Chinese Gift Etiquette, Gift Ideas and Taboos

It is important to know that gifts are a major part of the Chinese culture. For example, the Chinese would much rather reciprocate a gift with another gift than to send a ‘thank you’ card. When visiting someone in China, especially if you are a guest in their house, it is imperative that you bring a gift (whatever the monetary value) to show respect to the host.

In this article, you will learn about gifts, gift giving, and gift ideas that are appropriate in China, and which gifts are not appropriate (and should be avoided).

Gifts / Gift Etiquette in China

  • Bringing a gift for your friend, relative, business partner, or host is a good idea. Depending on the nature of your visit, your gift may vary. Gifts are an important way to build relationships in China.
  • Chinese are fond of items that are not accessible in China. For example, items that are hand-made, from your country, or both, are highly valued.
  • The Chinese do not usually open gifts when they receive them. You should not open a gift given to you unless they insist.
  • The Chinese will decline a gift two or three times (sometimes even more) before accepting. Do not give up on the first try, but be sensitive to genuine refusals.
  • A proper way to show appreciation for a gift is another gift in return, as opposed to thank you cards.

Chinese Gift Symbolism, Gift-Giving, Gift Advice, Taboos

    Help with Giving Gifts in China by Robert Thompson Chinese Travel Advice
  • Do not give knives, scissors as they symbolize breaking a relationship. Also avoid clocks, or anything in sets of four (four is an unlucky number as it sounds like “death”). Six, eight and nine are a lucky numbers.
  • For business relations, foreign cigarettes, cognac, fine whiskey, and quality wines are great gift ideas.
  • Insider Tip: If you know that your contact likes chocolate, consider bringing some high-end chocolate, as Chinese chocolate is waxy and lacks flavor. Anything you can get at a Western market or grocery story will suffice, but specialty chocolate will be sure to leave a lasting impression.
  • Chinese avoid giving each other clocks as gifts are because the phrase “give a clock as a gift” is “song zhong”, which in Chinese sounds like you are “wishing someone death.” This does not apply to watches, just clocks.
  • Never slice a pear in two and offer a half to someone (especially if you like them). This is symbolic of breaking up, because the phrase is “li kai”, which has the double meaning of “cut a pear” and “break up”.
  • Gifts of Love in China

  • If you love someone, you can buy them a belt. It means that you want to “hold them” forever! Watches and wallets are also good gifts for lovebirds. Traditional western “love” gifts (like chocolate and roses) are becoming more common.
  • Insider Tip: For the Mid-Autumn Festival, or “Zhong Qiu Jie”, (roughly falls in September) you should give a box of moon cake and give walnuts.
  • White Chrysanthemums should never be given as a gift.  They are used in funerals.  Avoid white flowers in general.

  • A flower arrangement is an acceptable gift, but never give white chrysanthemums, or any white flowers for that matter, as they are traditionally used for funerals.
  • Giving an apple basket is nice because apple, or “ping guo”, sounds like peace.
  • If someone has just moved into a new house, it would be appropriate to give a vase, or “hua ping”, as it also sounds like peace.
  • Insider Tip: If someone opens a store or starts a business, give the bamboo flower or “shui zhu” as a gift. By giving this gift, as represented by the many rings in the bamboo stem, you are wishing them continual growth and income.
  • Gifts can be wrapped or presented in a gift bag, but do not choose the color white. Red and gold are the best colors for gift paper, bags, or boxes.

