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Say It Right Series

What are proper gifts for Chinese?

Posted by bluehorizon June 11, 2007 in the Group General Discussion.

Everyone has had the experience of giving a gift. A proper gift can promote communication and express good wishes, and sometimes it may also bring about unexpected positive results. But, an improper gift may not only fail to convey good wishes, but may even result in embarrassment or misunderstanding. The art of gift-giving calls for more attention, especially in contacts with friends from different countries.


Then, what is the proper way to give gifts to the Chinese?Pay attention to what you should say when giving a gift. In China, people may sometimes say modestly such expressions as “yidiɑn’er xinyi”, or “yidian’er xiaoyisi eryi” (a token of good regard) when giving the gift.Choose different gifts for different people.The best gifts for teachers and older friends are those with commemoratory meaning. For the old people, you’d better choose something very practical. As for the children, the best gifts will be something that can develop their intelligence resources.Understand the customs and taboos.Sometimes in the presence of the gift-giver the Chinese do not open the gift immediately; they wait until gift-giver leaves. People behave this way to show their respect for the gift-giver; it does not mean that they do not like the gift.There is a saying in China: Good things come in pairs. Therefore, on happy occasions such as the Spring Festival and weddings, it is advisable to send gifts in even numbers.In China the color white sometimes symbolizes grief. Black sometimes is ominous as well; the color red represents happiness and good fortune.

A clock is not a proper gift for the elderly because “song zhong”(送钟 giving a clock as a gift ) has the same pronunciation as “song zhong”(送终 taking care of a dying old person and burying him ) and has something to do with death, and hence it is also inauspicious.



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