Gifts in Chinese Culture
Chinese people have their own culture when it comes to giving friends or relatives presents.
When it is a new-born baby, usually jade or silver bracelet or necklace would be good, particularly ones which can make clinging sound so it will make some noise when baby moves. Alternatively, some children's clothes, shoes or gloves would be good too. When it is an older child, some toys or stationary would be good.
When it comes to some old people, something practical should be considered. A walking-stick, some valuable food such as bird's nests or Chinese mushrooms would be highly welcome.
For those who go to visit their prospective parents-in-law, something more valuable would be an option, such as some good wine or something meaningful.
If it is a family, a vase, some dining sets or pictures would be ideal.
It is not easy to think of something special for every occasion. So very often if it is not of any special visits, some fruits such as apples or oranges would be good enough.
It is important to know that giving someone gifts should not be a one-way business. Courtesy requires reciprocity. The person who receives gift should find a chance in future to return same favour by returning a gift of similar value next time you meet. You can do so simply by either paying a visit with a similar value gift or by inviting friend out for a meal with you paying meal. Don't do it right on next day because it may appear awkward.
There are also some taboos to avoid in Chinese culture. Though modern Chinese don't seem to mind them so much, it is still necessary to know what would be suitable in an occasion.
Books would not be welcome in places like Hong Kong or Macau because pronunciation of 'book' in Cantonese resembles sound of 'loss'. Especially for those people who are frequent players in race course or Mark six, they would definitely not welcome this idea.