Gifts blurs nationalism and race. If you have acquaintances worldwide, and are planning to surprise them with a visit and gifts, make sure you take care of the gift etiquette. Here’s why you should.

Consider this scenario. After a lot of sweat and hard-work, you finally brought your dream home. You are performing a pooja for the housewarming ceremony, and have invited all your friends – within and outside India. An American friend gifts you a wine bottle. How does it sound? Well, in their culture, gifting wine is very common. But in Indian culture, on occasion like this wine is a strict no-no, even as a gift.

So, it is important for you to know international gift etiquette. Also, with world shrinking and having a global audience, traveling, both business and personal have become almost a  routine. And when paying a visit to friends and acquaintances who are in different time zones, we tend to show our gesture of love with gift. Make sure the gift signals your care and affection in right terms.


Do you know in Chinese culture it is customary to decline three times before accepting it? The simple reason being you shouldn’t show your enthusiasm of receiving a gift! Here are some more quick notes:


  • Chinese prefer to receive a homemade gift, or something which can be shared with family.
  • They prefer gift being wrapped with ribbon than kept in a shopping bag. The color of the ribbon depends on the occasion: red for thank-you and occasions, silver and golden for wedding celebration, black and white for funerals
  • Avoid clocks
  • Avoid anything with 4 too. You can rather choose 8, as that’s thought as peaceful.
  • When planning for a business gift, address it to company than an individual. Otherwise, it will be presumed to be as bribe!


It’s necessary to carry a thank-you gift when you are paying a visit to any French house.

  • Avoid wine
  • Try flowers, candy or even liquor – anything that’s not available easily
  •  A traditional gift from your own country would also be appreciated.


A small token or gift is always appreciated. But make sure it is not very expensive because as per Japanese tradition, it is important for the guest to give a return-gift.

  • Gift wrapping is very important, because unless a special permission is given to open the gift, unwrapping the gift immediately is considered to be impolite
  • During funeral it is customary to gift cash in a special envelope which has a red tie around it
  • Never trust a Japanese’ belittle words he uses for his gift. He is following his tradition, and you might find it surprising later on to discover a gorgeous gift inside

So now you know gift etiquette in China, France and Japan. Watch out this space for other countries which follow different gift etiquette.