111 thoughts on “Chinese Gift Etiquette, Gift Ideas and Taboos

  1. Found this excellent site tonight and have been reading articles for several hours now. :) Anyway, I just thought I’d ask you about something that’s been lingering in my mind for a rather short time;

    A Hong Kong-born guy friend (who’s spent half his life in Sweden) was at my house visiting a few days ago, and his parents had sent with him presents to me – from mom, a bottle of red wine, and from dad, a Chinese New Year’s cake. I really appreciate this, it’s indeed very sweet of them, but I am still a bit baffled – I’ve met his parents once, basically just said hi and then had dinner with them and the rest of the family – but not really spoken to them, because they all speak Cantonese and Mandarin, which I do not understand at all. Other than that, I spent most of the time with just my friend. What I wonder is, have I missed something here? XD FYI, his parents are divorced and are usually not in Sweden, but at the moment they’re here to visit their son. They don’t feel like the most traditional of families, at least not my friend. So, basically – why on earth did his parents give me gifts through him when it’s not even them coming over to visit? I’m just a tiny wee bit confused… but the whole thing does make me smile. :) (I’m also planning on bringing some home-made sweets/cakes when I visit him next time, stuff that he can share with his family – good idea?)

  2. Hi Robert.

    Firstly I would like to say thank you for an amazing and extremely informative site. Wow!!!

    I have accepted a teaching position in Dongying in the Shandong province and am really excited about my new challenges and experiences that lay ahead of me. I am due to fly out in about 2 weeks and was just wondering if you have any advice that you feel may be appropriate for an Englishmans first visit to this amazing Country.

    Many thanks

    Paul

  3. hi i’m just about to come back from a holiday after 2 weeks away from my boyfriend we are happy but i don’t know what kind of gift to give him to show how much i have missed him and love him hope you can help

  4. @Camilla – You know, this is just a nice gesture. Maybe it means that they want you two to get married. Who knows. Seeing as how it has been about three weeks since you posted, perhaps you can let us know what happened.

    @Paul – You’re welcome. Advice? Be direct. If someone cuts in front of you, tap them on the shoulder and say “Ni cha dui le!” Don’t isolate yourself from other ‘foreigners’ — be friendly, and start up conversations, go to dinner, make contacts. This will come in handy down the road. Don’t get upset with spontaneity. Don’t try to change Chinese manners or habits. Sample all the cuisines, from pig brain to fried bees, and master chop sticks (the right way). Never pass on a dish with the excuse that you are dieting — this is rude, and Chinese people know what’s up… Be courteous. Never sit first. Never take the first bite at the table, and eat slowly. Do accept the fruit when you are a guest at someone’s house (you’ll know what I’m talking about). Do not meet girls at the club. Do try to speak as much Chinese as you can, and learn Chinese as fast as you can. Do not get mad at the way Chinese people drive, or specifically, about the way they merge. Bring a camera and a laptop, but don’t complain about the internet speed, or how Wikipedia is blocked. Go to KTVs (karaoke). Don’t be shy, sing a few. Get used to dense cigarette smoke. Read about dining, don’t split the bill, and try to pay it in advance without anyone noticing. Be modest. Don’t talk politics, Tian An Men, Mao, 9/11 — just have fun. Avoid any comparisons in general, especially “China vs. [insert country here]” — everyone does it, so don’t. Bring ear plugs. Don’t get mad at ‘lao wai’ or ‘wai guo ren’ — it’s not bad, not a label, not discrimination, just what folks do in China. Take it in stride. Bottled water is fine, tap is not. Conserve water, and watch your wallet and cell phone. And, if at any time you become overwhelmed, just come back here and tell me what’s going on, and I’ll hook you up with the answer.

    @Ian – Way too vague. Are you in China? Bring him some tea.

  5. Robert, Just stumbled onto your blog — awesome! My husband and I are going to China in April (on a 23 day guided tour) and we will be visiting some private homes and a couple of schools. You (and others) have given me great gift ideas! Thanks! You mentioned Whole Foods … we have one here. What do you suggest I purchase there? (that’s light and easy to pack!) Thanks!

  6. Hello again,

    Well, seems like it was just a nice gesture. ;D I brought some home-made cakes to him when a visited him a few days ago, but since his parents are off travelling again, they can’t taste it. Boo. Anyway – definitely no plans of marriage. XD Seems like he had mentioned to his parents that I liked sweet stuff, and they were kind enough to give him cake and wine to bring to me. Simply a matter of kind parents, it seems. :D

  7. Hi,
    This is a great site. Thanks for sharing all this helpful information. I am going on a study tour and need some ideas for gifts for schools. Someone suggested books or tea and food but I am not sure. I hope you still check this site and any suggestions will be a big big help. Thank you so much!

