International Gift Etiquette - United States

GIFT GIVING IN UNITED STATES*

BUSINESS GIFT GIVING /
PERSONAL GIFT GIVING

  • Presenting a gift is a thoughtful gesture, but it is not expected.

  • Business gifts are often presented after the deal is closed. In most situations, gifts are usually unwrapped immediately and shown to all assembled.

  • In many cases, the best gifts are those that come from your country.

  • You may not receive a gift in return right away.

  • During the Holiday season [late November through the first week of January], gifts are exchanged. For your business associates, you can give gifts such as useful items for the office, liquor or wine. Choose gifts with no religious connotations [i.e. don't buy Christmas ornaments], unless you are certain of the religious background of your associates. While Christmas is the dominant celebration, and is widely commercialized during this period, people may be celebrating many other holidays during this period [i.e. Hanukkah, Kwanzaa].

  • Many stores and malls offer gift-wrapping services during the winter holidays.

  • When you visit a home, it is not necessary to take a gift, although it is always appreciated. Flowers, a potted plant, or a bottle of wine are good gift choices.

  • If you wish to give flowers, you can have them sent in advance to relieve your host or hostess from taking care of them when you arrive.

  • If you stay in a U.S. home for a few days, a gift is appropriate. You may also write a thank-you note.

  • Taking someone out for a meal or other entertainment is another popular gift.

  • Gifts for women such as perfume or clothing are usually inappropriate. They are considered too personal.

  • Gifts for children are often a thoughtful and appreciated gesture, but take into account the values of the parents. Many parents would object to your giving a toy gun or a violent video game to their child.

*Berardo, Kate.  United States Business Etiquette - Gift Giving.  Executive Planet.  16 Aug. 2004                           <http://www.executiveplanet.com/business-culture-in/132427718762.html>.


Above:  The flag of United States