5 Cultures With Unique Gift Giving Experiences

Everyone likes to receive gifts.  Why wouldn’t you?  When you receive a gift, how does it make you feel?  You may feel excitement, appreciated or happiness, to name a few.  You may also feel that the person gave you the gift cares about you, or at the very least was thinking about you.  Another thought that you might have is that the person wants you to feel good or have some sort of positive emotion or reaction because of the gift.  That is, if you are in the United States.

A mastermind friend and I were talking about gift giving and she brought up how she was in Japan and learned how gift giving is a big part of their culture. In fact, many different cultures have different definitions for gift giving etiquette.

The experience of gift giving in Japan was very fascinating to me so I decided to some research to find out other interesting facets for gift giving etiquette in other cultures.  While every culture has its own etiquette for gift giving, I thought it would be fun to point on some of the interesting gift giving traditions in a few different cultures.

Here’s what my research discovered:


Let’s start with Japan. What I found most interesting about the Japanese culture was they are big on the presentation of the gift.  Which means that the wrapping of the gift is as important as the gift itself.

Italy (because I’m Italian 🙂 )

At an early age, Italians are taught to put thought into the gift and to take into consideration the receiver’s tastes as well as their interests.  As for the packaging, never wrap a gift in purple or black as purple represents death and black, mourning.


As a part of Scotland’s business gift giving custom, giving a small memento with a company logo on it will show appreciation to the person receiving the item.


In Morocco, gift givers like to get to know the person they give a gift to, so they normally wait until after the first time they meet someone to give them a gift. Then, when a gift is given, it is best to stay away from gifts that are the colors pink, yellow or violet as they represent death.


An expensive gift in Thailand can make the receiver feel uncomfortable so small and inexpensive gifts are appreciated more.  At the same time since three is a lucky number in Thailand giving gifts in groups of three make a good impression.

Overall, while the gift giving experience in different cultures is pretty similar, there are slight differences in how each culture practices gift giving to make each culture unique. It is important to pay attention to the slight differences to make sure you are applying the appropriate custom for a certain culture in order to make sure they are picking up on the appropriate experience you are looking to give.

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