A present for every occasion – Gifting customs around the World
December 14, 2022

A present for every occasion – Gifting customs around the World

With the arrival of Holiday season, the race to get that perfect gift begins. Gifting is a very important custom followed around the world and is a way to express our love and gratitude for our family, friends and associates. But many times, gifts can either make or break relationships. Here is a small guide on what to gift when you have friends or business acquaintances all over the world.


The people of China give very high importance to etiquette and culture. Never leave the gift in your shopping bag. The colour of the wrapping paper is very important and symbolizes different occasions. Use Red ribbons for thank you gifts, silver and gold for weddings and black and white for funerals. One should avoid giving clocks as gifts as they are associated with death. Acceptable gifts for a company include items from your country or city, such as handicrafts, or an illustrated book.


Majority of the Indians are Hindus (~80%) and do not appreciate liquor as a present. While most people wouldn’t bring a slab of meat as a gift, it is also important not to serve meat if you invite Indian dinner guests until and unless you are sure that they are non-vegetarians (do not serve or gift beef items – “Cow” is considered holy for Hindus). Don’t wrap gifts in black or white, which are considered unlucky colours. Instead, use green, red, and yellow, since they are considered lucky colours.



Japan is a country which values traditions and respect. It is very important to know the proper way to act so as not to unknowingly insult a Japanese colleague or a friend. Always present gifts with both hands. It is customary to comment that the gift you are presenting is “tsumaranai mon” [Here is something for you]. This statement conveys that the relationship is more important than this trivial item. Wrapping paper is very important in formal situations. Always remember to wrap the present, even if it is something small. When receiving a gift wrapped present, it is impolite to open it immediately. It is very important to be humble while gifting or receiving presents. Humility is considered very important in Japanese culture.

United Arab Emirates:

Gifting can constitute to a greater concern in the UAE than in most other countries because virtually everything can be purchased here less expensively. Another issue is a mixture of nationalities. There are however few general protocols which can come in handy. Any gift must be best affordable. If you are buying a carpet, then make sure that it is hand made. While gifting jewellery, make sure that it is authentic and properly hallmarked. People in UAE appreciate and love receiving perfumes as gifts. Men should gift perfumes to men only and women only to women or any other close relative. Before giving any scent, use it first and consider giving it only to those who admire or like your taste.

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