A Comprehensive Guide to Gift Giving Around the World

Gift-giving can be a pleasant experience for the receiver but can create a lot of stress and anxiety for the giver. Choosing the perfect gift while respecting the emotions and feelings of the recipient can be difficult, especially if they’re from another country or culture.

Don’t worry if you have trouble finding the perfect gift for your loved ones or have no clue where to start. We’ve created a comprehensive guide which details all the gift-giving cultures around the globe.

The USA

Let’s start with the US. Gift-giving is a popular tradition among people here, especially at Christmas, Thanksgiving, and other special occasions such as Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. American gift-giving culture is very casual compared to other countries. However, there are some etiquettes that you need to keep in mind. The so-called gift-giving rules depend more on the relationship you have with the recipient, as gifts are mostly exchanged between close friends and family.

If you’re unsure about what to give, it is best to ask someone close to the recipient what they would like. Americans are generous when it comes to gift-giving. If you’re inviting someone to your house for the first time, then you may expect a gift from them as a token of their appreciation. Americans love cross-cultural gifts, so giving presents such as foreign chocolates or baked goods is popular.

Furthermore, Americans also love personalized gifts. They feel a lot closer to a gift-giver if they receive a custom present as they feel the giver has given a lot of thought in deciding on the gift on their special occasion. Gifts such as personalized canvas prints, engraved jewelry, or embossed watches are popular amongst Americans.

You should always wrap up your gift or put it in a paper bag. When you arrive, give the gift to the recipient when you greet them or look for a designated table for gifts where you can put yours. Don’t be surprised if they open the gift straight away as it is common for them to open it immediately, see what is in it, and thank the giver for the item.

However, you shouldn’t ask the recipient if they’d like a particular gift unless they’re your close friends or family. Asking for suggestions will give the impression that you need a gift in return. If you’re trying to figure out a gift, then ask questions about their hobbies and personal interests, which may indicate their liking.

If you’re thinking about giving an expensive gift to a person who is not your close friend or part of your immediate family, then you should need to reconsider. Americans don’t like receiving expensive gifts from anyone who isn’t close to them. Furthermore, they also spend amounts on gifts that they are comfortable with. Receivers appreciate the thought behind the gifts and not necessarily the amount spent.

Corporate gift-giving is also quite common in the country. However, you’ll need to check with regulatory authorities and your company protocol as there may be many rules in the exchange of gifts. As the country is becoming more and more multicultural, avoid giving Christmas gifts in the workplace as not everyone celebrates it. 

Common examples of appropriate corporate gifts can be tickets to an event, a meal to a fancy restaurant, food, and wine baskets, any items made by your company, personalized canvas art, notebooks, or stationery.

presents-table

Asia

You’ll find notable differences in gift-giving culture in Asia compared to the one in the US. In Japan, people offer and receive gifts with both hands. It’s part of their culture as it represents politeness and gratitude. Furthermore, you shouldn’t expect Japanese people to open their gifts straightaway as they wait until the giver is gone to open their present. As in the US, gifts should always be nicely wrapped as the Japanese place a lot of emphasis on presentation.

In China, you can expect to be refused a gift multiple times before your recipient finally accepts. Don’t be offended by their refusal, as this is their way of expressing modesty. They do appreciate gifts. Moreover, it is common for Chinese people to offer gifts to appreciate any favors they received from the recipient.

Unlike many other cultures, there may be an expectation that you need to give a gift in return if you’re a recipient. This notion is taught in Chinese culture from a very young age as they place great emphasis on the gift-giving and the returning favors done to them. Chinese people are superstitious as well, so don’t give any knives or scissors as it is associated with the breaking of relationships. Handkerchiefs are associated with crying on sad occasions. 

Furthermore, the way you present your gifts is also important in the gift-giving culture in Asia. Left hands are considered unclean; therefore giving gifts with your right hand is always preferred.

In India, it is common to give a gift if you’re invited for dinner by your friends or relatives. Normally, a box of chocolates or traditional sweets will do. Avoid wrapping gifts in colors such as black and white as they are considered unlucky. Instead, use vibrant colors to wrap your gifts. Furthermore, like many other Asian countries, gifts are not opened in the presence of the giver.

chocolate-box

West Asia and the Middle East is a whole other ball game. First, avoid giving alcohol and food-based gifts as people in most countries in the region are Muslim-majority ones and certain foods and drinks are prohibited in their religion.

Also, receiving gifts from anyone else apart from close friends and relatives is considered to be embarrassing. People who receive gifts expect them to be of the highest quality. So be mindful of choosing a gift for your best friend who belongs to this part of the world. Gifts are common during religious festivities though.

