Receiving a present - what are your traditions/unwritten rules?

@Porcospino (16428)
Denmark
July 25, 2010 4:44am CST
One of my friends from another country told me about some of their traditions. When they receive a present they are not supposed to open it in front of the giver, instead they send the giver a written thank you letter. In Denmark you are usually expected to open a present straight away, because the giver wants to know if you like it or not, and it is consdered polite to thank the giver as soon as you open the present. If you receive a present by mail, you can send a written thank you letter, call the person or thank person when you meet him/her. At weddings or big birthday parties when there are a lot of presents, we don't usually thank the person straight away. That is hard to do when there are many people and many presents, and in those cases we usually send a written thank you card to the giver after the party. What is it like in your country? It is polite or impolite to open a present in front of the giver? Do you use written thank you cards, or do you usually call the person instead? Do you have any other traditions or unwritten rules about presents?
4 responses
@Torunn (2810)
• Norway
25 Jul 10
The ones I know are "Never ask the price". Obviously "Never leave the price tag on". "Try to give present of about the same price as the one you got last year". Which can be difficult since you're not supposed to ask the price ... Say thank you at the next opportunity I guess. My friends with children sometimes make lists to remember who gave the children what since they get so many presents. I sometimes do things a bit differently when it comes to presentation. I never wrap it if I can avoid. One thing is that I hate wrapping presents, another thing is that gift wrapping paper is very bad for the enviroment so I usually use a bag of some sort, for Christmas I use news papers with Christmas stickers because then you can just put it straight into the fire :-) And I make personalized cards with pictures I've taken myself.
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@Porcospino (16428)
• Denmark
25 Jul 10
Yes, we are not supposed to ask the giver how expensive the present was, and we must remember to remove the price tag, I have forgotten about that a couple of time and then I had to unwrap the present in order to remove the price tag My friend once received a book as a present, and on the first page she found the words: "Happy birthday, Gitte"... but my friend's name was Nina, and Gitte was the name of the girl who gave her the book. She had received it at her own birthday, but she didn't like it, so she gave it to my friend instead. Unfortuneately she forgot to remove her own name! It is a good idea to use a bag instead of wrapping paper. I sometimes do that as well. I know that some people recycle the wrapping paper, but most people just put it straight in the garbage.
@Torunn (2810)
• Norway
25 Jul 10
You can't recycle the glittery wrapping paper you get here, to get the right colour etc they don't really use paper but heavy metals and other bad stuff. There's some other ones that have more paper and less bad stuff but they're more expensieve so you know that when you get free wrapping paper in a shop you'll normally get something you can't recycle.
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@Porcospino (16428)
• Denmark
25 Jul 10
We also have different kinds of wrapping paper. Some of it is very thin, and it easily gets damaged. The other kind of wrapping paper is better and it can often be recycled, but most people don't think about recycling it, they tend to put it straight in the garbage bin.
@katiesueg (259)
• Italy
25 Jul 10
In Italy people normally open presents in front of the giver as soon as they are given. If it is a wedding present, the couple usually give a small present as well to all the wedding guests as a souvenir of their wedding. these small gifts have almond cadies called confetti attached and they are called bombonieri. There certain things that should not be given as presents: namely pearls or handkerchiefs. The belief is those gifts will bring tears to the receivers.
@Porcospino (16428)
• Denmark
26 Jul 10
I think it is a nice idea to give the guest a souvenir from the wedding. We don't have that tradition in my country. We don't have any beliefs about pearls and handerchiefs either, or if we do I have never heard about it. We are not supposed to give a knife as a present, because according to the beliefs that might ruin the relationship between the giver and receiver. The receiver has to buy the knife for a symbolic amount like a few cents.
• Philippines
25 Jul 10
Either of the two. But it depends on the situations. If it is given in a party, the recipients send thank you cards or call/text the giver or can thank in person. If the gift is given and there's no other guests then you can choose to open it right away or prolonged the suspense and wait til the giver is away
@Porcospino (16428)
• Denmark
25 Jul 10
That is interesting, because it is a bit different from my country. If we receive a present and there are no other guests, the giver would find it a bit strange if we don't open it straight away. If we don't open it the giver might think that we didn't appreciate it, because in our country it is a tradition to open a present straight way and thank the giver straight away.
26 Jul 10
Stick to what the giver asks of you. specifically relating to birthday and christmas gifts the giver may ask that you open it immediately or wait until the specified day, and you should agree to whichever. As for giving thanks for the present it would depend upon your relationship with the giver. If they give it directly to you then you can simply thank them immediately. However if they mail the gift to you it depends on your relationship with them. if it is a friend a phone-call or email will do. if however it is a gift from a company, your boss et cetera it may be more prudent to send a written letter of thanks.
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