Buying Gifts for Chinese Friends

Is Gift-Giving That Different?

Giving gifts to your friends and loved ones originates from the predominance that Chinese culture puts on interpersonal relationships and the value of give and take dynamics. Bartering, gift-giving, and exchanging are all core pieces of Chinese culture that not only help define it, but shape it and builds the community closer together.

If you are not familiar with the culture, it can be quite intimidating having to pick a gift for a Chinese friend or family member. Heck, even if you are familiar, it can still be a daunting task! In this post, we will discuss the best ways to pick out gifts and come up with ideas when you are completely stuck!

How to Properly Exchange Gifts!

Pick a Gift Catered Toward Their Personality

Regardless of the nationality of your recipient, picking a gift should always be done after taking their hobbies and interests into consideration. Once you have an idea of what they like, you can begin researching gift ideas around those subjects specifically. For example, if the person you are gifting to is a huge Pokemon fan, you can find gift lists (like the one here: that will point you in the right direction. If you are gifting specific products, it is important to check to make sure they are high quality (more on that below).

Something Traditional Vs. Not?

Many people think a traditional Chinese gift may be a good idea, but that is not necessarily the case. As we mentioned above, it is important to think of their individual personality/interests. If they love traditional Chinese things, then a traditional gift would be great! However, if they are very into outdoors activities for example, you may want to consider getting them something like a Berkey water filter instead. Regardless of whether you go traditional or not, it is important to make sure it is heartfelt and something they will enjoy.

What About DIY Gifts?

If you are relatively crafty, you can create a beautiful DIY gift for your family, friend, or loved one for a fraction of the cost of buying something from a store. DIY gifts have the added value of being highly sentimental, and will mean a lot to the person you are gifting to. If you decide to go this route, it is highly advisable to be familiar with the recipients personality (do they like sentimental things or practical things for example) as well as your own crafting abilities. You can find some great DIY blogs that have some really awesome ideas for you to check out.


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