841 Anja's Gifts

Anja talks about the gift giving traditions of her family during the holidays.


Fred: What do you do in Christmas with gifts? You know, I'm thinking about like how much money do you spend on gifts. When do you go shopping for them? Who do you give them to?

Anja: Oh, yeah, you know Fred, I think it depends on the person, right? But usually in Switzerland people like to give gifts that have, like, some personal meaning, you know? It doesn't really matter how much they cost, you know, maybe if you buy a really expensive present, you feel a little bit like, "Ah, this is too expensive," you know? So it's really nice to give maybe a picture in a frame or something like that. Mothers like that a lot.

Fred: Yeah, I think gifts to mothers are really important. So, how much money would you say you spend on your gifts in general for Christmas?

Anja: Oh, I'm sure it's maybe like 200 Swiss Francs. It's maybe like a 100 US dollars.

Fred: 100 US dollars.

Anja: Yes, but I really think it depends on the person, you know. But one thing that I really dislike about Christmas is the shopping, you know.

Fred: You dislike the shopping?

Anja: Yes. I love shopping, you know, but usually, but during Christmas I really don't like it because I always tell myself, I will start in November because no one will go shopping in November for Christmas presents.

Fred: I see.

Anja: But usually I end up going shopping on the 24th of December.

Fred: The 24th of December! That's a bit late, isn't it?

Anja: It is. That's why it's such a hassle. Yes, indeed. One thing that is interesting in Switzerland maybe is at one point you kind of, you don't receive presents anymore from your family members, like when you are a kid, you know.

Fred: Really, your grandparents and your parents don't give you gifts anymore.

Anja: Yeah, not really, you know, because you start being a grown-up, you know, and you know, it costs a lot of money. They bought you so much during your childhood, so maybe when you turn 18, 19, 20, they're like, "Ah, it's OK" you know. You don't expect a present anymore. That's one thing in Switzerland.

Learn Vocabulary from the lesson

personal meaning


Swiss people like to give gifts that have some personal meaning.

A gift that has 'personal meaning' has special meaning for the person we are giving it to.  Notice the following:

  1. He shopped for a gift with personal meaning.
  2. It had personal meaning for me.



You wouldn't want to buy a really expensive Christmas present.

A 'present' is exactly the same as a gift.  Notice the following:

  1. It was the perfect present.
  2. The office staff exchanged inexpensive Christmas presents.

in general


How much do you spend on gifts in general for Christmas?

When we talk about something 'in general', that means we don't discuss the details or specifics.  Notice the following:

  1. In general, it sounds like a good plan.
  2. I tend to agree in general.

end up


I always end up shopping on the 24th of December.

We use the phrase 'end up' to talk about a result of an action or inaction.  Notice the following:

  1. If you eat a lot of junk food, you'll end up fat.
  2. I always end up studying all night before a test.

such a hassle


It's such a hassle to go shopping that late.

Something that is a 'hassle' is really annoying, frustrating or difficult.  Notice the following:

  1. It's such a hassle to apply for a visa.
  2. I hate registering for classes. It's such a hassle.
Answer the following questions about the interview.

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Vocabulary Challenge

Complete the sentences with the words below.
meaning • present • in general
end up • a hassle
  1. We will probably going to his parents' house.
  2. Did you buy your sister a birthday yet?
  3. , he is a happy baby.
  4. My grandmother's watch has a very personal for me.
  5. It is really to go to the airport at that time of day.