  8. Hello all! Some good info on here! I’m staying in Shenzhen in guangdong with a family for approx 3 weeks coming up quite soon. I have arranged it with a chinese boy who goes to a boarding school near me who my tutor put me in contact with. We are simmilar ages (im 19 he’s 18). Will be visiting a school where i will be doing a little bit of work experience. Was wondering what gifts to get him, his parents and possibly the school too? Is it customary to buy the parents a combined gift or seperate gifts? I come from the lake district in Cumbria, England. Some beautiful scenery around here. Would a piece of local artwork be a good idea? How about some of our local dark rum? Think that would go down well? I don’t know the lad im travelling with very well so not sure what to get him or whether i should get him anything at all. Maybe take him out for a drink or a meal when we get there or something?? What do you think? Thanks, Tom

  9. I am meeting Shen Xue & Zhao Hungbo who are figure skaters touring here in America. Since they probably have not been home in a few months, I wanted to get them a small gift that will remind them of home. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!

  10. I have just been to Yunnan and bought a lovely pair of silver chopsticks for a single friend of mine. I am worried now, is it considered bad etiquette to give just one pair?

  11. Hi. I’m considering a framed mirror/painting combination featuring a university scene as a gift to the parents of a soon-to-graduate student at an American university. The parents are traveling from Beijing. Is there anything about the mirror (or anything else, for that matter) that should give me pause? Thank you for your interesting and helpful blog!

  12. Hello,

    I am looking for a gift for a friend from school, she is a transfer student from China. I understand that second-hand gifts are bad form, but are valuable, collectible books acceptable? Of course, the book is from the 1800’s, so it is used, but it is in excellent condition.

    Thank you,

    Shane

  13. Sorry, it’s been a while. We are busy moving our offices to.. Downtown San Francisco!

    Okay, so I’ll try to do this one by one.

    @AnnaM – bring small gifts (not tea, English books are good though), read the rest of the blog for more ideas.

    @Tom VM – Even though the event has passed, that’s the spirit! Local artwork, or local buys from England. Man I love England, I spent about three months there and got to visit Jamiroquai’s 80-acre ranch and Peter Gabrial’s Real World Studios in Bath. Oh and play a bunch of shows at the Royal Albert Hall. Anyway, good going.

    @Rosemary – Again, there are probably a bunch of useful things above and around the Complete China Guide.

    @Deborah – Not bad form to give one pair of chopsticks, but while this gift seems cool to us, perhaps there is something else you could get them. (Chopsticks, even silver ones, are abundant in China.)

    @Charles – Re: Framed/Mirror painting – Not really sure, but I asked the Knower of All things Chinese, and she doesn’t think so. But that might be heavy had hard to transport. Just saying.

    @Shane – Not at all, this is a great gift. It’s a piece of history. I believe the second-hand gift that was given before were a few rusty bikes — what you are doing is in a different category.

  14. I’m so glad that this site is still up and running! Thanks so much for all of your previous advice. It’s really helped me.

    I met someone at school. He doesn’t speak much English and has lived in China most of his life. He was very nice to me and we’re acquainted but not friends. My friend is Chinese and she said that giving a small gift is a way of showing my friendship with him. I was thinking of a Chinese CD and a few other things (I’ll use the good numbers etc.) are there any suggestions?

    Thanks in advance

  15. Delancey,

    This is difficult — are you two in China now? How old is he? Are you both in school in America? If so, how long has he been the US?

  16. We’re in America. We’re both in school together. He’s…16. And he’s been here for at least a year.

  17. It’s fine really. Thank you though. I’ll just go with my instincts then. I’m sure even if I do mess up it wont be too bad since he talked to me out of a room full of people and we didn’t know each other. Thanks again!

