Gift Giving Etiquette around the World
Everyone around the world just loves to receive a hamper in the post, whether it’s for birthdays, Christmas or just because.
But, in case you didn’t know, there are different gift etiquette rules around the world, so in order for you to ensure your gift is well received, here are the guidelines you should be following:
In China it’s considered proper etiquette for gifts to be exchanged during times of celebration and as a thankyou for help or guidance.
However, perhaps unlike Britain it is improper to give gifts without a good reason or a witness. In fact, in China it’s not uncommon for you to be asked exactly what you would like as a gift, eliminating all aspects of surprise.
So, if you would like to conform to the Chinese culture, you should ask for things such as tea or ink paintings… and never cash.
Meanwhile, if you’re considering sending a hamper to a business associate you should be aware that it’s considered rude if the gift isn’t reciprocated.
Being frugal with your gifts doesn’t go down too well either, as you’re likely to be known as the “iron rooster”, so be sure to spend your money wisely.
There’s no doubt about it that gift giving is at the heart of Japanese business etiquette, for example, if you’ve just been on holiday, it’s considered rude if you don’t bring back a small gift for the office for everyone to enjoy.
Be aware that in Japan, the giving of expensive gifts is extremely common however, all gifts should be given to individuals in private and not in front of an audience, as that is considered rude.
Meanwhile, the correct etiquette is to give and receive gifts with both hands, as this demonstrates respect and gratefulness, so be sure to keep this in mind. You should also remember to refuse the gift at least once or twice before accepting to highlight your good manners.
The Japanese are also a little superstitious when it comes to the number of gifts; giving of four or nine of anything is considered bad luck and therefore it’s recommended that you always give in pairs.
Here gifts should only be given and received by and for the most intimate of friends and as a result, doesn’t take place in the business environment and all gifts should be of the highest quality, with no expense spared.
If you’re thinking of giving a gift to man, you should steer clear of gold and silk as they won’t be accepted however, silver is absolutely fine.
To demonstrate your manners in this culture, you should give and receive gifts with your right hand and open them the minute you receive them.
French etiquette isn’t a great deal different to the UK however, it is considered impolite if you don’t give a thankyou gift whenever you are invited to someone’s house.
While in Britain a bottle of wine goes down a treat, in France, the more appropriate present would be flowers, sweets or something personalised.
While you are unlikely to ever give a slab of meat as a gift to anyone, it’s important to steer clear of cows as they are a sacred animal in India.
Also remember that a large proportion of Indians don’t drink alcohol, so purchasing a hamper full of wine is probably not the best idea.
However, manners are at the forefront of Indian culture, so whatever gift you give will be graciously received, whether it will be used or not.
The most important thing you should be aware of when it comes to giving gifts in Italy is that flowers aren’t well received…at all.
This is largely because flowers are only used during funerals and therefore considered bad luck, so to avoid any awkwardness, you should gift a nice bottle of red instead!
If you’re visiting Turkey and are going to someone’s house to eat, it’s important to keep in mind that the only gifts you need to bring along is appreciation for their food and goats milk.
The Turkish will not stop eating until their guest does and therefore it’s considered terrible manners not to finish what’s put on your plate, so go with an empty stomach!
You may also notice that weddings are huge in Turkey and so it’s tradition to buy the bride golden coins worth around £100 to pin on her wedding dress.
Now that you’re aware of exactly how to give your gifts to countries around the world, there’s nothing stopping you from sending over a beautiful hamper for your friends and business associates to enjoy.
How to Save Time on Christmas Shopping this Year
Christmas time is one of the most exciting, yet also, one of the busiest periods of the year.
From last minute deadlines to a calendar bursting at the seams with social events, finding the time to buy your loved one’s Christmas gifts can be somewhat of a chore!
Thankfully there are a number of top tips available when it comes to saving time on Christmas gift shopping.
1. Be a savvy shopper
Instead of leaving the Christmas shop until the very last minute – and by that we mean Christmas Eve – be a savvy shopper and buy your gifts in advance.
Asides from ensuring you have presents wrapped and labelled before the tree is even up, this is a great way to avoid a massive splurge. Create a check list of all those you intend to buy for and aim to purchase one gift every couple of weeks in the run up to Christmas.
Follow this tip and you’ll find you’ll have a lot longer to search for that suit or dress for your upcoming work party.
2. Shop online
The World Wide Web is an asset to all Christmas shoppers.
Instead of fighting traffic and queues, simply grab yourself a hot drink and take to your laptop.
From clothing to impressively festive flowers including Christmas cactuses and poinsettias, to jewellery, state-of-the-art technology and hampers, there is something to suit each and every one of your friends and family.
The best part about shopping online is that you don’t have to leave the house at all, and goods will be delivered to your door, often with personalised gift-wrap. You can even shop on the move using your mobile phone, a laptop or a tablet.
Another benefit to shopping on the Internet is the choice available – if certain items are sold out in your local town; you’re guaranteed to find them online and often at a better price. You’ll also avoid the hassle of the post office, as online gifts can be sent to anywhere you please.
If you have an aunty in Outer Mongolia or an uncle in the Outback, it’s now easier than ever to show them you’re thinking of them.
A number of online stores will even offer special festive discounts and free postage.
3. Be organised
Organisation is key when it comes to saving time on Christmas gift shopping, especially if you have a busy working schedule to attend too.
Instead of leaving everything until the last minute and panic buying, create a list. If you’re super organised, you may even wish to create a spreadsheet.
This list should feature all those you intend to buy for, along with a budget and a variety of gift ideas (you never know what will sell out at this time of year).
Print it out and pop it in your purse and you’ll suddenly find shopping for gifts a great deal easier.
4. Ask your friends to give you a Christmas wish list
More often than not, we will spend hours searching for the perfect gift for that special someone without actually knowing what they really want.
Asking family and friends to write a Christmas list will help you to overcome this, it will also make Christmas shopping a lot less time consuming.
If you still want it to be a surprise, get them to pop a few ideas down and this way, they’ll never guess which one you’re going to choose.
5. Make your own gifts
If you live a fair few miles from the high street, you may wish to consider making your own gifts.
One easy, yet impressive, gift idea is a Christmas hamper. Each hamper can be tailored to the person you intend to give it too. Simply order a basket and a variety of food, floral, beauty or drinks goods (all of which can be purchased online) and fill it to the brim. Secure with cellophane wrap, a bow and some glitter for a festive feel.
Everyone loves a hamper at Christmas time and by making your own, you’ll be able to create an extremely personalised gift, and one that you can master in your own time, as opposed to taking a day off work to hit the shops.