Gifts
What's the best gift you've ever received? Do you like to give expensive gifts? How often do you buy gifts for other people? Have you ever given handmade gifts to others? Have you ever received a gift you didn't like?
Vocabulary
  • To save someone's bacon/neck (idiom) - to help someone avoid getting into trouble.
  • To hold out (phrasal verb) - if something holds out, it continues to be useful or enough.
  • To fall to pieces (idiom) - if someone falls or goes to pieces, that person becomes unable to think clearly and control their emotions because of something unpleasant or difficult that they have experienced.
  • Cost of living (noun) - the amount of money that a person needs to live.
  • Cheap (adj.) - unwilling to spend money.
  • Meaningless (adj.) - having no meaning.
  • Explicit (adj.) - clear and exact.
  • Sentiment (noun) - a thought, opinion, or idea based on a feeling about a situation, or a way of thinking about something.
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Questions and Answers
M: What's the best gift you've ever received?

R: I can't choose between my phone and my laptop, really. Mostly because they both saved my bacon during the pandemic. Although if I had to make a choice, then probably my laptop, my phone could maybe have held out a little bit longer. But the laptop, the old laptop was falling to pieces. So this new one that I got was pretty essential for this period of time, even though we weren't preparing for it.

M: Do you like to give expensive gifts?

R: No, not really. And I don't really like getting them. I don't think the amount of money that you spend on a gift makes it more valuable or less valuable for the person getting it, it should surely be more about the connection between you and the other person. Also, there is a cost of living crisis in this country. And I'm very cheap.

M: How often do you buy gifts for other people?

R: Not as often as you might think, to be honest with you. I just do my close friends and family at Christmas and birthdays. And that's about it, really. Sometimes not even then because I don't believe in filling people's lives with meaningless stuff just because. Usually, there has to be an explicit purpose behind it. My close friends and family know that I love them though. I just don't express this with gifts.

M: Have you ever given handmade gifts to others?

R: Not since I was at school, I think. Oh, we used to make things for our parents all the time then. Aside from that, I can't really recall. Sorry.

M: Have you ever received a gift to didn't like constantly?

R: Constantly. Which is why I don't like getting gifts from people that aren't close to me. I think the most recent example is somebody got me a bottle of sparkling wine for my birthday. And I really appreciate the sentiment behind that, however, there is no way that I'm drinking something that isn't either champagne or bourbon because those are the only things that I, well, drink and can drink, really.

M: Thank you, Rory!
Discussion
M: First of all, to give gifts or, well, we give gifts, we get gifts. He gave me a present dear listener, okay? So I got this present from him. And also I got this for my birthday or on my birthday.

R: Well, it depends. If we're talking about the reason why something happened, then I got this for my birthday, but if it's when it happened, then I got this on my birthday.

M: Okay, so if for example, you give me this on my birthday, so the sixth of May is my birthday. So you give this to me on the sixth of May. And I said I got it on my birthday. Yeah?

R: Yeah. If someone asks where did you get it?

M: But I also can say like, okay, I got it on the first of March. I got it on the third of March.

R: Yes.

M: On the third of March. Okay. But it's a present for my birthday. It's a present for Christmas. It's a present for the Eighth of March. Yeah?

R: For the Eighth of March? Oh, for the Women's Day. Right, yes.

M: And we spend money on presents. Okay, people? On presents. Spend something on an expensive gift or present. Rory was very boring with his first answer.

R: Oh, thank you!

M: Okay, the best gift you've ever got. And Rory you said like, phone, laptop. But come on, like can't you say like, oh, once I got a helicopter, or I got a trip to Cuba? Or you can say I got a car or a flat or once I got a cottage for my birthday. Like a cottage. Oh, come on, dear listener, it doesn't matter, but just be unique, you know? Just have fun.

R: You do not have to be unique. You have to have high-level grammar and vocabulary for a high score. And I still think there were some pretty good grammar and vocabulary. Shall we focus on the grammar and vocabulary?

M: Yes, go ahead.

R: Fine.

M: They both saved my bacon.

R: So, if your bacon is saved, it just means it's like a way of saying they saved my life or they saved the day or they improved the situation when something happened. So here, they saved my bacon in the pandemic.

M: I got a phone for my birthday, and it saved my bacon.

R: It was a Christmas present, actually.
M: It was a Christmas present. And it saved my bacon. And then dear listener, Rory has used the third conditional. Wow! The third conditional in speaking part one. The third conditional, we talk about the past, we imagine things. They did happen. So if and then in the past. So Rory told us about this time, he got these presents in the past. So I think my phone would have held longer if I had needed it.

R: You're so close, my phone would have held out longer, which just means it would have lasted longer and not fallen apart.

M: Ooh... So if I had needed it. It. In the past. Finished. Okay? But Rory didn't need his phone. If I had needed it, it would have lasted longer, or it would have held out longer. Okay? But it didn't. If it's difficult for you, forget about it. Because usually, we don't use the third conditional in speaking part one.

