My absolutely favorite gift is a nifty little book called Point It. The book is the simplest kind of brilliance. It's a teensy paperback containing thousands of pictures of everyday things and concepts. If you find yourself abroad and stuck in a moment of language incomprehension, just whip out your little book, find the picture, and point.
Honestly, it's perfect. Look at the 2-page spread below. It contains at least 50 different things you might want, solely in the breakfast category. Seriously, almost any critical item or concept can be pointed to in Point It. Pick up a copy or order online from my favorite all-purpose travel store, Flight 001.
Happy pointing. It's better than Berlitz.