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What small gifts should I take to China?

What small gifts should I take to China?

Old Aug 20th, 2001, 10:13 AM
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What small gifts should I take to China?

We will be traveling in China for three weeks in October (not in a group, just five family members) and would like to take some small gifts -- trinkets, really -- to give to people we encounter. (I know that any gift should be non-political and non-controversial. And we will be tipping our guides and drivers.)
We will be taking some recent issues of magazines showing scenery in our home state, but only our guides will be able to read these. I had also thought that children might enjoy stickers featuring animals. Any other ideas? Pins, magnets, or key chains with a theme from our home city or state? Would most Chinese have refrigerators or other metal surfaces where they could use magnets? Especially in the more rural areas?
As always, I appreciate the feedback from this group. Thanks,
Old Aug 21st, 2001, 01:04 AM
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My husband and I will be spending time in China and I have been recommended, by students who have spent extended time there, that stamps are collected by many Chinese, postcards from the U.S., any trinkets or things that illustrate the U.S., kids love tootsie rolls and licorice, stickers, T-shirts, English-language books for some, for a personal visit to a home a box of fruits, pastries, cookies, cakes, etc. Make sure items do not have label that says made in China. For more formal gift giving and etiquette, look for a book called Asia Etiquitte or something like that. I hope this helps. I was also told to have a small map to illustrate exactly where you are from and pictures of your family and life are interesting.
Old Aug 23rd, 2001, 04:56 PM
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We were in China for two weeks this summer. We brought along plastic American flag pins. They were well received, although some children were too shy to accept them without parental permission. They were also popular with some teens and adults we met. On our last day we gave one to a small boy in a McDonald's in Shanghai and it turned out that he lived about 100 miles from us back in the States!
Old Aug 23rd, 2001, 07:57 PM
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If you bring instant camera, take a photo with them and give them a copy. Otherwise, postcards with home country landmark are well received.
Old Aug 24th, 2001, 08:09 PM
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Some things our group took that really helped:
1. Postcards of your city
2. Baseball/Football/Basketball trading cards--lots of students ADORE Michael Jordan
3. U.S. Coins--we took some Sacajawea dollar coins and the state quarters--the kids really liked them. Actually even pennies!
4. Anything that helps them practice their english
Old Aug 28th, 2001, 04:37 PM
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Dear Carol,

Did you get recommendations for the guides you hired? Would you be kind enough to let us know how we can hire these guides?
Thank you.
Old Aug 28th, 2001, 05:27 PM
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We took ballons and blew them up when we saw small children on the streets, in markets, etc. They loved them.
Old Aug 31st, 2001, 03:43 PM
David Leung
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Gifts with vivid your local features are always welcomed. Besides, it'd be a great idea to bring some religious booklets in Chinese-language published in Hong Kong, Taiwan, etc.

David Leung
Escort Service in Beijing
Old Sep 2nd, 2001, 11:11 AM
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Take $1 US Sacejawea coins; she is a symbol of a local person who helps foreigners since she helped Lewis and Clark navigate the Indian territory of the US West. Educated chinese will know who she is.

Plus, it is a US coin, which is fun in and of itself.
Old Sep 2nd, 2001, 06:41 PM
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Thank to all for your very thoughtful replies. Just one more month until we go, and we are very excited! Gary (my husband) and I were there in 1997, and did not begin to take in half of what we saw. This trip will be even better.
Again, thanks to all,
Old Sep 9th, 2001, 09:44 PM
John G
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Kids in China, Nepal, and India just loved the tennis balls my friend brought with her. They were all fighting to get one. Also, everywhere in Nepal that I went the kids would ask me for an ink pen--they need them for school. That is what I would say to bring: school supplies!
Old Sep 9th, 2001, 10:31 PM
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hi,dear guests Carol,as a native in China,I think anything can be sent as gifts,as long as you look on those who you will meet as friends.
Old Sep 10th, 2001, 07:40 AM
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There are some GREAT ideas above - particularly ajuanny, who said that any gift given with goodwill will be appreciated! Here is my two cents as an American who has lived here for 3 years and has traveled around China.

As others have mentioned, ANYTHING from your home country or with foreign languages would be really popular.

Here are some other thoughts/observations:

* Stamps – I don’t know anyone who collects them – I don’t think it’s any more popular here than in the states (I think other ideas would be more generally appreciated).
* Tootsie rolls and licorice – certainly will be popular, but personally, I think a “longer lasting” gift would be more meaningful
* Stickers – only w. English language
* T-shirts – Must have English on them, esp. pro sports teams or universities
* English language books for kids– all would appreciate – if they don’t speak it, they know someone who does or wants to
* Box of fruits, pastries, cookies, cakes, etc. ? So hard to bring – I’d focus on something else.
* Balloons, tennis balls, pens – bit condescending, since they do have all of these items here – I’d only bring these if they have English or some other special symbol/writing of your country.

Have fun!

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