days, with declining job markets in different industries, there are a lot of people looking to change jobs, and sometimes changing a job means learning a whole new skill set. If you are a... Read More through the simple act of teaching online. Udemy is one of the platforms for the purpose. The MOOC service is where expert instructors teach a variety of courses. You can upgrade someone’s life with an Udemy Gift Card. Each Udemy course displays a little “Gift” icon you can click to send a specific course to your desired recipient. Read the support article for a brief overview of the process.

The Gift of Languages

Learning languages

Learning a new language is usually on top of many a bucket list. Make someone happy with a gift that not only helps them learn a new language but also widens their travel horizons. Learning a language can be done for free, but with so many online options available, giving someone the gift of a new language is dead easy. Here are two to pick from:

Pick from the subscription options on Babbel. Plans start from $12.95 per month.


Unlock the Gold Key with a $99.95 annual subscription at LiveMocha which allows anyone to learn any language with the full complement of tools available on the site.

Personalized Bookmarks

Personalized Bookmarks

Etsy is a great place to hunt for unique and personalized gifts. No learner or book lover will ever say no to a bookmark. Handcrafted or manufactured, vintage or modern, you will be spoilt for choice here. I took a liking to the FatCatLeather ($14) handmade with the Celtic touch.

Notes on Evernote


Every learner needs to keep notes How to Use Evernote: The Unofficial Manual Learning how to use Evernote on your own takes a long time. This is why we've put together this guide to show you how to take full advantage of the most important Evernote features. Read More . Even the Evernote free version is a “premium” web service. When gifting the use of the service to someone, you can do with some paid-for premium-ness. The Evernote Premium 1-Year Gift Subscription ($45) is more value for a lifelong learner than money can buy. The 1 GB monthly space allowance should be more than enough to begin with the goodies on offer on the Premium edition.

Evernote does say that they have restricted the number of Gift codes to one per month (per account) because of fraudulent purchases. Make it count.

Chalkboard Mug Write Your Own Message

Chalkboard Mug

The Chalkboard Mug Write Your Own Message ($25) comes in a set of two and you can write your own easy-wipe messages or ideas down when the caffeine kicks in. Of course, what’s a cup without a coffee maker. Consider the Black & Decker single-serve coffee maker ($16.20) that comes with a travel mug.

Starbucks Card

Starbucks and Coffee

A visit to the nearest Starbucks makes for a nice break to catch some sun and kinship. A topped up Starbucks card ($15-$100) is a year-round gift that’s always appreciated by anyone. The one that says Merry Christmas should be perfect.

Give Us Your Ideas!

Gift inspiration doesn’t end here with this short list. I have left out a few oldies but goodies, like the timeless gift of books. Find out what your friend or relative is trying to learn. Check out a book recommendation service and gift them the right book. Then again, if the person you are gifting to is closer to home, then the most precious gift you can give him or her, is – time. Time to pursue their learning passions.

Do these ten gift ideas rank high on the Christmas happiness quotient? It goes without saying that we would need more recommendations from you to make a truly comprehensive list. That’s what the comment space is for. Give us your ideas and happy shopping!

Image Credit: Young woman using a digital tablet, Coffee & Laptop computer

Related topics: Buying Tips, Christmas.

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  1. Bob
    December 7, 2013 at 9:57 am

    Another good one for languages is free and paid flavours available

    • Saikat B
      December 7, 2013 at 3:06 pm

      That's a good one. We did a review earlier on Busuu [//]

  2. Elijah S
    December 7, 2013 at 8:03 am

    You missed a good one. For the creative types, a monthly/yearly subscription to would be a must.

    • Saikat B
      December 7, 2013 at 3:05 pm

      There were quite a few choices, but yes, is always excellent. Thanks for the recommendation.