  18. (I hope the above didn’t sound conceited. Its just he’s a nice person but he’s shy and it just makes me feel like maybe I have something going since he talked to me lol. Have a great day!)

  19. Hi Robert,

    Interesting site! I learned a lot. I just arranged a fast trip to Shanaghai to see my girlfriend (some time came up at work, the stars were aligned and i got a cheap flight!)
    This will be my first time heading over there. I’m going because her mother is visiting from Inner Mongolia. And we thought it would be good to meet. Her mother doesn’t speak any English, and I just started learning Mandarin.
    What would be a good gift? I’m leaving in two days (told you it was a fast trip!). I was thinking of jewelry made in a local shop here…..?
    Thanks!
    Eric

  20. eric, jewelery is a wonderful idea for your girlfriend. You could also get her mother earrings. maybe ask first if she has pierced ears.

    From the iPhone, during our move to downtown San francisco.

  21. Thanks, Robert. Actually I’m okay with the girlfriend, I’m more concerned with the mother. Earrings? Sounds good. If seh doesn’t have pierced ears … how about a bracelet? My g/f hinted that her Mom might appreciate vitamins, too! :) My parents are preparing an introduction video for the mother. A friend of my father is going to introduce them.
    Good luck with the move!!
    Eric

  22. Hi – thanks for the great website! Very helpful!

    Here’s my situation. Am going to see the “new” girlfriend in August in Guangzhou. We’re written back and forth more than 50 times, and we think we love each other. She’s 45, I’m 47, both single with young daughters. We will not be meeting each other’s children on this visit. She will be picking me up at the airport and taking me to my hotel, possible joining me in the room for an electronic translator-assisted chat after check-in. During the 4 days I’m there we may also meet some of her co-workers and friends. I have already sent to her by mails, gifts of: an inexpensive necklace, a “small coffee table book” (picture book of Oregon – my US State), a bouquet of roses, and a CD of music (all of these were sent at different times, except the CD and book went together.

    My questions:
    1: What would be an appropriate gift for the woman that you love, and she loves you, but you are meeting in person for the first time?

    2: When do I give her the gift – at the airport, on the hotel, or maybe wait until she were to give first (although I think I’d really be the one to give first… right.. or is it simultaneous?)?

    3: Should I be sure to present the gift to her with both hands, or is that myth?

    4: Should I bring an assortment of smaller gifts for all of the friends and/or co-workers and/or potential invited family that I just might happen to meet? And, if we don’t… do I give the remaining gifts to her, or take them back home?

    Thanks in advance for all of your help!

    — Steve

  23. Robert,

    I am soon visiting new academic friends in Beijing, Xian and Guangzhou. Would it be appropriate to give non-academic books that I have written as gifts or would it be egotistical and rude?

    Shelton

  24. Hi, great site really helpful and some great ideas..

    I’m travelling to China next month for 3months where I will be training in a kung fu academy in Henan province.. I just wondered what gift would be suitable to take? Should I give a gift to the academy’s master… the academy as a whole? Both?

    And is it also a good idea to take gifts for those within the academy who’l teach/help me out while I’m there?

    Any suggestions you have will be greatly appreciated, was just unsure whether paying to train at the academy would be classed as business gifts… or gifts for hosts etc?

    Thanks very much!

  25. Hi all,

    I have been researching what gifts to bring Hong Kong and China online and stumbled on this excellent blog. Thank you for this information.

    I also asked some co-workers who are from Taiwan and China and they came up with some other great suggestions. I just want to share because I did a lot of research online, bought stuff, returned some stuff and bought other stuff because I felt these suggestions were even better and cheaper than the stuff I already bought. I want to save you some of the trouble I went through. (A bunch of these suggestions are already mentioned, but here I am elaborating based on what my Chinese co-workers told me.

