Vietnamese Gifts Etiquettes

If Vietnamese Gifts Etiquettes is an art, givers and receivers are artists. In Vietnamese culture, gifts are an important part because it brings happiness, best wishes, helps givers to show love and respect to receivers, takes enough interest in people around you. In the past, if Vietnamese people catch too many water animals, they share foods with relatives and neighbors. At reunion festivals such as Vietnamese new year and Mid-autumn festival, they gift foods and beverages to each other. On death anniversaries, something is brought to the houses where the dead people are worshiped and offered to the dead people. On wedding days, firth happy birthday celebrations, they bring small gifts as best wishes to receivers. Simple gifts such as traditional cakes and tea are popular in the past. In recent, a gift is a must on happy birthday parties, at Tet festival, on your visit to a host, on Valentine’s day in Vietnam. Knowing about Vietnamese gifts etiquettes helps you to avoid cultural shocks and give a Vietnamese person a bad gift.

Wine is one of the most popular gifts in Vietnam - Vietnamese Gifts Etiquettes

Wine is one of the most popular gifts in Vietnam.

When, whom and what do Vietnamese people gift?

Vietnamese people gift each other on traditional festivals, celebrations such as:

At Tet festival, Vietnamese people gift family members, girlfriends, girlfriends’ families, partners, friends, children, teachers. Top things to gift at Tet include gift combos, coffee, tea, wines, cakes, baskets of fruits, healthy foods including salangane nests, ginseng, lingzhi mushrooms, parallel sentences, paintings depicting golden/pink apricot flowers, Feng Shui items, red envelopes for children. Read more about Top 10 Gifts at Vietnamese Tet Festival.

Gift combo is a favorite gift in Vietnam - Vietnamese Gifts Etiquettes

Gift combo is a favorite gift in Vietnam.

At Fullmoon festival, they present each other delicious moon cakes. A set consisting of moon cakes, tea and plastic knife is popular in recent days. Adults buy children lanterns and candles.

Nice mooncake sets at full moon festival - Vietnamese Gifts Etiquettes

Nice mooncake sets at full moon festival.

On someone’s death anniversary in Vietnam, you bring a gift to the house where the dead person is worshiped. The gift is offered to the dead person, then can be eaten or used by the host who are responsible for worshiping the dead person. Vietnamese people in the countryside gift cakes (Banh tet) and savory foods to guests after the feast.

Fresh fruits such as pomelos, strawberries, grapes as gifts - Vietnamese Gifts Etiquettes

Fresh fruits such as pomelos, strawberries, grapes are very popular in Vietnam.

On a first birthday anniversary, you bring a gift for the child who is one year old and has just moved to a new stage of his life. Clothes, accessories, baby care products, toys, infant formulas are popular gifts for one-year-old child on its happy birthday – the most important and biggest happy birthday anniversary in its life.

Gift toys to children, they can also gift toys on first birthday anniversary - Vietnamese Gifts Etiquettes

Gift toys to children, they can also gift toys on first birthday anniversary.

On wedding days in Vietnam, they usually gift the couple envelope containing money. Besides money, the couples are also gifts some items such as jewelry, paintings, cosmetics, furniture, dining ware, electronic home appliances, etc. In recent, couples usually arrange some small gifts such as candies, chocolates, cakes for their guests.

money in envelope is gifted at Vietnamese weddings - Vietnamese Gifts Etiquettes

Money is put in envelopes containing invitation cards, then gifted to couples at Vietnamese weddings.

On open new house celebration, guests usually present hosts and hostess furniture such as dining wares, tea sets, wall clocks, home appliances, paintings, Feng Shui items, decor items, paintings. Brooms, seeds, bread and wines, which represent new start and development, bring good luck to the hosts.

On open new house, they may gift new electronics and home appliance - Vietnamese Gifts Etiquettes

On open new house day, they may gift new electronics and home appliances.

You should bring a flower wreath, cakes, tea and incense burners to a funeral.

At funerals in Vietnam, visitors usually bring funeral wreaths - Vietnamese Gifts Etiquettes

At funerals in Vietnam, visitors usually bring funeral wreaths made from white and purple orchids and other flowers.

You may have chances to visit a host or hostess. In this case, you should bring something as a gift to their house. Gift combos, coffee, tea, wines, cakes, baskets of fruits for the whole family. Chocolates, cakes, candies, toys or children’s books will make kids in the house happy. Read more about Top 10+ Host and Hostess Gifts in Vietnam.

box of cookies when visiting a host - Vietnamese Gifts Etiquettes

When visiting a host, you can give them a box of cookies.

