Sure, it may be the thought that counts. But when you have something cool, quirky and memorable under wraps, it counts just a little bit more
As the Earth runs her course about the Sun for another year, the Northern Hemisphere slips into shorter days while south of the equator, the tantalizing rays of spring are breaking through. In many lands the traditional season of gift-giving is upon us. Although we’ve been taught to appreciate the gift-giver, it’s nonetheless important to consider the nature of the gift and the way it’s presented. After all, it can have a direct bearing on how the gift is received – and perceived – by the recipient.
In an ever-globalizing business world, it’s probably a good time for a quick, and by no means exhaustive, list of some cultural do’s and don’t’s that embellish the art of giving and receiving.
In much of Asia, red and gold are lucky colors. Choose wrapping paper accordingly. That oh-so thoughtful gift will lose some of its charm if it’s stylishly wrapped in white or black – those are colors associated with funerals.
Sending flowers can be a thoughtful gesture. But in Europe, send an odd number. Don’t send red roses of any number (too personal) and never send chrysanthemums (they’re used for funerals).
Reconsider the luxurious leather appointment book for your colleague in India, where Hindu traditions regard cows as sacred.
Go out and buy another tumbler to add to the 4-piece crystal set before you send it to your Chinese friend. Four is an unlucky number in China, and four of anything is a gift-giving gaff.
Thoughtfully chosen gifts that bespeak your own culture and national heritage can make memorable impression. A package of high-quality California citrus fruit could be deeply appreciated by your Japanese colleagues, and bottles of Southern barbecue sauce travel well practically anywhere in the world.
Gifts for business colleagues are one thing. But when it comes to picking something for family, close friends or someone special, spotting the gift that has just the right touch can be a daunting task that seems to absorb much time and attention this time of year. To help out, here’s our eclectic guide to a festive string of whimsical and wonderful must-have products and new collections from the practical to the fanciful.