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Gift giving amongst family and friends, the young and the old or even among people in different stages of life is common in the world today. Gift giving is a show of love and thoughtfulness among different people.
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Unlike the west where gifts are given on special occasion like Christmas, Thanksgiving, Valentines and Halloween, the Chinese gift-giving tradition is taken more seriously and gifts are given frequently. There also rules of the game to be adhered to.
GIFTS FOR MEN
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It’s not always easy to buy gifts for men as it is for women. You need to know exactly what interests the man who could be your husband, dad, son, friend or brother. This will determine whether the gift impresses them or not.
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Lucky for you, China has a number of options for you to choose from.
1, Chinese baijiu (white liquor)
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For that guy who loves liquor or some strong drink, this is your best choice. I like the fact that it’s a drink that is distilled from rice but sometimes also barley and wheat. The drink is used for various special occasions in the country.
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When buying it I advise that you choose Moutai, Er Guo Tuo or Wuliangye. Note that, the drink contains 50% alcohol and has a burning sensation and acrid taste. It’s important to take it sparingly or be sure that you don’t mind the hard stuff.
2, Chinese board games
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The Chinese board games are widely popular. Mahjong is one of the most popular board games in the country. In fact, it’s a classic type of board game. If the guy you want to buy gifts is a fun of these games then this will depict a thoughtful person to them.
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Other board games include Chinese checkers and Chinese chess. Luckily these board games are readily accessible on the streets. Alternatively, you could take time to explore the wholesale markets, toy markets, tourist markets among others.
3, Chinese art
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Here, you are spoilt for choice. There are a number of categories of Chinese art. My best choice for the guy would be important figures paintings, the scrolls, famous themes like Guilin’s hills, the four beauties and iconic images.
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Did you know that Chinese art is said to have the oldest tradition in the world?
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The best type you can buy is Shui-Mo (water paint) although all this depends on the person you are buying the product for. Furthermore, you could consider artwork that is widely available in the local city markets.
4, The silk pajamas or robes
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While silk is greatly used by women, it’s not restricted. You could find nice silk fabric for the guy you wish to gift. Whenever you see silk fabrics being sold somewhere be sure to find some silk robes there too. This places also sell the designer Chinese pajamas or t-shirts with traditional prints as well as guys neckties.
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If you are in places like Shanghai, go to fabric market or places like Tianzifang or Yu garden. In Beijing it would be hard not to find the silk pajama at the silk museum.
GIFTS FOR YOUR LADY
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Generally speaking, it’s never hard to find a gift for your lady. If you know her interests, the better for you. Nevertheless, it can be overwhelming when you want to gift her because there are so many choices. Below are the ideas for the lady gifts.
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Who doesn’t love the eye-catching pearls?
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For centuries now, pearls have been a symbol of beauty and purity. Today, unlike the ancient days, pearls are found in more fashionable styles. You could but the pearls in form of jewelry, shoes, wedding flower or any other form it is all a personal choice.
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Although some people would like the natural pearls that were originally found in the Persian Gulf, they are rare to come-by which consequently makes them damn expensive.
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Don’t give up though because there are other options like the cultured pearls which are grown on pearl farms. You can also find pears from salt water or fresh water lakes in the world today. Visit the pearl museum when in Beijing to learn about pearls and buy them too. In Shanghai, you will find them in pearl city market.
6, Chinese tea
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This is another simple yet complex gift for your lady. Do you have this lady who is health conscious? Maybe this will be the best gift for her. When it comes to tea you and I both know that Chinese tea goes back to the beginning of time.
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Talk of green tea, herbal tea, black tea, white tea, flowers tea the list is endless. You can get the best brands for each type of tea. Note, if you want that unforgettable experience, go for the tea at the tea houses across major cities of the country.
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Women love flowers, don’t they?
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This is your hand banquet made from 19 carnations with a baby breath. Carnations are more romantic and therefore a symbol of devoted love. This hot and tremendous gift is suitable for the special days like anniversaries, birthdays or another memorable day.
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This is a good way to show that you are thoughtful of the lady. Always know that flowers have hidden meaning. Pink flowers are the specific indication of a youthful feeling, fun and happiness so let your lady enjoy the emotions around the flower.
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If you are looking for the best china you will only find them in China. Porcelain is a symbol of Chinese culture that will be a thoughtful and magnificent gift to the lady. Aside from that, they are also known to be expensive.
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Jingdezhen is the city where porcelain ceramic pottery began about 1700 years ago. As time goes by, the artisans’ creativity is enhanced. If you are going for authenticity this will be the place to get the porcelain and preferably an elegant tea set.
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You do know that blue and white are the traditional porcelain colors here right. Getting any of this colors for the set will ‘melt the heart’ of the lady.
