Traditionally, Vietnamese people celebrate only the first and unique birthdays when they are one year old. Offerings include flowers, many traditional foods such as Sticky rice dumplings with ginger syrup and Steamed sticky rice, Congee and boiled duck, incenses, tea, etc. The first birthday celebration is called “thôi nôi” in Vietnamese. In recent, they celebrate birthdays every year like Western people. At the parties, there are birthday cakes, other foods and drinks. You may wonder which happy birthday gift I should give to a Vietnamese person in order to express your care for his/her. You certainly do not want to make any mistake because of lack of information. Here is a list of Top 10+ Happy Birthday Gifts in Vietnam and gifts that you should not give any Vietnamese person on his/her birthday party.
Read more about Vietnamese Gifts Etiquettes – the ultimate guide to gifting in Vietnam.
Flowers are the top gifts for happy birthday and other anniversaries in the world thanks to their beauty and great smell. Roses, gerberas, orchids, sunflowers, hydrangeas, tulips, baby’s breath or wavyleaf sea lavenders are popular flowers that you can gift. Lilies, tuberoses, purple and white orchids, marigolds should not be gifted.
- Lily (“li”) means separated (“chia li”).
- Tuberoses are usually arranged on ancestral altars.
- Purple and white orchid wreaths are for funerals.
- Marigold represents longevity but it also represents ruthlessness, selfishness, jealousness.
You can buy flowers at supermarkets or flower shops in shopping centers, at local markets, on the streets or flower markets which specialize in flowers.
Happy birthday cake
Birthday cake is a great happy birthday gift in Vietnam. You can buy or order birthday cakes at stores of Givral, ABC, Tous Le Jours, Bread Talk, Hy Lam Mon, Kinh Do, Duc Phat are the top bakery brands in Vietnam. If you are staying in Saigon, here is a list of Top 10+ Bakeries in Ho Chi Minh City.
Cinema ticket is one of the best happy birthday gifts in Vietnam. Vietnamese people rarely buy only one ticket but at least two tickets. You can gift the receiver two movie tickets so that he/she goes to the cinema with you or another person. Coming to a cineplex to buy or booking tickets online are good choices. Read more about Top 5 Cinemas in Vietnam and Top 5+ Cinemas in Ho Chi Minh City, including locations of cinemas. You can follow the links to buy movie tickets online.
Vietnamese people usually gift envelopes of money at weddings, at Tet festival. However, they do not like to be gifted envelopes of money on their birthday. Gift vouchers are the best choice if you would like to let the receiver buy the items at his/her wish. Supermarket, tour, restaurant, bookstore gift cards or vouchers are recommended. You can come to supermarkets, tour agencies, restaurants, bookstores to buy vouchers or buy e-vouchers on https://www.hotdeal.vn.
There is no need to write in detail about chocolates. In Vietnam, chocolate is a multipurpose gift which can be given to girlfriends, friends, elderly or middle-aged young people on Valentine’s Day, at happy birthday parties, when you visit hosts or hostesses. If the receiver does not like sweet foods or is on a diet, you can choose dark chocolates. Chocolates are sold popularly at supermarkets, chocolate shops, gift shops.
If the receiver loves reading books and you know which types of books she/he likes, some great books wrapped carefully will make him/her happy. Fahasa, Phuong Nam bookstores are the most popular bookstore chains in Vietnam. Read more about:
Fahasa online bookstore: https://www.fahasa.com.
Locations of Fahasa bookstores: https://www.fahasa.com/he-thong-trung-tam-nha-sach.
Phuong Nam website: http://pnc.com.vn/en/home.php.
List of Phuong Nam bookstores: http://nhasachphuongnam.com/gioi-thieu/he-thong-nha-sach-phuong-nam.html.
In Vietnam, not only children but also young people love to be gifted stuffed animals. I rarely see they gift stuffed animals to middle-aged and old people, and men. Supermarkets and gift stores sell a variety of stuffed animals.
Jewelry is one of the most favorite gifts in Vietnam and the world. You can choose silver, gold, platinum, diamond, pearl jewelry. However, check if the receiver is happy to be gifted silver jewelry. In Vietnamese, silver means “bạc”. “Bạc” is in “bạc tình” and “bạc bẽo” which means heartless. Some young women do not prefer pearl jewelry because they think pearls are for middle-aged and old women. Gifting watches to old people reminds them about their ages and make them unhappy. Giving a ring to your girlfriend is not recommended because ring can only be gifted when you propose to her or on your wedding day.
You can buy jewelry at jewelry stores in shopping malls and on the streets. Top jewelry brands in Vietnam include Skymond Luxury, PNJ, DOJI, Bao Tin Minh Chau, SJC, The Gioi Kim Cuong, Cartino, Cuu Long Jewelry. Read more about Top 10+ Jewelry Brands in Vietnam.
Lipsticks and perfumes are easy to buy, makeup kits are good choices. Facial cleansers, face creams, body creams, foundations, face powders and similar products are difficult to choose and they should be suitable for the receivers. Trusted international brand cosmetic shops are abundant in shopping centers, qualities and prices are different. You should have some knowledge of cosmetics or have someone advise you.
You can buy clothes for the receiver if you know her/his size. It is great if you choose a free-size dress or T-shirt. Black clothes are not recommended because black color represents the death in Vietnam. Some of them love to wear black clothes but do not like to be gifted black ones. Sexy clothes are not good gifts for Vietnamese women.
Wallets, bags, hats, hair accessories, ties are great birthday gifts. Do not forget to put a banknote into the new wallet before gifting it to the receiver.
Besides Top 10+ Birthday Gifts in Vietnam, I also would like to list birthday gifts you should not give Vietnamese people. Shoes, sharp items (knives, nail clippers, scissors, swords, razors), handkerchief, suitcase, underwear, rings, money, empty wallet, fish tank, God of Wealth statue, watch, umbrella, pear or plump, candle, fabric doll and mask, antique, pillow should not be gifted to anyone in Vietnam because they may bring bad luck or break the relationship between givers and receivers. Read more about 10+ Gifts You Should Never, Ever Give Vietnamese people to learn about why these gifts are not good choices in Vietnamese culture.