Chinese Gift Giving Must Follow Tips & Taboos

The Chinese always pay attention to choose the gifts which have practical values. In the West, it is polite to open gifts as soon as they are given to express appreciation. However, in China, the situation is quite the reverse. Many people send gifts without wrapping them, and if they wrap them, they usually tell the receiver what is inside, and the receiver will thank the sender and put the gift aside without unwrapping them since they already know what is inside. Normally the Chinese feel that if you open the gift as soon as it is given, you might embarrass the person who gives the gift and you might be thought greedy. So, Chinese people tend to open the gifts after the visitors have left.

Here are some useful hints on giving gift to the Chinese:

1. In general, gifts are given at Chinese New Year, weddings, births and more recently, birthdays. 

2. The Chinese like food, and a nice food basket will make a great gift.

3. Do not give scissors, knives or other cutting utensils as they indicate the severing of the relationship. 

4. Do not give clocks, handkerchiefs or straw sandals as they are associated with funerals and death.

5. Do not give flowers, as many Chinese associate these with funerals. 

6. Do not wrap gifts in white, blue or black paper. 

7. Four is an unlucky number so do not give four of anything. Eight is the luckiest number, so giving eight of something brings luck to the recipient. 

6. Always present gifts with two hands. 

7. Gifts are not opened when received. 

8. Gifts may be refused three times before they are accepted.

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