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15 Gifts To Bring to a Chinese House + Chinese Gift-giving Etiquette

Asian culture has always been very rich, and Chinese culture, in particular, is not far from the tree. It has many interesting rules and beliefs that govern social activities. The Chinese people are also dedicated to preserving what is required of them by their culture. 

This dedication will mean that you should factor in Chinese beliefs regarding your gift choice and presentation. Otherwise, they won’t accept your gift, which could damage your relationship with them.

In this article, we will talk about Chinese gift-giving etiquette and examples of gifts you can give and should avoid giving to Chinese households.

Understanding Chinese Gift-Giving Etiquette

Chinese gift-giving etiquette is based on more than the obvious. It also incorporates their beliefs in luck and varying ideas of modesty. Here are some of the rules you should observe before giving a gift to a Chinese household.

Directly giving the gift

Chinese people believe that directly giving them your gift is better than giving it anonymously. The reason is that giving the gift directly lets them thank you personally. So do not leave your Chinese friends anonymous gifts because they won’t show gratitude to you accordingly, and that would be rude of you.

Actions when presenting the gift

As you give your gift directly, you should bow or bend your knees while handing it to them. This shows your humility and respect for them while you give them the gift. Also, hand them the gift with open palms to show your willingness to give them the gift.

Lucky and unlucky numbers and colors

Don’t give gifts in fours because the number four is believed to bring evil to the household. Rather, give your gift in pairs or groups of eight because they symbolize good luck.

Red is a lucky color, so you can wrap your gifts in red. Avoid green as it is associated with infidelity, black with evil, white with death, and blue with funerals.

Mark the date of giving

You should write the date of giving your gift to mark the important occasion so that your Chinese friends can record the time of your appreciation.

The appropriate gift for different occasions 

Chinese people have various festivities where they mark or celebrate different beliefs. You should learn more about the festivities’ aim to give an appropriate gift. 

For occasions like weddings and birthdays, it would be wise to give your friend money instead of sentimental gifts. You can put the money in a red envelope to wish your friend good luck.

Appropriate Housewarming Gift Ideas For Chinese

In this section, we will show you some gift samples you can give to your Chinese friends. All the gifts we’ve shared with you have interesting facts about them that you will have fun knowing.

1. Red envelopes

You have probably noticed how red is a common color in Chinese joyous festivals and ceremonies. The reason it is so common is that red is seen as a lucky color by Chinese people. So giving your gift in a red envelope or gift wrap will mean you’re wishing your Chinese friends good luck in their lives.

2. Bamboo plant

Chinese people believe that bamboo plants bring a balance of elements to the home. This balance then allows peace and prosperity to live in the home and its inhabitants. 

According to the Chinese Feng Shui principles, one way of maintaining a flow of positive energy around you is by incorporating the five elements in your house, wood and earth being examples. So when the bamboo plant is inside the home, there is a balance contributed and negative energies are filtered out.

The family members will also carry good luck that will grant them prosperity and good health.

3. Tea sets(with tea or coffee)

Tea is a big part of Chinese culture so tea sets will make an excellent gift. Coupling this with green or fruity tea (or high-quality coffee) will show your thoughtfulness and love for the recipient.

4. Quality bed linens

This will make a perfect gift for couples because you will be wishing them good rest while also increasing the quality of their home.

5. Kitchen Appliances

Kitchen appliances will make a wonderful gift for a Chinese household. It will make their cooking easier and faster, and meals will be served easier and sooner. During meals, bonding can occur too, so you’ll be strengthening the family with your gift.

6. Home Decor

Gifts that will act as home decor will also be perfect. They will act as a reminder of your bond with your friend. You can give personalized mugs, frames, or art.

For couples, you can give them a gift with the double happiness symbol to wish them a happy union.

7. Board games

Board games as a gift will mean that you want the Chinese household to be close and bond through playing the games. It will be perfect for the family.

