Saturday, September 26, 2009

International Gift Giving Etiquette

Anyone watch the UN speeches given by various foreign leaders this week? Ever think about Corporate gift giving to foreigners? The following is a bit of foreign corporate gift giving tips:

Appropriate Gifts in Arab Countries:

  • Books

  • Gifts for Children

  • "Made in the USA" gifts

  • Gifts for the Office

Inappropriate Gifts in Arab Countries:

  • Liquor

  • Logo items

  • Blue and White gifts

  • Gifts for Spouse

  • Animal products or food as a gift for the first meeting

Appropriate Gifts in Japan

  • US Brand Named items

  • Scotch and Brandy

  • Books

  • Company products

In any Asian country, or from an Asian person, always accept a business card or a gift with both hands. Using both hands shows respect. Regarding a business card: take time to look at the business card. Do not ever stuff it in your back pocket.

Inappropriate Gifts in Japan:

  • Any "Made in Japan" item

  • Anything with the numbers 4 or 9

  • Surprises of any type

  • Humorous or Joke gifts

  • Ribbons and/or Bows

  • Fox, Badger or Wolf

Appropriate Gifts in the USA:

  • Books

  • Pen and Pencil sets

  • Key Chains

  • Umbrellas

  • Paperweights

Inappropriate Gifts in the USA:

  • Expensive items

  • Red Roses to a woman

  • Personal items

  • Liquor to a non-drinker

  • Cash

Always enclose a gift receipt with your gift and have the gift "gift wrapped" if possible.

I do not care what Peggy Post says: NEVER re-gift any gift to anyone for any reason. It is a small world, it is NOT honest and the gift never seems to be quite gift receipt and wrapped by hand usually in a gift bag. No thought and no time put into the gift always comes back on the giver. The recipient always knows. In any re-gifting situation, one is taking many chances. I have a host of re-gifting horror stories to my Halloween blog post, soon!

If one has no money to spend on a personal gift for a good friend, instead of re-gifting, an appropriate, thoughtful card will always do with a kind, well thought out, beautifully written message, or for a wedding, pull a nice sterling cake knife or pretty china plate out of your sideboard in your Dining Room, wrap it up and tell the Bride it is a "family treasure" you want her to have because she is like family to you. I will also address this topic for the holiday season, soon.

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