Gift Giving Etiquette around the World

Everyone around the world just loves to receive a hamper by post, whether it’s for birthdays, Christmas or just because.

But, in case you didn’t know, there are different gift etiquette rules around the world, so in order for you to ensure your gift is well received, here are the guidelines you should be following:


In China, it’s considered proper etiquette for gifts to be exchanged during times of celebration and as a thank you for help or guidance.

However, perhaps unlike Britain, it is improper to give gifts without a good reason or a witness. In fact, in China it’s not uncommon for you to be asked exactly what you would like as a gift, eliminating all aspects of surprise.

So, if you would like to conform to the Chinese culture, you should ask for things such as tea or ink paintings… and never cash.

Meanwhile, if you’re considering sending a hamper to a business associate you should be aware that it’s considered rude if the gift isn’t reciprocated.

Being frugal with your gifts don’t go down too well either, as you’re likely to be known as the “iron rooster”, so be sure to spend your money wisely.


There’s no doubt about it that gift giving is at the heart of Japanese business etiquette, for example, if you’ve just been on holiday, it’s considered rude if you don’t bring back a small gift for the office for everyone to enjoy.

Be aware that in Japan, the giving of expensive gifts is extremely common, however, all gifts should be given to individuals in private and not in front of an audience, as that is considered rude.

Meanwhile, the correct etiquette is to give and receive gifts with both hands, as this demonstrates respect and gratefulness, so be sure to keep this in mind. You should also remember to refuse the gift at least once or twice before accepting to highlight your good manners.

The Japanese are also a little superstitious when it comes to the number of gifts; giving of four or nine of anything is considered bad luck and therefore it’s recommended that you always give in pairs.

Saudi Arabia

Here gifts should only be given and received by and for the most intimate of friends and as a result, doesn’t take place in the business environment and all gifts should be of the highest quality, with no expense spared.

If you’re thinking of giving a gift to man, you should steer clear of gold and silk as they won’t be accepted, however, silver is absolutely fine.

To demonstrate your manners in this culture, you should give and receive gifts with your right hand and open them the minute you receive them.


French etiquette isn’t a great deal different to the UK however, it is considered impolite if you don’t give a thank you gift whenever you are invited to someone’s house.

While in Britain a bottle of wine goes down a treat, in France, the more appropriate present would be flowers, sweets or something personalized.


While you are unlikely to ever give a slab of meat as a gift to anyone, it’s important to steer clear of cows as they are a sacred animal in India.

Also, remember that a large proportion of Indians don’t drink alcohol, so purchasing a hamper full of wine is probably not the best idea.

However, manners are at the forefront of Indian culture, so whatever gift you give will be graciously received, whether it will be used or not.


The most important thing you should be aware of when it comes to giving gifts to Italy is that flowers aren’t well received…at all.

This is large because flowers are only used during funerals and therefore considered bad luck, so to avoid any awkwardness, you should gift a nice bottle of red instead!


If you’re visiting Turkey and are going to someone’s house to eat, it’s important to keep in mind that the only gifts you need to bring along are an appreciation for their food and goats milk.

The Turkish will not stop eating until their guest does and therefore it’s considered terrible manners not to finish what’s put on your plate, so go with an empty stomach!

You may also notice that weddings are huge in Turkey and so it’s tradition to buy the bride golden coins worth around £100 to pin on her wedding dress.

Now that you’re aware of exactly how to give your gifts to countries around the world, there’s nothing stopping you from sending over a beautiful hamper for your friends and business associates to enjoy.

Serenata Flowers offers a five-star flower delivery service in the UK – take a look at our recent special offers and take advantage of our discount codes to get fresh blooms at unbeatable prices. Free delivery in the UK from Monday to Sunday.

Lily Calyx is our in-house flower whisperer, an expert on all things botanical and an enthusiastic orchids collector. She loves discussing the insights of the secret world of flowers, shares her gardening tips and hacks and moons over the latest additions to Serenata Flowers flower range. Ask Lily anything about flowers and we can guarantee she will have the answer.

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