R: No, no. If it's difficult for you then think of your own sentence and send it to me on Instagram or write it in the comments and I will correct it for you. And then you will have one ready, there we go.

M: Rory doesn't like feeling people's lives with meaningless stuff. Meaningless stuff? Stuff that doesn't have any meeting.

R: For example, you get like, I'm trying to think, I've purged my life of all of the stuff that doesn't mean anything. I think one time somebody got me a shotglass for my birthday, which is very nice. But it wasn't from anywhere. It was just a shot glass. And I was like, thank you for this, I don't take shots. So I don't know what I'm supposed to do with this.

M: And we say fill people's lives. So if you buy meaningless stuff, stuff people don't need, you fill their lives with meaningless stuff. You can also say I don't do birthdays. I don't do birthdays like I don't celebrate birthdays. I give presents only to close family. So my parents, my brothers, my sisters, like close family. Handmade gifts. Handmade. You make them with your hands. And you say you make gifts? Yeah? You make presents.

R: Yes. And you can do that. I honestly couldn't remember the last time that I did it, to be honest with you.

M: And here Rory said, I used to make gifts at school. Or we used to make things for our parents. So we used to, but not anymore. And then I honestly can't recall. I can't recall. I can't remember. And it's okay if you can't remember, just say it. Well, honestly, I can't recall doing it. I can't recall doing it in the past. Constantly, like all the time. Constantly is a good synonym for like all the time. Very often. And we usually get gifts we don't like from people who are not our close family or people who aren't close to me. Oh, so funny about sparkling wine. What did you do with it?

R: I... I've regifted it. Which is a terrible thing to say. But you know, I don't know what else I was supposed to do. Because I'm not going to drink it. If you regift, then you give the gift to somebody else. But I can't drink it. It was such a strange thing to get me because anybody who knows me well knows that I only drink two things these days. And that's it. Even people who watch this podcast will know that it's like champagne or bourbon. And that's it. So where this sparkling wine came from, I have no idea. It's nice though. And I did say a very good phrase. I appreciated the sentiment, which is I appreciate the idea behind it. You know, obviously, this person wanted to celebrate my birthday. And so this is what they did. And that is a good thing. But the gift itself was not appropriate for me. But these are two separate things so you can like one without liking the other.
M: And, dear listener, Rory said he drinks two things. Champagne and bourbon. So no water, no tea. Just two things. Scotland freedom.

R: If we're talking about alcohol, then yes, but if we're talking in general, I have my water. I have my water next to me, so it's okay.

M: And you say I'm cheap. Yeah, I'm cheap drinking my water from porcelain glasses. I'm so cheap,

R: Well, it was clearly a joke because I have this crystal glass next to me.

M: Oh, crystal. Sorry. Yeah, crystal glass.

R: Oh my god.

M: Show us your crystal glass, Rory, come on.

R: It's a bit cloudy right now because it had energy drinks in it but there you go, that's my crystal glass.

M: I'm cheap. Yeah, surely I'm cheap. Just golden diamonds. I'm so cheap. Ha-ha-ha.

R: The crystal glass is older than I am. So it was in the family already.

M: Yeah, yeah, yeah, sure. In the family, in the castle, I'm cheap. In my castle with ghosts. Expensive gifts or expensive presents. And Rory told us this idea that... What's your idea about the value of the gift and the value of a person?

R: Well, some people think that you should get someone something expensive to show the more it costs, the greater your love for them, or the more they mean to you. But I don't think that's true, I don't think that money value is the same as the value of the person or the relationship. It's more about if you give someone something that's useful for them. Like if somebody bought me a book, for example, about a subject that I'm interested in, even if it only costs like three pounds or something, then that's good. That's like, that's got a lot of value to it. Whereas if somebody spent. Oh, I don't know, what, 100 pounds on a bottle of sparkling wine, then that would have no value to me at all.

M: So, the amount of money we spent on a gift, okay? Not the number of money, the amount of money we spend on something. And then we can say that the amount of money doesn't equate, is not equal to the value of the person. Okay? We as people have values. Value. We value a lot. And we can also say a present reinforces the relationship. So kind of a present helps us to build up the relationship with other people. And kind of boosts the relationship. Presents reinforce the relationship. And, dear listener, you can say that memories are the best gift. So I give memories to other people.

R: That just reminds me of something I said to a friend once. Is it me? Am I the gift?

M: Yeah, I'm the gift. Come on. Like what's your problem?

R: And extremely modest about it, too.

M: Thank you for listening! And remember, it's all about presence, not presents. Presence, you know? I'm present here for you. So it's about presence, being present, not present. Bye!

R: Bye!
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Access our exclusive episodes on IELTS Speaking parts 2 and 3!
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