GIFTS FOR CHILDREN
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Depending on the category of gifts you are interested in, buying children gifts is both entertaining and easy. Another factor of consideration is the age of the child. Newborns are adored in this culture and like most other cultures around the globe, gifting is appropriate.
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The gifts range from diapers to books. It’s all your choice. Below is a breakdown of the gifts to buy.
9, The red envelop e s
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These are traditional gifts that are more appropriate if you are going to see the baby for the very first time. The red envelopes come in many designs that are meant to offer different sentiments to the person you are gifting. They could be happy envelopes, blessings blossom envelopes, abundance envelopes, riches and luck envelop, good fortune envelopes among others.
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Note that, you should put some lucky money in the envelope.
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The toys help the kids build our culture into a fun, engaging and playing game. This way they are able to understand the culture as they grow. From the building blocks to the cooking set you could choose the ones that positively impact in their lives.
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You could choose the Chinese kites, boards, traditional dolls, the Chinese yo-yo among others.
11, Kids ‘ books
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When you develop your child’s reading culture while they are still young you will be nurturing and developing a character. Books that are universally meaningful with understandable themes are the best choices.
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Furthermore, it’s even better if the books contain spaces for storytelling as this will be used to find out if the children have mastered the stories shared. I see my nephews and nieces enjoy these gifts from our families and friend.
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Basically, jewelry is considered a special gift by people of all ages. For children and babies, you could give them silver gold and jade jewelry in form of bracelets or pendants. The gifts are usually used to keep bad spirits away as well as bring good luck.
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Aside from that they just enhance the child’s beauty.
GIFTS FOR YOUR GRANDPARENTS
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We can never leave out grandparents when it comes to gifting. They too have things that will please them always.
13, The Chinese traditional herbal medicine
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Walk into any Chinese supermarket and you will find a section of beautifully packaged herbal medicines. You can never go wrong with the herbal medicines because the elderly not only love them but also know how to use them.
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Be keen to ensure you buy the effective ones and not the fake counterparts. If possible buy them from the big establishment since they will most likely be very observant to ensure they are legit. Grandparents prefer to use the herbal medicines, therefore, gifting them the same will render you the title ‘thoughtful’.
14，The mugs and T-shirts
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As earlier stated China is the best place to find the best china. Sometimes, using something as simple as a mug is what counts. You could buy your grandparent the mug that has some writings to communicate whatever it is that you wish to convey to them.
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The good thing about using a mug is that anytime they use it for their drinks they will always remember you. Because of the writings.
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You can also wear a t-shirt or give them the t-shirts indicating your love for them. You see gifts don’t have to be thousands of dollars for them to impact the other rather convey a message. My granny loves using t-shirts so when I gave her the gift she couldn’t stop singing songs of praises to me and I was all smiles.
15, Microplush heated blanket
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Since most grandparents are often feeling outrageously cold this item is good for them as it will warm the sheets before it is time to go to sleep. It senses and adjusts to deliver consistent warmth and it will work for 10hours straight then automatically switch off.
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This is especially appropriate for your winter days. It would give the grandparents the silky, smooth and cozy sleep or rest. While it can be used by people of all ages, gifting it to your grannies will be a good idea.
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Do not worry about her kingside bed because they will use 2 pieces.
16, The sandalwood paper fun
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Many are the warmer days in the country. The handheld classic paper fan comes in handy at such times. It is wooden and portable. They are made from sandalwood and are more feminine than masculine. Gifting your granny with it will help her during summer.
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For those who are scent sensitive, this will most likely excite your nose. The paper fan has a sweet aroma that is friendly to most people. During events like birthdays carrying the fan is a great idea since the fan is not only beautiful but also smells great.
THE GIFTS FOR FRIENDS
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Again, this depends on your relationship and the friend’s interests should be the first consideration. Avoid going for the expensive gifts rather choose the easily accessible gifts with deeper meaning.
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This is one of the best gifts even if your friend doesn’t drink much. We treasure some good bottle of wine or alcohol. Wine is even better if you know the story of the vineyard and can tell it. However, if your friend is a person who loves to drink then this will be the most thoughtful gift for them.
18, Home supplies
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Whether your friend has all the home supplies they may ever need or not they will enjoy your gift. The women are easy to please with these although you may get some home supplies for your male friend too. I like to use china in form of a tea or coffee set.
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This is even better if for example your friend recently moved to a new house. A new house requires new expansive accessories. Some new electrical equipment or cookery devices will do the magic. You should listen carefully to them when they are planning on what they need then buy them those.
