Gift etiquette around the world

how to offer and receive gifts in India, Turkey and the US

To offer a gift or to receive it seems to be quite a straightforward task but actual, it is not as simple as you think. And if you receive a gift, is it polite to open it straight away or wait until later, what should you say? Let ‘s have a look at the gift giving and receiving etiquette around the world.


Indian gifts

India is a mixture of the diverse cultures, religions, regions and festivals and traditions. India collates together to form a wide canvas of exciting colours and emotions. This diversity is evident in the differing customs and traditions throughout the country, one such example of which is giving and receiving of gifts.

Generally, in India, gifts are given on various occasions like weddings, baby showers, housewarming, naming ceremony of the child, promotions and also festivals including Eid, Holi, Diwali, Ganesh Chaturthi, Christmas and New Year.  And also it is becoming more and more popular to exchange gifts on Father’s day, Mother’s day, Valentine’s day and other western celebrations.

A box of sweets or dried fruit is often given when visiting friends and families on festive occasions. Gifts like flowers and chocolates are more suitable most for celebrations like birthdays, child, birth, housewarming. White is the colour of mourning and death, so white flowers should be avoided. Red, blue, green or yellow are the colours of celebration and prosperity, so they are perfect for gift wrapping.

Cash is quite a common gift for weddings, baby showers and also housewarming. The cash should be in odd numbers of 11, 51, 101, 501 and so on since these numbers are considered auspicious.

The emotional side of the gift is very important for the majority of Indians, as the value of the gift is not considered as important as the feelings attached to the gift.

You need also bear in mind the religious views of the receivers, the leather gifts are never given to the Hindus (since most of them are pure vegetarians) and gifts involving alcohol are not given to Muslims.

Unlike other countries, the gifts are generally not opened in front of everyone, unless specifically asked to do so. Rather they have kept aside and are unwrapped only after all the guests leave. Lastly, return gifts are important and are usually given during weddings, and birthday parties.

United States

People celebrating birthday

Cards are very important in the US whether a gift is given or not, greeting cards are used frequently for birthdays, Christmas, Father’s and Mother’s Day, weddings, Thanksgiving, Easter. But generally many people only send a card for birthdays, Christmas, weddings, and funerals.

Commonly given gifts are toys for children, and for adults: chocolate, fine foods, books, clothes, tools, jewellery, electronics, symbolic gifts.

In the US people love to open their presents when the guests are watching. The opening of gifts is generally the last “agenda item” for any celebration that involves gifts. The major exception is wedding celebrations: gifts are never opened during a wedding.

On receiving a gift, you should thank the person, often saying: “oh, you shouldn’t have,” or “this is too nice”. Return gifts are not a must but thank you cards or symbolic gifts are very common.


Turkish lampsThere is always a reason to offer a gift in Turkey. To treat your loved ones for Bayrams (Eid) is a must.  As a Muslim country Turks don’t celebrate Christmas but recently it became quite popular to buy presents for the New Year.

Wedding and engagement ceremonies involve a lot of gifts giving and receiving. The groom’s family asks permission from the bride’s family, so the gifts are exchanged, then an engagement party to announce to the parents and friends and again presents are given; then the henna party for the future bride’s friends and finally the wedding! At the wedding, gold coins are usually offered to the couple.

Another big occasion to offer a gift is a newborn baby as a family is the most important thing in Turkish society. Also, birthdays are important and should be remembered with a gift.

When you enter the house the first thing you immediately do is to offer your gift. The person who receives it will never wait until the guest has gone. They should open it in front of the giver, thank and tell them how much they like the gift. If it is a birthday party they will open it after the cake with the other gifts.

The return gift is a must in Turkey, especially at weddings, for newborn babies and circumcision feasts.

So now you know how you should do in India, Turkey and the US. More countries to follow. Follow us on social media to know more.

Choose our name a star gifts

Comments are closed.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website.