Australia

As with every other country, Australia also has a unique gift-giving culture. Australians are not known for their spontaneousness; however, they do give gifts regularly. Australian holidays are major gift-giving events in the country. The traditional Kris Kringle is also enthusiastically participated in—especially in corporate offices in the country.

Giving experiences as gifts is quite common in Australia. People prefer gift cards over traditional gifts, which they can use to buy the things they like. Furthermore, it is usual for Australians to bring a bottle of wine when invited to a summer barbeque. Australian men love their beers, and they’d love it as a gift no matter the occasion.

If alcohol is not your choice of present, you can give a classic tea and coffee basket referred to as a “gift hamper.” Easter is celebrated with great enthusiasm, and you’ll see a long line of people outside specialty chocolate stores to get their hands on easter bunnies and eggs on Easter Sunday.

When deciding upon a present, make sure it is eco-friendly as Australians emphasize the environment and their carbon footprint. Like Americans, people in Australia also love to experience different cultures, so a souvenir from a foreign country can be a good gift for them. As with other countries, the thought of the gift itself is more valuable than the cost of the gift.

the person receiving flowers from a florist

Africa

Africa is a continent with diverse cultures and customs. The gift-giving etiquettes are different in many countries located within the continent. In Egypt, which is primarily a Muslim country, you mustn’t give anything considered forbidden in the religion. Gifts are normally given in the country to celebrate momentous personal occasions such as college graduations and weddings.

Egyptians are known for relationship-building through gifts. So if you ever engage in business with an Egyptian, you can expect gifts throughout your business relationship.

Like other Asian countries, make sure you give the gift with your right hand in Ghana. Furthermore, like in Egypt, gifts are an important part of business relationships in Ghana. Businesses use gifts as a token of appreciation to their clients, vendors, and customers. Another unique thing about gift-giving in African countries is that you can give a mourning gift to people on sad occasions. Donations for funerals are common when a close colleague or family member passes away.

In South Africa, people are much more conservative in giving gifts compared to Americans. Gifts are commonly exchanged during the festive seasons, and they are more practical. People tend to wait for the giver to leave before opening their gifts.

Europe

You’ll find similarities in the gift-giving culture in Europe and other Western countries. In France, it is customary to bring something as a gift to the host when invited to a meal or party. Emphasis is placed on the quality and taste of edible products such as cheese and wine as the French prefer to receive high-quality edible products as gifts.

People in France also love to receive books and pieces of art as gifts. Furthermore, they also love personalization. So, the next time you choose a suitable gift for your French buddy, consider a custom canvas or an engraved keychain.

If you’re invited to someone’s home, then flowers and chocolates are good options to take along. Avoid chrysanthemums as they are mainly used for funerals, red roses as they are reserved for a romantic partner or best friends, and carnations that bring bad luck. Champagne is also a good option if you want to be in the good books of your French friend!

receiving a gift on Christmas.

In Russia, gifts depend on the type of relationship you have with the recipient and the occasion. Avoid giving expensive gifts, as they may be considered as bribes, especially in a corporate context. Another interesting fact is that you shouldn’t give flowers in even numbers as it is considered to bring bad luck and avoid yellow flowers commonly associated with funerals.

Like many Asian countries, people in Russia are hesitant to receive gifts from acquaintances and generally refuse to take them. If you’re bringing something for your Russian friend, try to downplay the occasion and say it is something for your family or the house.

rustic-canvas-engraved

There are certain taboos associated with gift-giving in Europe. For example, in Germany, it is considered as bad luck to give baby gifts before birth. So, you’d see that baby showers are less common in the country compared to other countries such as Australia. Furthermore, it is common to exchange gifts on certain religious occasions, such as Saint Nicholas Day.

Finding the perfect gift that respects the tradition and culture of the recipient and at the same time brings a smile to their faces can be a difficult task. However, always remember that it is the thought that counts in all cases, then the value of the gits. If you’re looking to go above and beyond to impress your partner or family members, always consider personalized gifts.

They are a great way to show your love and appreciation to your recipient, and it makes them feel highly valued. Furthermore, they will certainly be impressed by the thought and effort you’ve put in to get their gift, and it will create memories that will be etched in their hearts forever.

personalized-canvas-print

So, if you’ve decided to get a personalized gift, then check out the collection at Amour Prints. We have the best collection of custom wedding canvas prints, American flag canvas art, romantic canvas art, song lyrics art prints, custom music lyric canvas, and much more.

If you don’t know where to start, then give the answers to a couple of our questions and we will find the gift perfectly suited to your needs. Visit our website to find out more about our extensive collection of personalized canvas prints or contact us for more information.