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When you are for example visiting your friend at their place carrying a basket of fruits is definitely a good idea. This is easy to come by and will impact greatly on them. You could mix some different kinds of Chinese fruits since they all have some deeper meaning.
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Example: apples and oranges are not only adored in China but also in other parts of the globe. In my country, they symbolize fortune and safety. Besides fruits are essential in our day to day lives because of their nutritious value.
20, Chinese shadow puppets
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The shadow puppets are good ideas for your collector friends yet they are a perfect choice for the home décor. This is a folk’s opera form where you cut the animal skin or paper into the human images then perform them in front of the lighted backdrop. These create the moving images illusion.
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It is normally accompanied by music and performers manipulating the figures and singing.
GIFTS FOR THE FAMILY
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China is clear when it comes to gift giving, there are etiquettes to follow as well as do’s and don’ts when you are gifting. It used to look like a complicated process for me because I am not so much of a gifting person. However, after learning the ropes, gifting is now easy.
21, Regional specialty foods
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Most humans are the curious type. We always want to sample something new. If you are traveling across the country, it may be a good idea to carry along some of the foods in the different region for your family.
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Better yet, you can order the meals from the local regional chef and have them delivered to your home as long as you know the meals to be delicious. Other choices would be chocolates, dates, nuts among others.
22, The traditional herbal remedies
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For the elderly, herbal remedies like Dong Quai or the American ginseng say ‘I love you’ more than any other thing. They are good for the health-conscious elderly or those suffering from a terminal illness. You just need to find the best herbs that will communicate your love and maybe even help cure an ailment.
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Be careful though when buying these gifts because there are many others that aren’t effective in the market.
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There are many people who love these supplements. When the vitamins are imported or bought from abroad it is even better. However, you can find the vitamins in the online shops the famous ones being the Amway, Centrum and Swanson’s.
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They always have the directions on how to use them so it is important to make sure that your relative knows how to use them or else they become hazardous to them.
24, The imported wines
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Did you know that China is the 5^th^ largest worlds wine consumer?
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With these statistics, you should know how important it is to carry a bottle of wine from your trips abroad or better yet order the wine online.
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Be informed however that China’s growing appetite for wine has made the country produce alcohol massively. This means that you can get the wines locally but also you can order from the Chinese online store. If you visit another country outside though, never hesitate to carry a bottle along.
GIFT GIVING FOR BUSINESS PARTNERS
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There are gifts even for business partners. On this point, you need to be keener. Ensure your gift doesn’t look like a bribe. This can be avoided by not using red envelopes with large sums of money. On the other hand, you should know the culture of reciprocity exists here.
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Giving an expensive gift may embarrass the other and in order to maintain a face, they may have to strain themselves to gift you with the same kind.
25, Give gifts in sets of 6 or 8
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This could be anything from the kitchenware to clothing just anything. Remember the number 6 and 8 are both good symbols in the country. They mean good luck and prosperity respectively. All you want for your business with your partner is prosperity and good luck isn’t it?
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It is all basically a good intent call.
26, A gift basket
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This basket could be stocked with fruits, snacks alcohol and other delights. This is appropriate for holidays. Nowadays delivering a gift basket is easy because you can get them from gift baskets overseas. They will deliver the gifts to your partner through the given address.
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I like the way they are arranged and you can have the gift in form of flowers or foodstuffs whichever you choose.
27, A Watch
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Who doesn’t like a new beautiful designer watch?
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This is something global, regardless of your culture, adding a new watch to your list is always welcomed. Remember, give the hand watches but never a clock as this will symbolize something bad. Specifically, your business partner may think you are wishing an untimely death to them.
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Get the watches form very many watch designer shops within the country and abroad.
28, Alcohol and cigarettes
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Toasting as you eat and talk of your new ideas is a common business culture. Presenting an imported brand of wine will be a good show. You can use other forms of liquor like cognac and spirits during these occasions.
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Cigarette smoking, on the other hand, is common for big businessmen and if you know that your partner smokes, this will be a good idea.
THE GIFTS FOR A CHINESE VALENTINE
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This was traditionally not a gifting day but in the modern days, it has adopted the western style of gifting on valentine’s day. I love flowers and those nice dinner treats although I think that having something memorable is way better.
29, Beautiful knickknacks
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While some people believe this is something worthless, it is actually a worthwhile gift in China. Creativity is key to decorate your love nest. This is way better than the normal flowers and dinner give away because they will last longer. Every time you look at the item, you will be seeing your partner.
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Think of jewelry especially for your woman because they will be definitely satisfied. You always see it guys, whenever a man opens the small box of rings or earrings or any other kind of jewelry the woman will always be surprised. Why not try this for her.
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You could also get a fashionable watch or ring for your man on this day.
