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Chinese Gift Etiquette for This Couple Appreciation Month

A photo of a Chinese woman wearing traditional clothes.
China Brides Caption logo Reciprocity is a key element in Chinese gift-giving culture.

Do you ever wonder what to give to your Chinese partner on special occasions? Whether it’s her birthday, or your anniversary, or a thank you gift this Couple Appreciation Month, it is important to understand Chinese gift etiquette when it comes to giving gifts.

Gift giving is a major part of Chinese culture and tradition. For Chinese people, if they receive a gift, they offer something back to the giver. This is “Li Shang Wang Lai” or “courtesy demands reciprocity.” This customary reciprocity is key to the Chinese way of building and maintaining relationships.

Chinese people don’t often say the words “I love you” to their loved ones. Instead they express it through actions. Giving your better half a gift this National Couple Appreciation Month is a great way of letting her know that you value and love her unconditionally.

To avoid disrespecting this time-honored tradition in China, here are things to remember when giving and receiving gifts:

Rules for Giving Gifts

Don’t Forget to Bring Gifts

Giving gifts to the host is one way of saying thank you for the invite. This is a common practice in China.

So when your partner invites you over to their family house, don’t merely bring yourself. Make sure to come with something in hand that you can give to her or her family.

By doing this, you appear to be respectful about their culture and at the same time it shows that you are serious about your partner. This is also a way of leaving a good impression on your partner and her family as well.

Insist on Giving the Gift

Chinese people decline a gift not just twice but thrice before accepting anything. In China, they are taught not to be greedy when someone offers a gift. But if you are persistent, even if they decline at first, they may finally accept your gift.

When giving a gift to your partner, don’t get upset if she doesn’t accept it right away. Remember that this is part of how they are raised in China. Attempt several times in giving your gift to her. But if she still insists on not receiving it, respect her decision and ask why.

Wrap It Well

How you wrap your gift tells so much about you as the giver.

If you want to show your partner that you truly care for her, the gift should be wrapped well. Be careful not to tear or crease the wrapping.

If you are traveling a long distance, wait until you reach China before wrapping your gift. Simply ask the hotel staff for the nearest gift wrapping center.

One last tip, never give your partner a gift in the store bag where you purchased the gift.

Choose Your Gifts Wisely

In China, they put importance on myths and symbolism. They make sure that the gift they choose has meaning behind them.

Like any other gift giver, Chinese people put effort into finding the right gift to give. It need not be expensive but something that the receiver will appreciate.

When choosing gifts for Chinese girlfriend, here are the top 5 things that have a meaningful association:

  • Teas - Long considered a health drink, there is already a history and value of teas in China. Don’t give her tea bags but those high-quality leaves that are packed.

  • Tea sets - The first tea set emerged in China during the Han Dynasty. Aside from its pleasing aesthetics, these cups can be used daily. A better way to give a gift is the fact that your partner can make use of it.

  • Clothes - These are practical yet sentimental gifts. For example, a nice winter set of gloves, hat, and a scarf show how much you care for the well-being of your partner.

  • Plants - This is a popular gift of choice in China. Choose a plant that is easy to take care of such as cacti or succulents.

  • A novelty gift - A gift from your country or something hand-made is valuable to your partner.

A closed-up photo of two people using both hands in holding the gift.
China Brides Caption logo It isn’t always the thought that counts. Know what things to avoid giving to a Chinese person.

Rules for Receiving Gifts

Receive with Both Hands

Extend both of your hands when you are about to receive a gift from your partner. This shows that you respect the thoughtfulness of your partner and are grateful for the gift you are about to receive.

Don’t Open the Gift in Front of Her

When your Chinese partner gives you a gift, open it afterwards or when you arrive at your place.

In China, opening a gift immediately after receiving it is impolite. It shows that you value the gift more than the person who made the effort to see you.

Give Back a Gift or Send a Message

Following their customary reciprocity, make sure to either give a gift in return or send a thank you note to your partner for their kindness.

Your Chinese partner will appreciate you more if you respect and follow their tradition.

Taboos in Gift Giving in China

Here are other things that you should bear in mind if you opt to give your partner a gift.

  • Color of the gift wrap. Use the color of red which means happy occasions, and pink or yellow that means happiness. Avoid the colors of white, black, and blue.

  • Mirrors and sharp objects. Don’t give these as they attract ghosts. They also symbolize cutting ties with each other.

  • Don’t use a red ink pen when writing cards. Red is a symbol of diffidation or loss of faith.

  • Necklaces, ties, or belts. These gifts are only for romantic couples.

  • Clock. Don’t give this for it means death.

  • Food. This may symbolize poverty, so refrain from giving this as a gift.

  • Shoes. These symbolize parting ways or ending the relationship. Avoid giving this as a gift if you don’t wish to be misinterpreted.

  • Flowers are generally fine but avoid white ones, especially Chrysanthemum.

Lavish Your Love with Gifts

Now, you are aware that Chinese women are keen on expressing their words of love. They prefer instead to show their love in actions and considerations.

There are a lot of Chinese gift-giving superstitions. With your idea of gift-giving in China, you are now ready to lavish your love with the right gifts. Through this, you can both enjoy and celebrate Couple Appreciation with warm smiles on your faces.

The purpose of this celebration is to show your appreciation to your partner. That you love, value, and see her.

The way to the hearts of these Chinese women is through gift-giving.

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