GIFT GIVING IN SWEDEN*-
Gift Giving Etiquette
BUSINESS GIFT GIVING /
PERSONAL GIFT GIVING
In general, gift giving is not common among
business associates; it is best not to send a gift at any time, including
holidays, unless you receive one first from your Swedish colleagues.
Holiday cards are appropriate, particularly as a
thank you for the recipient's business in the previous year, and should be
mailed in time to be received the week before Christmas.
Gifts are expected for social events, especially
in thanks for private dinner parties. If you choose flowers, bring them with
you to the dinner party, and be sure to unwrap them before entering the home
or handing them to the hostess. Never send chrysanthemums or white lilies,
since they are used primarily for funerals. Also, avoid red roses or orchids
as these usually indicate romantic intent. Moreover, always make sure the
bouquet is in odd numbers [an old European tradition].
Flowers, liquor, wine, cake, or chocolates are
appropriate gifts for your hostess when you are invited to a Swedish home.
You may also bring candy for the children.
Liquor is a highly appreciated gift, since it
is so expensive in Sweden. Fine liquor or wine from the United States makes
a good business gift.
Although exchanging gifts is not common at the
beginning of a business relationship, it is appropriate as you are closing
your business transaction. Choose a practical gift, rather than one that may
be perceived as lavish. Books about your country, as well as desk
accessories, all make practical gifts and can also be keepsakes.
If you are staying with a family, an appropriate
thank-you gift would be a high-quality product that represents your country
and is difficult to get in Sweden. Examples include gourmet foodstuffs
[pralines, maple syrup, lobsters, etc.], coffee table books about your home
country or city, or anything that reflects your host's personal tastes are
appropriate. Don't give your host anything that is easily obtainable in
Sweden. If you are given a gift, it might very likely be a small red wooden
horse as a home decoration; it is a common folk object, and unique to
*Accept Cross Culture. Sweden Business
Etiquette - Gift Giving. Executive Planet. 16 Aug.
Above: The flag of Sweden