Visiting your girlfriend’s family for the first time is important in Vietnam. Besides gifts for the whole family, the man should buy small gifts for members of the family: grandparents, parents, sister, brother, children.

gift your girlfriend's parents salangane nests - Vietnamese Gifts Etiquettes

Healthy gifts are choices of many people in Vietnam. You can gift your girlfriend’s parents salangane nests.

When you visit a patient in a hospital or one who has just been treated at a hospital and return home, you should bring something good for their health. Popular gifts include infant formulas, products from salangane nests, ginseng products, fruits, etc.

 infant formulas when visiting patients in hospitals - Vietnamese Gifts Etiquettes

Healthy foods such as infant formulas are good gifts when you visit patients in hospitals in Vietnam.

Traditionally, Vietnamese people usually make traditional cakes and desserts on free days. They usually gift relatives and neighbors these delicious foods.


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In recent days, they also gift on:

Nowadays, Vietnamese people celebrate happy birthday like other countries in the world. They may invite you to their happy birthday party. Or your company organizes a party for officers who are born in the same month. You may gift flowers, happy birthday cakes, jewelry, cosmetics, clothes, accessories, books, furniture, stuffed animals (or heart), decor items, alarm clocks. Read more about Top 10+ Birthday Gifts in Vietnam.

 gift chocolate on happy birthday anniversaries - Vietnamese Gifts Etiquettes

You can gift chocolate at happy birthday parties.

On International women’s day (8th March) or Vietnamese women’s day (20th October), it is not a must but it will be great if you gift female colleagues, partners, friends, your girlfriend’s mother, sisters and roommates. Your Vietnamese girlfriend will be angry if you forget to gift her something. Flowers, jewelry, clothes, accessories, stuffed animals, decor items, etc.

Flowers are top gifts on the International women's day - Vietnamese Gifts Etiquettes

Flowers are top gifts on the International women’s day.

On Teacher’s day (20th November) and the 3rd day of the lunar January – the Tet teacher’s day, Vietnamese people visit their teachers and bring some flowers and/or gifts to them. At Tet, they do not bring flowers but only gifts.

Nowadays, Vietnamese people celebrate Valentine’s day popularly. Lovers gifts chocolates and flowers to each other. In addition, they also gift cakes, jewelry, cosmetics, clothes, accessories, books, furniture, stuffed animals (or heart), decor items. Read more about Top 10+ Gifts for Vietnamese Girlfriend on Valentine’s Day.

handbags for girlfriend on Valentines' day - Vietnamese Gifts Etiquettes

Your Vietnamese will definitely like accessories such as handbags.

When Vietnamese people may get married to foreigners moved to other countries, worked, studied in other countries and return to Vietnam, they do not forget buying some souvenirs including banknotes, specialty foods, magnets, decor items relating to the countries. Tourists do not forget to buy some souvenirs and specialty foods and gift them to members of their families, friends, partners, lovers, etc.

When you meet your partners at their companies, houses, coffee shops or restaurants, you can bring them some gifts. If your partner is a man, tie, shirt, pen, wine are good gifts. If your partner is a woman, you can present her a silk scarf, lipstick, cosmetic and lovely small decor items.

Ties are great gifts for Vietnamese men - Vietnamese Gifts Etiquettes

Ties are great gifts for Vietnamese men.

At Chrismas, you can give warm clothes and accessories such as coats, gloves, scarfs to adults, give toys and books to children.

You can present people around you, especially your girlfriend for no reason or on no special occasion. Sometimes, small gifts make them surprised.

Gifts depend on ages and genders

Children love to be gifted sweets (chocolates, cakes, candies), toys and books.

Women likes flowers, jewelry, clothes, accessories, cosmetics, decor items, sweets. Old women prefer something classic and styles. Most of the young women including your Vietnamese girlfriend, her sisters and female friends like something modern.

Old men like tea, coffee, shirts, tie. Young men like fashionable clothes, accessories, books, pens. Many Vietnamese men like Vietnamese or imported wines.

tea - Vietnamese Gifts Etiquettes

Vietnamese old men like drinking strong tea – Vietnamese Gifts Etiquettes

Gifts for the whole family include specialty foods, baskets of fruits, gift combos, cakes, wines, tea, coffees, soft drinks, etc.

Children will be happy to receive stationery sets and toys - Vietnamese Gifts Etiquettes

Children will be happy to receive stationery sets and toys.

Gifts you should not give in Vietnam

Gifting watches to the elderly is not a good idea. Some Vietnamese old people are aware of the death. Watches remind them about the time and their ages.