    1) Ginseng – preferably the whole root type, from Wisconsin. (Do not bother getting ginseng from Korea. Not that there’s anything wrong with Korean ginseng, but people in Asia general have easy access to ginseng from Korea) My co worker recommended that “Prince of Peace” brand is recognizable
    2) Move Free Advance – a joint supplement
    3) Grape seed extract
    4) Centrum Silver
    5) Coenzyme Q10
    6) Fish Oil
    7) Children’s gummy vitamins
    *The above 6 items can be purchased at costco, and are often on sale with their member coupons
    8) See’s candy or Godiva (although they can get it in HK, it is recognized as expensive. However, I am a little worried about them melting since I am going in July)
    9) Wine
    10) Nuts or dried fruits (not common stuff like peanuts, raisins, prunes etc. More along the slightly more gourmet/higher end types like pistachios, dried cherries, blueberries, strawberries which you can get at Trader Joes, Whole Foods etc. or gourmet food stores. I would also check where it is made, packaging that states “Made in the USA”
    11) Honey (again be sure to check for “Made in the USA” on the label)

    Couple more random things to mention. I saw several recommendations from previous posts to give coffee. Just a thought is I don’t know a lot of Chinese families with coffee makers since they are mostly tea drinkers. If you do choose to give coffee, consider giving instant coffee or find out if the intended recipient has a coffee maker. Also, I asked my mom about giving vitamins or supplements and she seemed to think that it wasn’t the best idea. Her reasoning is since I am not a doctor and giving pills (even though they are just supplements) conveys the idea that I am overriding their doctor’s advice) No idea if there is any basis to this so I reserved the vitamin supplement items to only people that I know for a fact would appreciate them. Also, my mom told me her friends and relatives in HK and China would probably prefer to receive nuts over chocolate since it is perceived as a healthier option. Again, this is strictly subjective but something to think about.

    Other Chinese gift no-nos:
    (Stuff already mentioned: clocks, used items, blankets etc. see previous posts)
    – shoes: my co-worker explained that this can be interpreted as sending them away
    – umbrella: the explanation is because the Chinese pronunciation sounds like “separate”

    One additional concern I do have is carrying bottles of wine and chocolate around Hong Kong to meet the intended recipient. To be less intrusive, I usually meet up with people either at restaurants or coffee shop to catch up rather than go to their homes (it is less intrusive since when you go to people’s home’s they feel obligated to clean up and serve food etc). So this means I will have to carry these items around on the MTR which may not be that convenient (of course, not to mention packing wine in the suitcase, getting through customs etc.) Just some additional considerations to think about.

    I will try to post an update after my return. I will probably have better input after the entire trip experience.

    Thanks for reading!

  26. First, thanks for the great information, second I decided to post my question here although it may fit in another category.

    I have been helping a Chinese girl with her english and I do consider her to be a friend. She is at university here in Canada for music, but first has to get the english up to par. I am not sure exactly what happened or what she said to her father, but I had a strange phone call from her fiance in China, in broken english he said he was calling on behalf of her father who speaks no english, and was asking a number of questions that all sort of pointed at what my interest in her was. Questions like If I new she was engaged (which I did) and some other slightly odd things Like why she called me late in the evening,(generally it was because she needed help for classes the next day) and so on. He also asked that I not tell her about the phone call too. I am guessing he (her father) is worried about his daughter and as I am much older than her, that I may be wanting more from the relationship than to be a friend and tutor. I think my conversation with her father via the boyfriend has sorted this problem. But I am wondering if there is a gift of some sort that I could send to him (her father) that would show I respect him and his daughter and that I am a respectable and honorable person or if this is not recommended. I know he smokes and is a cook by trade and they live just outside of Beijing. Any help on this would be appreciated as I am somewhat confused.
    Thank you.

  27. This is a great and very helpful site.

    First, I really like the Chinese-English dictionary Robert mentioned above. Another dictionary that also has character recognition among other useful features can be found at: http://www.nciku.com/ . As a student of Chinese this one has been a lifesaver.

    Second: I’ll be going to China soon, and I’m worried that I might offend potential hosts and friends because I don’t drink alcohol. I would be willing to forgo this if refusing would be rude. Any advice?

