Culture & Technology

Gift Shopping Around the World


As pleasant as gift shopping can be, one thing is for certain. It can be tricky to find a suitable present for your international friends, colleagues or business partners. Some nations tend to exchange gifts only during birthdays and holidays, while others do so in other situations, as well. In addition, there are cultures in which colors and gift’s wrapping are just as important as the gift itself.


gift shopping a pile of colorful christmas gifts wrapped in different paper with ribbons


You want to make sure exchanging gifts will be a joyful experience for everyone involved? Or maybe you are just curious to learn what presents people give themselves in different countries? Whatever the case might be, you are in the right place. Let’s delve deeper into the world of gift shopping.


shopping in saudi arabia woman in a black burka holding colorful paper bags with gifts




If you are heading for a business meeting in Yemen, you do not have to go to any gift store. In fact, it would be very embarrassing to give a gift unless you are a part of someone’s closest circle. If you still need to give a present, make sure you choose something of high quality.


italian dinner for Christmas people around the table eating snacks and drinking wine



If you want to make an Italian feel great, make sure you add a personal touch to your gift gifting. Instead of just browsing for expensive gift items online, put thought and consideration into your gift. Italians value networking and relationships a lot. Therefore, it would always make a good impression if you bring a gift that you created yourself (i.e. homemade pastry).

In other words, even if you buy a present, go to a handmade gift shop instead of a gift centre. What is more, never wrap a gift in purple because Italians believe this color is unlucky.


person opening a champagne bottle on a table as christmas gift



Whenever you visit someone in France, it is always appropriate to bring champagne, fine chocolates or flowers. Nevertheless, do not give carnations, red roses or chrysanthemums because they symbolize bad luck, romance and death respectively.


man and woman dressed in traditional colorful zimbabwean clothes dancing in public



Did you know that Zimbabwean people expect you to bring a gift even if they haven’t requested it? Therefore, do not make the mistake to refuse an offering just because you assume that the giver is poor. Also, instead of saying “Thank you”, people in Zimbabwe like to dance, whistle or jump up and down.


Japanese gift set with mochi and sweet brown beans and sakura flowers



In Japan, as well as East Asian countries like Taiwan, China and South Korea, it is not uncommon for people to initially refusing a gift. Otherwise, the receiver may seem impatient and greedy. So, in addition to putting thought into your gift shopping, insist until the receiver accepts the gift. Also, make sure that you also refuse other people’s gifts once, twice or even three times.


an asian woman in blue kimono holding a colorful red gift



Chinese people also place a lot of importance on connections and respect. One option is to go to a little gift shop and pick up a regional-specific gift. You can also give cigars and wine to your business partners, but make sure you focus on premium brands. Note: never give green hats or clocks as gifts because Chinese people associate them with unfaithfulness or death.

russian traditions two women outside in traditional russian clothes



If you want to express your gratitude for the hospitality of your Russian host, do not send a “Thank you” card, but a small gift.


A stack of wrapped christmas gifts with red ribbons and pine cones surrounded by decorations


It is not a coincidence that receiving gifts is one of the 5 love languages. Yet, to receive or offer gifts without causing offence, research what gift shopping customs you need to be aware of.


Most Popular

To Top