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This is the other best gift for your other half. The fact that it is scented makes it even better. This is because the scent will always remind your lover of your love. They are the small Chinese bags that are full of aromatic herbs.
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They are made in different shapes and sizes. In the early 19^th^ century, the girl would make the sachet then send the man she loves. It still happens in some areas.
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Like other western countries, a valentine is not a valentine without a chocolate. Don’t get me wrong but ever since chocolate has been used to show the love and romance. In fact, it is said to be an aphrodisiac. Some people believe that the chocolate may make you euphoric.
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In this country just like the West a chocolate is a must-have during such festivals.
GIFTS FOR THE NEW YEAR
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This is another time when the natives gather from all over the world to enjoy each other’s company. This festival is one of the major festivals in the calendar. It is also a time when you can gift your loved ones and friends. Especially if you are visiting after a long period of time.
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Below are the ideas to choose from for your new year gift,
33, Treasure green tea company set
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By now you know that when it comes to tea you can never go wrong with a Chinese. This is especially so if you are keen to collect the tea gift set from a famous brand like treasure green tea company. The company is located in the heart of Chinatown at 227 East Georgia street.
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From the impressive varieties of tea to teaware you will have a wide variety to select from. To go traditional, add two high-end custom tea waffle bricks that are from Bing Dao mountain area in China.
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You could give away a bamboo plant as a gift for the new year. Maybe help the person you are gifting to plant them. It symbolizes good luck and what more would you ask for if not a good luck wish for your new year?
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You can give away a braided bamboo plant or a spiral piece. Alternatively, place your bamboo in a glass vase then fill the bottom with marble or beautiful rocks that hold the bamboo into place.
35, Lai See
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We are fond of envelopes for different occasion and this envelopes normally have some lucky money inside. For the new year, give the red and gold envelop with some money inside. The colors red and gold symbolize prosperity and good luck.
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Traditionally the envelopes are preferred for the kids. They are mostly given by the seniors to the juniors.
36, The Thomas Haas lunar new year collection
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As you all know, this is one of the worlds famous chocolate sculpting company. They created a new year collection for the chocolate lovers. It has a handcrafted mandarin orange, traditional gold foiled coins and a hand-painted fire rooster that is made from dark chocolate.
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The chocolate also has a lucky Lucy which is lavishly crafted from white and dark chocolate. The collection is eye-catching and looks too good to eat.
THE WEDDING GIFTS
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When it comes to a wedding, the gifts to deliver are usually confusing for many. It takes time to think of an appropriate gift to give. Below are the suggestions for a wedding gift in China.
37, The red envelopes
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I know this has become the norm for many today. Mostly because you just need to get the envelop, place some money and give to your couple. Give some reasonable amount though. Always make sure the notes you use are new and not folded and also don’t use coins or cheques.
38, 24 karat pure gold
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This is amongst the most traditional kind of gifts available today. You could present the gold pieces in form of jewelry or as a decorative object for the couple’s home. Note, gifting is an important culture but the amount of money used and what it symbolizes matters a lot.
39, 9 treasures wedding box
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In the ancient days, the women were presented with a dowry of 9 auspicious items this was to wish them a happy life. Today, the 9 treasures are boxed and presented to the couples. They symbolize the blessings for a long-lasting marriage. Each treasure symbolizes something unique.
40, Mandarin ducks
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This is an ancient famous gift mostly because it’s believed that it promotes love and marriage. The ducks make them stay faithful to their partners all the days of their lives. They represent the best wishes to the newlyweds.
THE DO’S AND DON’T’S OF GIFTING
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By now you should have noticed that gifting is a serious thing in this country. There are rules to be observed when giving and they include:
- Whenever you are invited to a home, it is good etiquette to carry a gift along as thanksgiving sign.
- In some instances, the recipient of the gifts may decline the gift a little when gifted so that they don’t appear greedy. However, the giver may insist a little and the receiver then takes the gift.
- Always wrap the gifts well.
- Choose your gifts wisely. Remember they all have symbolic meanings.
- Don’t go and buy something very expensive that the recipient won’t be able to reciprocate because it will be embarrassing to them.
- Be cautious of the symbolic meanings. Avoid numbers like 4. Take your time before selecting the gift to make sure you don’t send the wrong message.
- Don’t wrap your gift using white colors or even black as this symbolizes death and funeral. Instead use colors like pink, red yellow among others.
- Don’t gift one person if the person is in a group. If you can’t afford the gifts for the group don’t give it to them at the time when others are in the vicinity.
- Never give a clock as it symbolizes the counting of seconds to the recipient’s death.
- Don’t give a man ‘a green hat’as it means that the wife is unfaithful.
- Don’t use a red pen to write on the gift cards.