  28. Steve Klotz (re: Your lady friend) I’m sorry, I’m so late with this. I hope you two fell in love and got married. :)

    Shelton (re: I’m an author, should I tell everyone) What kind of non-academic books? Like comics? It might come off a bit arrogant. You might bring it up in conversation later on in your trip, and drop it in — “Oh yeah! I’m an author, I didn’t tell you? Yeah, as a matter or fact, here are my many books I wrote!”

    Tom (re: teaching kung fu in China) I would just bring a gift to the master, and make it something nice. Represent America. The whole crew? Seems like a lot. Just the master.

    Mary (re: other things to buy) You rule, thank you, these are all great ideas.

    CJ – Were you trying to get down with this girl? Why would her family call you out of the blue? Did she use you as a pawn to make someone jealous? Man, I wouldn’t send anything, it will look like you’re mocking them, as they already suspect that you are getting down.

    Corey – No, simply say “Wo guo ming le, wo bu hui he jiu, xie xei” which means “I’m allergic, I can’t drink liquor, thank you.” Drink something else instead, and try to have fun with them. If you just sit in the corner and isolate yourself, awkwardness will ensue.

  29. Hi all,

    I am moving to Guangzhou in a couple of weeks to work for a Creative Education Company.

    I am just starting to think about if i should take gifts with me and if so what should i take?

    It will be my first time in China so I really have no idea. It would be normal practice for me to take something for my new boss wouldnt it?

    Does anyone have any suggestions of what would be good, seeing as we have never met but that i will be working for him? Also do I take other gifts for the other staff at the new school or just my boss?

    I will be visiting some of thier sister schools for some training, is it advisable to take gifts to these as well? Something Creative and linked to the education side of things?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated…this is a huge opportunity for me and one that I want to get right.

    Thanks.

  30. Ps RE my earlier post….someone suggested a parker pen is good for a gift? It is famous over there and not easily found? Would this be a good gift from a female employee to a male boss?

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  32. I am going to visit my girlfriend in Hawaii soon and I’d like to bring something for her Cantonese parents, but I don’t know what to get them. They speak Cantonese and live in Honolulu. They live simply and wouldn’t want anything fancy – they are not really into material things.
    What would be acceptable to give them just to be polite?

  33. Hello, thanks for the wonderful site, its really helpful!
    I am going to china for the first time, and I’m staying with a host family for 3 months, I have no clue what I should give as a gift or how many gifts I should give and when. I live in northern California about 3 hours north of San Francisco. I have been told I should try to do local stuff as gifts, but I cant really think of what, I think local honey would be good but I don’t know what kind of honey, I was thinking sage honey because I know where to get it from a women who makes locally, but do they have sage honey in china? I also need other gift ideas, should I get a separate gift for every member of the family, if so how many gifts for each? Or should I just give like family gifts? Are there gifts that I shouldn’t give because I’m a girl? (A friend had a problem in the past when she gave the man by accident a gift that was considered something you would get from a lover, his wife got really mad, she ended up staying with a different host family.) Also should I save a gift of two for when I leave to go home?
    I would really be grateful for the help, I’m really lost, and I want to make a good impression.

  34. Thank you for this wonderful website. I have been e-mailing a woman in Anyang, China for just over a year and am hoping to get to visit her this next summer. I had heard about the gift giving tradition and was quite concerned, as I really like this woman. Your site has helped me out. Keep up the good work, and thank you once again.

  35. My Chinese girlfriend says that since we’ve been dating a month and had sex, that it is Chinese custom for the boyfreind to buy her an expensive piece of jewelry like a necklace. The reason being that it is something she would wear all the time to show others that she has a boyfriend. Is this true?

  36. John, thanks! I’m just in the process of rebuilding this blog and moving it up on the ladder of things to do.

  37. any more gift ideas for dating chinese girl? i am american recently dating chinese girl who has been here for only two years

  38. A friend’s mother recently passed away. Can you tell me what the etiquette involved is? I would like to take an appropriate gift and card over. Many thanks.

