I remember as a child, I looked forward to the holiday seasons because of the gifts I will receive. I think all of us can agree that the gifting season can be very exciting but also very stressful sometimes. However, one thing stood out to me as I was growing up, which were the different gifting traditions in different cultures. And it is not only cultures, even the differences in people when it comes to gift giving is interesting!

Growing up in a multicultural environment

I grew up in a Chinese household and when I went to school or to my friends, I was in an Western environment. This has shown me a lot of differences and made me notice the gifting traditions in different cultures. My friends all received actual gifts during the holidays, whether those were toys, clothing or a new phone. Whereas at home, I only received a “hong bao” which translated into a red envelope. To be straightforward, it is just an envelope with money. Chinese gifting traditions heavily rely on numbers, the amount of money contained in the envelope have to end in even digits and it should not contain a four. The amount of gifts should also not be four! It is a bad number in Chinese culture.

Gifts come in all sorts of form

Gift giving is a part of the love language. Though there are some differences between cultures regarding gifts, we can also say that there are differences in people when it comes to gifts. Not everyone will like gifts but might prefer something else, like acts of services or spending quality time. Nonetheless knowing what kind of gift, whether that is tangible or not, is important. You might like a self care package, but someone else might see more value in a handwritten poem. Learning about someone else’s love language can guarantee an even bigger smile on their face!

What is a gifting tradition you do in your culture?

Whether you are celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah or any other seasonal event, exchanging a gift to loved ones has the same meaning in every culture. It is a form of affection and we want to show our loved ones or even colleagues gratitude for what they have done for us. But we have different ways of showing this gesture. So what is your gifting tradition or habit, and what is your preferred love language?