Gift Giving Traditions Around The World

  • by HeSona

Gift-giving is an important social interaction to express congratulations, gratitude, sympathy, and friendship with each other. Due to the influence and taboo of social, cultural, and religious differences around the world, gift-giving has become a complex etiquette.

If used improperly, it can hinder business cooperation. Understanding gift-giving traditions around the world is essential for choosing the right gift when to give it, and for the recipient to respond appropriately.


We, therefore, want to share with you a quick guide to gift-giving around the world.

Gift Giving Customs in Asian Countries


China is a country with a large tradition of etiquette, and there is a custom of giving gifts during festivals.

When Chinese people give gifts, most of them pay attention to the fact that good things come in pairs. Gifts are usually given in double numbers, except for "4", which has a homonym for "death", and it is very unlucky to celebrate the new year.

A red gift package during the Chinese New Year always has a beautiful meaning of prosperity.


Chinese people also often pay attention not to give clocks and watches to the elderly, and not to give pears to couples or lovers, because "send a bell" and "send the end", and "pear" and "li" are homophonic, which is unlucky.


In Japan,  giving a gift should be very careful.  An appropriate gift is meant to express the giver's sincere and indescribable friendliness, gratitude, and respect.  If you visit a Japanese friend, you need to prepare a present in advance.


It is normal for the Japanese to pass on a present to others when they receive a not practical gift.

In Japanese weddings, money is often given as a gift, in which the bills’ numbers are always odd numbers, as it is believed that the couple might part ways if the amount of money is evenly divided by two.

On the birth of children in Japan, gifts are distributed by the new parents among their friends and family to commemorate the happy occasion.

The Japanese are very disgusted with things decorated with foxes and badgers. They think the fox is a symbol of greed ,and the badger represents cunning.

Gifts should be nicely wrapped; presentation is as important as content.

3.South Korea

Korean businessmen often give local handicrafts to their first-time visitors. They have to wait for the guests to bring out gifts first, and then give them home-made gifts in return.


It is extremely rude to give or receive a gift using only one hand, especially if it is the left hand.

Korean New Year's greeting cards or gifts are never a predominantly red color, as it is used for announcing funerals. Also, avoid gifts that come in sets of four as they symbolize death in Korea.

Gift Giving Customs in in European and American countries

European countries generally exchange gifts only after the relationship between the two parties is established.

Giving gifts is usually at the end of the communication, and it should be expressed in an appropriate way.

High-end chocolates and a bottle of particularly good wine are also good gifts in Europe.

Before you pay a visit, you should send the flower to the host in advance. It will be great to send an odd number of flowers, and attach a handwritten business card at the same time, do not use a business card.


Try to avoid showing your emotions here. Therefore, a lighter gift should be given, so that it will not be mistaken for a bribe because it costs little.

The appropriate time to give a gift should be in the evening, after inviting someone to dinner in a fine restaurant or after watching a play in the theater.


Britons also like high-end chocolates, famous wines, and flowers like most other Europeans.

Most of them don't appreciate gifts decorated with the company logo of the guests unless the host has thought carefully about such gifts in advance.


It is inappropriate to give a gift when you meet a French for the first time, and you should wait until the next time you meet. Gifts should express admiration for his wisdom without being overly intimate.


The French are very romantic and like intellectual and artistic gifts, such as pictures, art albums, or small handicrafts.

When you are invited to a French home for dinner, you should bring a few unbound fresh flowers. But chrysanthemums cannot be given casually. In France, chrysanthemums are only used at funerals.


"Politeness is the most important thing", so it is necessary to pay attention to whether the gift is appropriate or not, and the gift packaging must be perfect.


Roses are for lovers, never for customers. Germans like to be invited for outings, but the host must make careful and thoughtful arrangements before departure.

If the dinner party is held at the hostess' home, it is common to send her flowers. However, there are three taboos that must be remembered:

1) Red roses symbolize the person you like;

2) An even number of flowers means bad luck, and the same is true for 13 flowers;

3) Do not bandage before presenting flowers.

When visiting Germans, it will be very popular to bring a gift that reflects the characteristics of your homeland! You can also bring some small gifts to the host’s children.


Probably the most common way to express gratitude is through evening entertainment.

If you want to send a gift, don't give something too intimate, such as a tie and shirt. If a Greek invites you to their home, it is appropriate to send flowers or cakes to the hostess.



When you are invited to an Italy family for dinner, it is enough to bring a few bouquets of flowers or a box of chocolates for the hostess, of course, it would be thoughtful to send flowers the next day. Yellow roses mean "jealousy". In Italy, people never send chrysanthemums because it implies death.



Australia is known for its friendliness, informality, and candor, so it's a good idea to bring a business notepad, paperweight, or coffee mug to a business meeting.


At a trade show, gifting a T-shirt, tie, baseball cap, or even a pin is the perfect souvenir. It would be embarrassing to give gifts more expensive than these things.

10.The United States

In the United States, it is not feasible to give expensive gifts. A more suitable gift is to bring friends to dinner or participate in entertainment and sports activities.


Americans are very practical, so a bottle of fine wine or spirits, an elegant designer gift, and a night out on the town are all appropriate. As in other European countries, gifts to Americans should be at the end of the relationship.

Gift-giving customs in Latin American countries

Black and purple are taboo colors, which are reminiscent of Lent. Swords should be excluded as gifts since they signal the end of a friendship.

A handkerchief cannot be used as a gift either, as it is associated with tears. Some small household appliances can be sent, such as a small toaster oven. In Latin American countries, highly taxed items are extremely popular, as long as they are not luxury items.

And that concludes Jiawei-world’s Guide of the most unusual gift-giving traditions from around the world.


The different cultures of gifting all over the world have major differences because of the wide range of beliefs and cultural associations attached to them.

We hope you’ve been educated and inspired by this post, and use this new knowledge to give the right presents to your friends from other cultures, whether its giving them the perfect experience gift and a long-lasting memory, or just a handwritten card.

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