Understand a Cultures Customs Before Gift Giving

Gift giving has been around probably as long as the human race itself; although the ritual has been traced back to the Romans who would give each other a token meant to wish the recipient good luck in the New Year. This token was known as a strenae. According to tradition the strenae was originally merely branches plucked from the grove of the goddess Strenia who was the Roman goddess of strength and endurance. From these meager beginnings the art of gift giving has evolved and changed depending on cultures traditions, customs and religious beliefs in countries throughout the world.Giving gifts is now surprisingly complex yet an important part of the human interaction and helps to define relationships and strengthen bonds on a small scale with family and friends as well strengthen or repair relationship and bonds on a major scale as those between countries. Gift giving is an art and as with any art it is meant to evoke delectation in its recipient as well as the person giving it.When giving business gifts, the gift should reflect your thoughtfulness, good taste, attention to detail and most importantly show an understanding of the recipient’s customs, beliefs and traditions. Rules and customs regarding the giving and receiving gifts vary from country to country and cultures within those countries. Whether you are doing business in another country, doing business with a company in another country or doing business with a person with different beliefs than yours, it is important that you have an understanding of the recipient’s customs, tradition, beliefs and company rules before you present a gift to them. To give an idea on how simple gifts given with the most thoughtful intentions will be perceived by other cultures.
If you wish to give a gift to a Chinese client, it would be considered poor taste to give them a clock as a gift. It would also be considered to be in poor taste to give an individual gift, instead a group gift should be given.
A gift of Lobster which is a very popular gift in the States during the holidays is viewed as a distasteful gift for people of the Jewish faith.
Giving a gift such a football (made of pigskin) or alcohol to people of the Muslim faith is also considered also to be a distasteful gift and against their religious beliefs.
To give a gift to the wife of an Arab colleague or client is considered to be in very poor taste.
When doing business in Singapore bear in mind that businessmen there are not allowed to accept gifts.
Countries such as Malaysian consider gifts given before a firm relationship is established to be a bribe.
In India you would not give a gift made of leather or any beef product because the cow is a sacred being to them.
Countries such as Japan, Indonesia and Philippines the exchanging of gifts is expected and has been part of their culture’s traditions for centuries and is a sign of respect. The way a gift is presented to the recipient is as important is as important if not more so than the gift itself. When presenting a gift, to a Japanese associate or clients, whether shipping the gift or giving it in person, it is important to never allow it to arrive unannounced, make sure that the recipient is aware of its impending arrival. If giving the gift in person, it should be given at the end of your visit so that it can be opened later once you have gone.
When presenting a gift in person in Japan or Hong Kong, it is important that that you do so using both hands.
In the Middle East you would present the gift using the right hand.
In Singapore when presenting a gift to a client it is tradition for the recipient of the gift must turn down the gift three times before accepting it. It is important to make sure you offer the gift three more times to ensure that the gift is accepted.
It is usually in poor taste to give a gift that displays a company’s logo on it. Clients in Spain, Portugal and Greece would not view this as a gift but a blatant form of advertising and find it offensive.
Gift giving has always had a central place in business practices, helping to build and strengthen the bonds between businesses. When considering the giving of a gift to a client or person it is important that you do some research to find out what would be appropriate gift for the recipient. This research is useful to prevent offending the intended recipient customs or religious beliefs, but also may help you to find out more about the person such as special dietary restrictions, for an example sending a person who is diabetic a gift basket filled with chocolates and candies looses the impact that was intended. One should never underestimate the impact that a gift can have on a relationship whether business or personal. Knowledge of the recipient will assist you in the selection of a gift that has a more personal touch creating a greater impact. Here are a few general gift giving etiquette tips that may help prevent awkward or embarrassing gift giving situations.
When giving gifts to people of a different culture, do some research to find out about the recipients culture, traditions and beliefs and use this information to create a more personalized gift.
When giving business gifts give gifts that reflect you as well as your company’s image.
Never give gifts that display your company’s logo (Items with a logo tend to be viewed as an advertisement not a gift).
Prior to giving a business gift check with the recipient’s company to find if they have a policy on their employee’s accepting gift and if there is an expense cap.
Have an understanding of the recipient’s culture, customs and beliefs about receiving gifts and the proper way to give them that respects their traditions and culture.
When choosing gourmet products for business gift-giving, such as gift baskets, know the contents of the gift to make sure none of the items will offend the recipient’s religious beliefs or customs.
For maximizing the impact that a gift has, personalize it by factoring in the recipients outside interest, customs and personal likes. Use your imagination and make the gift stand out (in a good way).
With any gift you give the gift should reflect the value you place on the relationship whether business or personal. The more important the person is to you the more attention that should be put into the gift you give them.
Remember that the note attached to the gift has as much if not more importance than the gift itself. Whenever possible handwrite the note and always make it personal and heartfelt
One thing to take away from this is that a person should never under estimate the impact that even the smallest of gift can have on a relationship whether business or personal and one should have an understanding of the person or company’s customs, culture, traditions and religious beliefs before giving a gift. Gift giving is a wonderful thing and if done properly will allow a business relationship to blossom grow and flourish, yet if done improperly can cause a relationship grind to a screeching halt or destroy it completely.

