Chinese Gift Exchange Customs for Family and Friend

Do (Know)
  • " Red and pink are the best colors for gifts in Asian culture.
  • " The most common gifts you can get are a home appliance such as a TV, DVD, or kitchen stuff.
  • " The best gift is a book or an illustrated book.
  • " For Chinese children, action figures are the best gifts.
  • " Foods and vitamins can be excellent gifts.
  • " In China, you can treat money as a formal gift.
  • " Gifts should be given in pairs or groups of eight, because these numbers are lucky.
  • " Do use both hands when accepting and giving a gift.
  • " The Chinese people will refuse to accept the gift for the first couple of offers.
  • " The color to stay away from for gifts is white.
  • " Flowers should not be given away carelessly. The Chinese people only give flowers when there is a funeral.
  • " Don't give an Anti-Communist book. It's just common sense.
  • " Don't give gifts in packs of four. The word "Four" rhymes with death.
  • " Don't expect the Chinese people to open their gift in front of their guests.
  • " Anything considered to be a weapon or sharp object is not a very good choice for a gift.
  • " Clocks and shoes are not to be given because they rhythm with the word "Funeral."
Importance of color...

If you are same as I am, then buying a gift is already a problem. But when buying gifts for Chinese people, it is more complicated. It is very important to keep in mind who you're buying for because buying gifts for business partners is different from buying gifts for your family and friends.

That is the reason why I will divide the gift section into three small sections: one part for business and the others for family. In this section, I will start with gifts for family and friends.

I will start with color. The only rule you need to know that if you can stay as close to the colors of pink and red, then you will be fine and Chinese people will love you for it. In Chinese culture, these colors mean luck and happiness.

Sometimes when you are arriving at a banquet, you will see the senior people will wear tradition clothes with a touch of red on their shirt, which means they are happy to be a part of the event and also happy that you are here.

Beijing walkway

The color you need to stay away from is white. In Chinese culture, white is considered to be the color for funerals. If you ever get invited to a person's home, please never bring white flowers. Better yet, stay away from flowers altogether. Sometimes you can get away with flowers when the family is modernized and not traditional. Please, keep that thought in mind.

The trick to remember is to think about Jet Li's movies. If you ever watch all the movies that Jet Li made in China, commonly he will wear white in the last battle. That's right. No mercy.

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Raphita Tobing