Handkerchief is not a lucky gift to your lovers because it means the parting, breaking up, being separated. Some Vietnamese people believe that a handkerchief is for drying tears, it represents sadness or unhappy love. According to other people, a handkerchief is for drying sweat, it reminds of difficulties.

Do not present sharp items such as knives, saw blades, swords, paper knives, scissors or decor items in shapes of the listed items. These things may “cut” good relationships between givers and receivers.

Some Vietnamese people think that it is great to receive shoes as gifts. Some people think that shoes bring bad lucks to receivers or make them go far away.

Vietnamese people do not want to receive items made of metals that bring bad luck to them at Tet festival.

Lovers should not gift luggage bags or suitcases which means the receivers will leave for somewhere soon.

Some Vietnamese girls are not happy with receiving rings at Tet festival.

Roses with big thorns are not good choices because thorns represent danger and hurt.

Presenting any Vietnamese person with underwear is considered rude. Underwear represents sex and gender in Vietnam. A bra for your Vietnamese girlfriend means she is too easy-going on you.

Fish tanks represent God of prosperity, it is a good Feng shui item. But it is not good for all people. It may bring good or bad luck to receivers.

Do not gift other people new empty wallets. If givers put some money into new wallets, then gift them to receivers, the wallets with money will bring good luck to receivers.

Shoes, suitcases, rings (at Tet), money (Vietnamese Dong), wallets, God of Wealth statues, umbrellas, pears, plumps, candles, fabric dolls, masks, antiques, pillows are things you should not gift Vietnamese people. Learn more about 10+ Gifts you should not give and why Vietnamese people do not like these gifts HERE.

Never gift sharp items - Vietnamese Gifts Etiquettes

Never gift sharp items.

Do not gift an elderly a watch - Vietnamese Gifts Etiquettes

Do not gift an elderly a watch.

never gift suitcase - Vietnamese Gifts Etiquettes

Gifting a suitcase or travel bag, receivers may understand that you would like to see off your girlfriend someday.

Shoes are not a good gift in Vietnam - Vietnamese Gifts Etiquettes

Shoes are not a good gift in Vietnam.

Read more about:

10+ Gifts You Should Never, Ever Give Vietnamese people

Top 10+ flowers you should and shouldn’t give Vietnamese people

Number and gift in Vietnam

Number 13 is not a good number in Vietnam. A basket containing 13 fruits is not a good gift in Vietnam.

Do not choose a gift containing 4 items. Number four is pronounced “bốn” or “tứ”, which is similar to “tử” which means dead in English. A set of 4 statues, a set of 4 cups are not good choices. A set of 1 teapot and 4 cups is a good idea.

four number means death - Vietnamese Gifts Etiquettes

Do not gift four flowers, fruits or any set containing four items because four number means death.

Tips on how to wrap and pack your gifts

Most of the Vietnamese people do not like gifts wrapped in dark-colored wraps. So that do not wrap your gifts with dark-colored wraps or wraps with scared patterns. Bright colors and lucky colors include red, pink, green, silver, golden, blue, etc. Black or white wraps should not be used because these colors are used in Vietnamese funerals.

You should choose beautiful patterns such as heart, bird, floral, leaf, dragon, phoenix patterns. Nice ribbon flowers or bows will make the gift nice-looking. However, wraps with ghost, devil, spider, bone patterns are suitable for a Halloween gift.

You can ask the staff in supermarkets, souvenir and gift shops, bookstores to wrap the gifts for you. Or you can wrap the gifts yourself.

The supermarkets and gift stores usually sell gift combos, gift sets packed and wrapped for special occasions such as Tet festival, Full-moon festival, Valentine’s day, Teacher’s day, Women’s day. For example, you do not need to wrap a box of moon cakes in a paper packaging package with beautiful patterns.

A basket of fruits is usually wrapped with transparent plastic wrapped. Sellers usually give you both jewelry, an elegant box and sometimes paper package in Vietnam. So that you can skip wrapping jewelry.

How to give a gift in a proper way in Vietnam

Do not put your gift on the floor but hand it to the receiver. If she/he can not receive it with her hands, you can put it on a table or chair.

After or before giving gifts, you can shake the receiver’s hand or hug him/her. You should not shake hands or hug a female receiver. Certainly, kissing or hugging your lover when you give them the gifts are acceptable.

Say something when you give them gifts.

Do not forget to smile when giving gifts.

Do not unwrap or ask the receiver to unwrap the gift right after giving is the gift is wrapped. However, if she/he is your close friend, lover, a family’s member, or a child you can ask them to do that.

