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Gift Giving Customs around the World

15/09/2017 16:20

gift giving customs around the world

The theme of Promotional Products Week (2017) is to highlight the importance of saying thank you through the giving of branded gifts in the business culture.

So let's take a look at different and slightly quirky gift giving and receiving customs around the world...


Let's start with the country that has, in our eyes, the most interesting gift giving customs. Firstly, Japan is said to have the most prolific gift giving culture in the world and is at the forefront of Japan's businesses. Therefore, expensive gifts tend to be favoured over small tokens of gratitude. Furthermore, the distribution of gifts is considered impolite when in front of an audience and is preferred on a one to one basis. To imply good manners, the recipient must also refuse the gift anything up to three times before accepting, and when they do, it should be with both hands to show gratitude.gift giving customs around the world There are also gifts to say thank you for a gift, these are called Okaeshi gifts and are around half the value of the initial gift. 


Next on our list of quirky gift giving customs around the world is China, where anything to do with the number four can be perceived as a bad omen due to sounding very similar to ‘death’ in Chinese - therefore, giving presents in sets of four is not advisable. It’s also important to note that anything white or black and objects such as clocks and handkerchiefs are also associated with death and should not be given as a token of gratitude, one of the main reasons for gift exchange in the Chinese culture. Like in Japan, holding back on the expense of a gift can be frowned upon as well as not reciprocating a gift in the business culture. Another fun fact is that it’s good luck to receive a present or gift wrapped in red.

South America

The gift giving custom that interests us the most about South America is their representation of sharp objects. Presenting objects such as scissors as a gift can be deemed to mean that giver wants to terminate their relationship with the recipient, even in the business world.

The Philippines

In the Philippines, the fact that the gift giver remembered to say thank you completely overrides the value of the present, no matter how big or how small. As the terminology goes, it truly is the thought that counts.


In Zimbabwe, gestures of gratitude and thanks are preferred over verbal expression – maximise this with a branded gift such as personalised confectionery.


Like in Japan, gifts should be both given and received with both hands no matter where you are.

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Allwag Promotions have a range of branded gifts that are suitable to say thank you to your clients no matter where in the world they are. Whether you’re looking for a small and effective token of your thanks, opt for our range of personalised confectionery – something as simple as a promotional chocolate bar that says thank you will be greatly received. Or browse our range of higher end e gifts, such as branded Parker pens, or custom Moleskine notebooks.

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Copyright © 2015 Allwag Promotions Ltd. All Rights Reserved