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ART & LEISURE: The Art of Gift Giving in China
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The Art of Gift Giving in China
By Demi Guo

sumber foto google.com 1 编辑中国的送礼艺术


Gift giving is a significant part of Chinese culture, especially during traditional holidays. Chinese people put a lot of thought into finding a perfect gift for that special someone, whether it is family, friends, or their romantic interest.

tea ceremony red envelopesChinese Gift Giving Etiquette

Value of the gift is not the most important factor. “千里送鹅毛, 礼轻情意重 - qiān lǐ sòng é máo, lǐ qīng qíng yì zhòng”. This is a famous saying in Chinese, which plays majorly into gift giving. Regardless of the price or size, the thought is what counts the most.

Be polite when bestowing the gift, so as to avoid any indication of trying to draw attention to the cost of the gift. Using both hands when handing a gift to its recipient shows your full sincerity, and you must always do it in person. Mailing gifts is less appreciated in traditional culture.

gift iStock 000018117668LargeAvoid common taboos

- Do not send a gift related to the number “4”, because “4” sounds like the word for “death" in Chinese.

- Black and white colours are usually used in funerals, so don’t choose these for your boxes or wrapping paper; red being the colour of luck would be a better choice.

- Clocks are bad! Similar to the number 4, they are a symbol of bad luck and/or death in China!

- Never gift green hats, as they are a symbol of an unfaithful wife.

When picking gifts for different people, the basic principle is that a gift is best suited to the needs of the recipients. Check our gift advice below for inspirational ideas!

For Clients

When picking gifts for clients try to find something that aligns with their preferences as closely as possible. A high-grade wine or self-brewed liquor would be suitable for those clients who like to drink alcohol.

Many business executives drink tea for its rejuvenating properties, which can help combat a stressful life, so picking out the perfect tea for them would be a really great gift choice.

For female clients, often skin care or beauty products are among the top choices that come to mind, even though they are not as culturally relevant.

Good health and good fortune 3233557417For Family

Traditional holidays, like the Spring Festival, usually are the times during which families can finally come together after a long year. Chinese often want to express how much they care for one another through the gifts they choose for each other.

You can choose high-quality clothes that are appropriate for the colder early spring weather. For example, in China winters can be extremely hard, so high-quality down jackets or thermal clothing are very thoughtful gifts, and are warmly accepted.

The oldest gift in China….Money!!! Lucky money in red envelopes is quite possibly the best gift, if you want to stick to Chinese culture when gifting a person. It is a good gift choice for various occasions. The colour of luck and the power of money brought together in this practical, yet thoughtful gift can be used to give to elders who are no longer able to earn much themselves and also to young people who haven't started working yet. Remember to avoid any unlucky numbers….“4”, and always choose RED!

hongbao redpacketFor Significant other’s Family

A carefully picked gift can help leave a good impression on your significant other’s family! Check the gift recommendations below and don’t forget to share a good amount of time with them during the visit.

Caring for your significant other’s family’s health and well being is deep rooted in Chinese culture, making health care products such as massage chairs, facial masks and hand lotion great gift ideas!

Gold means wealth in Chinese culture, and often when picking a gift for your significant other’s family, you want to show them that you are financially well off, making gold a perfect gift, if you are in the financial situation to afford a gift such as this.

Final Thoughts

The world of gift giving in China is very profound, and may be very different to what you are used to when the holidays come around in your home country. The do’s and don’ts, and sorting out between the taboos and appropriate items may be challenging for some, but will pay off when done correctly. I hope you enjoyed learning a little about the art of gift giving in China!

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