Younger givers should give gifts to older receivers with two hands - Vietnamese Gifts Etiquettes

Younger givers should give gifts to older receivers with two hands. A smile is more valuable than any expensive gift.

How to receive a gift in a proper way in Vietnam?

Receive the gift with your two hands.

If the giver stands and gives you the gifts, you should stand up to receive the gifts.

Put the gift on the table, chair, on ancestral altars, or bring it to other rooms. Do not put the gift on the floor.

Do not open/unwrap the gift if the giver does not request.

Do not forget to say thank to the giver. Cảm ơn (Thank you), Cảm ơn nhiều nhé (Thank you so much) are the most popular phrases.

Read more about Do and Don’t when gift-giving in Vietnam.

How much I should spend on gifts in Vietnam?

In Vietnamese traditional culture, gifts are formal and they represent the love and intention of givers. The value of gifts are not important. Poor people bring cheap gifts, rich people buy expensive gifts.

Some people like expensive items such as imported wines, luxurious jewelry or luxurious fashion brands. Some people like cheap gifts which represent good intention of givers. They even do not like expensive gifts.

Expensive gifts are recommended to present your partners in order to sign important contracts. However, simple gifts may impress new partners and everything will be better.

You should learn about the preferences of receivers. A coffee lover does not like any gift than a pack of great coffee. A simple woman do not like luxurious bracelets or earrings. A kid who loves books prefers good books to lots of cakes.

In summary, many Vietnamese people do not consider prices of gifts. Knowing receivers’ hobbies, choosing right gifts, expressing your love and respect for them are the most valuable gifts in the world.

 - Vietnamese Gifts Etiquettes

What to say when giving gifts in Vietnam?

It will be a long list of phrases to say when giving gifts in the country. The short and most popular phrases are as follows:

At Tet festival: Chúc mừng năm mới (Happy new year); Chúc bác/anh/chị/em/cô/dì sức khỏe (I wish you good health); Vạn sự như ý (myriad things go according to your will).

At Fullmoon festival: Chúc trung thu vui vẻ (Happy Fullmoon festival); Chúc Tết trung thu đoàn viên (I wish you a reunited Fullmoon festival).

On death anniversaries: Em gửi chị cúng bác (This gift is for the dead person).

On a first birthday anniversary: Chúc con mau lớn (I wish you grow fast), Chúc con khỏe mạnh (I wish you good health).

On wedding day: Chúc bạn Trăm năm hạnh phúc (I wish you to be happy for one hundred years).

On open new house celebration: Mừng anh chị tân gia nhà mới hạnh phúc, sung túc, sức khỏe (Congratulation for new house, I wish you happiness and abundance of wealth and health.

At a funeral: I am so sorry (Xin chia buồn cùng anh/chị)

When you visit a host or hostess and give them a gift, you can say: Tôi có mang món quà, mong anh chị vui lòng nhận (I bring you a gift, I hope you are happy to receive my gift).

Visiting girlfriend’s family for the first time: Con có món quà biếu gia đình (I have a gift for the family).

When you visit a patient: Chúc anh/chị sức khỏe (I wish you good health), Chúc anh/chị mau lành bệnh (I hope you will be fine soon).

Happy birthday anniversary: Chúc sinh nhật vui vẻ (Happy birthday), Chúc anh/chị tuổi mới nhiều niềm vui/sức khỏe (I wish you happiness/good health as you turn a new age).

On International women’s day (8th March) or Vietnamese women’s day (20th October):

On Teacher’s day (20th November) and the 3rd day of the lunar January – the Tet teacher’s day, Vietnamese people visit their teachers and bring some flowers and/or gifts to them. At Tet, they do not bring flowers but only gifts.

On Valentine’s day: Anh yêu em (I love you), Anh yêu em mãi mãi (I love you forever).

Return from other countries or a trip: Tôi/anh/em/cháu chọn cho bạn/anh/chị/em/cô món quà này ở … (I chose this souvenir from… for you .

When you gift your partners: Anh nhận giúp em món quà như tấm lòng em (Please accept this gift as my heart).

At Chrismas: Giáng sinh vui vẻ (Merry Chrismas).

Vietnamese Gifts Etiquettes on summary

Did you think that it was difficult to choose a gift for your Vietnamese friend, girlfriend, partner and other people around you? Does this article help you to learn more about Vietnamese Gifts Etiquettes? In summary, the value of the gift is not of concern but the way you give it is the most important. Smiles and some Vietnamese words will definitely make the receivers happy. Check if the price tag was removed, the gift is one of the gifts you should never give a Vietnamese person.


  1. Keith Williamson March 2, 2021
  2. Harris June 11, 2021

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