Properly giving gifts must be learned. If the wrong item is given as a gift, this can easily be misunderstood. The context and the related rituals differ from some western customs. Chinese modern culture is still influenced by ancient Confucianism. Based on the main Confucian principles rituals, relationships and respect giving gifts serves to maintain harmony in society. And we all want harmony, don’t we?
Giving the right gift is an important factor when building relationships in China. But what should be considered when giving gifts in China? What are the Do’s and Dont’s? – The answer lies in the Chinese language.
As giving a clock and attending a funeral have the same pronunciation in Chinese, giving clocks as gifts can signal that someone’s life is coming to an end. Moreover, a pretty umbrella indicates separation from your loved ones. These are not the only mistakes you can make; here are more examples to avoid:
One thing is for sure, bringing a gift from your home country is always a
good idea. Giving souvenirs, chocolate, liquor, books, specialties from
your home country are appropriate ways to show your good intentions.
However, they should not be too expensive, at least not when they come
from strangers. This is embarrassing to the host.
To spare the guest embarrassments packed gifts are not unpacked in front of everyone. So there is no need to pretend joy, if the gift is not suitable. But pay attention – if the host does not thank you with enthusiasm the next day, you probably picked the wrong gift. When handing over the gift, do not forget to use both hands and don’t be surprised, if the receiver declines the gift several times as a sign of modesty.
I hope you are ready now to come to China and spread some harmony!