  39. Hi… Great blog! I noticed you said “no tea” a couple of times. Why is it bad form? Thanks!!!

  40. Chinese friends recently gave my daughter an older car and she is wondering what kind of a gift she should give to them. They are retired and living in the US and she does not know what would be appropriate. Please Help!

  41. Thank you for this site as I am desperate for info!
    My son is engaged to a lovely chinese girl. He went to meet her parents several months ago and they gave him a gift for me (beautiful tea pot w/different 4 cups & teas). Was this a snub because of the 4 cups? I’m going to meet her parents next month and feel I must reciprocate with a proper gift. What is appropriate? They live in New York Chinatown, but they have also lived here in Texas. The father is a chef, and I thought a really nice set of steak or cooking knives would be good, but son’s fiance said that would symbolize the ending of relationship, but she won’t give me any suggestions. Very frustrating when it is of the utmost importance to make a good impression. Please help! Thank you!

  42. Hi Laurie, thanks for the question, and thanks for asking a question on this ever-growing Chinese Etiquette Blog!

    Definitely do not give any type of knives to the father, your daughter-in-law is absolutely correct — knife gifts symbolize the separation or breaking of relationships in Chinese culture.

    You have a great daughter-in-law for telling you this, certainly a fine line to walk. On one side, she is trying to avoid an embarrassing situation with you and her parents, and on the other side she, she has to sort of ‘reject’ your gift idea without coming across as rude.

    For gift ideas, it is about ‘face’. It’s the first time you are meeting, so, if you have the funds, get something nice. In your situation, the parents are in New York and not China, but I remember my first trip to meet the parents in China I brought a book about California, thinking it would be a great personal connection type of gift. In retrospect, it was kind of a cheap gift. They loved the chocolates, fine liquors, American tools and equipment, clothing, on subsequent trips much more. Keep in mind I was visiting an area that had little access to foreign goods, and you are going to New York, but the idea is the same: keep ‘face’, and if you have the budget, get something nice.

    I’d recommend giving them a beautiful vase, maybe in the $100-200 range. If it is glass, be sure to check it for any imperfections (bubbles or design flaws). Colorful, tall, heavy, maybe even made by a local artist.

    You could also get some crystal table piece or jewelry (think Swarovski), but Swarovski is everywhere — if jewelry, then it would only go to the mother so you’d want to get something separate for the father. I’d go with the vase, or ‘hua ping’. Hope that helps!

  43. Thank you so much for your reply and gift suggestion! My future daughter-in-law and I are going on a “girls only” shopping trip this weekend in Houston and I’ll look for a vase then. There’s a lovely Limoges store in The Galleria and I’m sure I’ll find something appropriate. Thanks again for your help, it was much appreciated! :)

  44. My thirteen year old daughter is going to China on a school trip. Would taking gifts to give be appropriate? If so, I was thinking of sea shells or shark teeth from our area beach. Do you think that would be ok or any other ideas?

  45. What a great site to “stumble” upon.
    My friend has invited me to stay w/her, maybe her parents (and perhaps grandmother) at her parents apartment in Shanghai. I will be staying a week and thought taking my friend out for an expensive dinner would be nice, but am at a loss as to what to bring her parents. I think seperate gifts for her folks would be best since her dad may be away on business. They have a house here in NY and travel quite a bit between countries. I’m not sure her parents will even be there when I visit. My trip is in early August 2010. What do you think would be most appropriate?
    Thank you in advance for your advice.

  46. I have just moved to China and just signed a lease with my new landlords. I am meeting them next week to get the key, etc. They seem very nice and the apartment is new and clean. I would like to give them a small present when I see them next week because I like them and appreciate them renting to me, (and because I want them to like me!) Would this be a good idea and what type of gift would be appropriate. If I give them some small item from my country, would it have to be wrapped? I would like it to be unwrapped to I could tell them about it.

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