Great Tips For Purchasing Gifts For Any Occasion

Gift shopping can be a difficult activity. It’s either you don’t know the recipient well enough to be sure of any one gift item, or you know him/her too well that you can’t decide what to buy for them. It’s not unusual to window-shop throughout the entire mall only to be at a total loss at the very end. Maybe you should just give the whole thing up and just send a lousy card?Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be that way. Instead of buying only one gift item, why not give gift baskets? A gift basket contains more than one gift items, placed in a container (usually a basket, hence the name), and wrapped in an attractive way. A gift basket can make your shopping trip a little easier and quicker, without sacrificing any sentiments you wish to convey with your gift.There are many kinds of gift baskets – all you have to do is lookHave you ever walked through the supermarket’s discount goods section and seen baskets of bundled items being sold for less? These are examples of the more generic gift baskets out there – they’re not made specifically for anybody, but it’s still a pretty useful thing to buy. When you’re the head of a company, such baskets may make a good addition to your employees’ mid-year bonuses.But if you’re looking for a gift basket that’s suited for the occasion, you might want to stay out of the supermarket and spend more time in the department store. During the Christmas or Thanksgiving holidays, for instance, it’s easy to find holiday-themed baskets in malls and gift shops. Baskets made for the occasion are appreciated more than generic baskets.For the more important occasions and persons in your life, it’s a good idea to get a customized gift basket instead. Many gift shops that have gift baskets on their shelves can put together a personalized gift basket for you for a reasonable price. All you need to do is give your ideas as to what you’d want the basket to contain and look like, and they’ll set to work right away.What to know about customizing gift basketsIt’s often fun and rewarding to customize a gift basket for the special people in your life. When you know their own unique traits, affinities, and quirks, it’s easy to put a fun gift basket together. In addition, when you know what they’re truly passionate about (like their career, their hobby, the environment, etc.), you can easily customize a gift basket to contain gift items that hit home.When you want to have a customized gift basket prepared, look for a good gift basket shop that offers these services. You can even find gift shops on the Internet who also customize baskets for you – and some even offer to deliver the gift to your recipient’s doorstep. Of course, you might want to hand-deliver the gift basket on certain occasions, since it’s always better when you see the expression on your recipient’s face when they see it!If you know your recipient really, really well, then you might want to put it together yourself to make it even more special. Creating your very own gift basket is fun and challenging at the same time – in fact, it might even give you an idea for a business you can do on the side. Wouldn’t that be a fun way to ride out the recession?What makes a great gift basketThe sky’s virtually the limit when it comes to designing a great gift basket, but there are two elements that should always be present – the gift items, and the basket container. (Oh, really?) Some gift wrapping and maybe a dedication card will fit right in, but some gift baskets often do just fine without these. But if you want the gift to be a surprise, some wrapping paper will definitely be in order.First of all, the gift items would be great if they were related to each other. For instance, if your recipient is a romance novel lover, you might put together a few new romance titles, some candy, and a hot chocolate recipe. If he’s a desk jockey, throw in an organizer, a picture frame, some plastic plants to put on his desk, and maybe even a book on time management at the workplace. A targeted gift basket is always better than a scattershot one.When it comes to wrapping, you have three choices – the usual wrapping paper, some transparent/translucent wrapping, or no wrapping at all. This really depends on whether you’d like your recipient to see your gifts right away, or you’d like to give them the glee of ripping off the wrapping!Any occasion is a great occasionWhile there are fixed “gift-giving” seasons throughout the year, anytime is always a great time to give gift baskets. No matter the occasion, a well-prepared gift basket will always be a thoughtful gesture – and the more personal the gift basket is, the more meaningful and memorable it will be.Seasons such as Christmas and Thanksgiving are great times to give a gift basket to the people you love. A Christmas gift basket may contain some toys and candy for a younger recipient, while parents may appreciate some good wine and cheese. And it’s hard to go wrong with some well-selected food items in a Thanksgiving gift basket.Birthdays and weddings are also good occasions to give a meaningful gift basket. It’s pretty easy to come up with ideas for a new baby or a new couple, especially if you know them well. A set of dinnerware and cutlery will make great wedding gifts, and a baby’s gift basket may contain toys, vitamins, and some new shoes.So if you want to make the occasion a little extra special, go the extra mile and put a gift basket together. It’s one of the best ways to make a great impression to the special people in our lives.