8. Local high-quality cigars and wines

Giving your Chinese friends high-quality cigars and wines will mean you want them to live luxuriously. They can unwind by enjoying your gifts and have themselves feel classy too. These gifts also create a fancy look when kept in the home.

9. Perfumes and scented body products

These items will show that you want your friend to explore beauty and smell good when doing it. The perfumes will also give out positivity through the sharing of nice scents. They will love these gift choices.

10. Fitness equipment

If you have a Chinese friend looking to get fitter, this will make a fitting gift. You can be thoughtful and give fitness equipment regarding what part of their body they want to improve, such as skipping rope for the legs.

11. School supplies

School supplies will make a great gift for Chinese households with school-going children. You can choose to pick out decorative stationery that can be personalized so that your gifts become more special to the recipients. If your friend writes in journals, you can get them personalized assorted pens, stickers, and journals.

12. Engraved pens

An engraved pen will be a personalized gift that will be easy to carry around and act as a symbol of your friendship. Don’t give a pen that writes in red ink because it is commonly used in Chinese culture to sign treaties that cut off ties.

13. Banquet

Holding a banquet for your Chinese friend will still count as a great gift. In the banquet, you should of course have high-end local delicacies prepared. They will be made as happy as getting them a material gift would.

14. Foot bath massager

Your Chinese friends will appreciate a foot massage after a long day. This gift will mean that you want them to experience comfort and happiness in their lives, and they will be happy to receive it.

15. Fruit baskets

An ideal gift fruit basket for Chinese people will have oranges and pomegranates. Oranges symbolize wealth and pomegranates symbolize fertility. Giving them this will be you wishing them prosperity and sowing a seed of good luck in their home.

Chinese Gift To Avoid

Everything that is believed to have luck and good intentions is also believed to be evil and have negative intentions. Here are some gifts that you should avoid giving in a Chinese household.

1. Sharp Objects

Sharp objects as gifts symbolize cutting ties with someone in Chinese culture. So giving a Chinese person a fork or knife would be a traditional way of asking them to stop associating with you.

When giving kitchenware as a gift, pick the set that also comes with chopsticks so that you nullify this notion.

2. Clocks

Clocks symbolize running out of time so giving this to a Chinese person would mean that they are nearing the end of their lives. However, an exception can be made if the watch is of a luxury brand or very expensive. Just remember to leave the price tag on the gift when giving it.

3. Jewelry with unknown stones

Do not give a Chinese person jewelry of unknown stones because they believe that it could harbor evil. Many Chinese legends and stories speak of evil spirits residing in unknown stones. Giving them this gift would be like giving them a bunch of ghosts and spirits they now have to deal with.

4. Cut flowers

In general, cut flowers make terrible gifts for a Chinese occasion except for funerals. Giving white or yellow flowers in particular symbolizes death and will mean that you’re predicting death in the household. 

Chrysanthemums are also a huge no as a gift for a Chinese person because they also symbolize death and are often given in funerals. The word’s pronunciation sounds like the Chinese word for death.

5. Pears

As you put together your fruit basket, exclude pears. This is because the Chinese pronunciation of the word pear sounds the same as for the word “parting”, making the recipient believe that you’re cutting ties with them.


Chinese culture is rich, and it’s important to be considerate of the dos and don’ts of giving gifts to your Chinese friends. We hope you find the gift ideas we shared with you fitting for your friend or their household. The additional knowledge we have also discussed will always be useful to you.

Remember to remain thoughtful while still observing their culture so that your gift becomes more valuable to them. Do this by personalizing their gifts and getting them per their likes and wishes.

Vincent Otieno

Vincent Otieno is a passionate jewelry enthusiast and writer at Getnamenecklace, an e-commerce store dedicated to offering exquisite jewelry and thoughtful gifts for your loved ones. With a keen eye for detail and a deep appreciation for the art of gift-giving, Vincent curates a collection that celebrates the beauty of craftsmanship and the joy of making family moments unforgettable.

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