Multicultural Holiday Gift Etiquette
Once you befriend, move to, or marry into a family with a different culture than yours, it is important to consider the cultural appropriateness of the gifts you are giving.
You want to make sure that you are culturally conscious and this can indeed make all the holiday fanfare even more nerve-racking.
Additionally, just because you have multicultural friends and family does not mean they automatically want to celebrate their multiculturalism explicitly, or that you have an open invitation to celebrate their holiday with them.
That’s why the nature of your relationship is essential when it comes to multicultural gift-giving.
Furthermore, when shopping for multicultural holiday gifts for children, consider double-checking with the parent(s) to ensure that your gift selection is suitable.
As you’ll find in the multicultural holiday gift guide for children, below, there are a lot of really amazing multicultural toys, books, and apparel gifts for kids.
Nevertheless, parents likely have ideas about how they want to teach their children to celebrate their culture and heritage.
As a result, some gifts (like traditional clothing or books about cultural identity) may warrant getting more specifics from parents first.
Understanding The Symbolism In Gift-Giving
Notably, symbolism is important in many cultures and is also very different in various cultural spaces. Therefore, it can create tricky multicultural gift-giving situations because well-intended gifts can be negatively received. For example, while leather goods are popular gifts during the holidays.
Giving leather gifts to multicultural friends and family who are of Indian heritage may be offensive.
If they adhere to strict cultural beliefs about leather (getting something made out of leather is very insulting) since cows are considered sacred.
Similarly, the wrapping choices you make for multicultural gifts can be as important as the gift itself.
Since traditional holiday colors in one culture may signify death or bad luck in others. For example, the colors black and white are considered unlucky colors across South Asia.
That’s why, when holiday shopping for multicultural friends and family, it’s essential to consider the ways that religion and different cultural beliefs and practices impact the practice of gift-giving.
While it is rarely harmful to want to include someone in your own celebrations, it is also essential to be aware of the recipients’ culture. This way, you don’t make a well-meaning mistake in your multicultural gift-giving efforts.
The Top 7 Multicultural Gifts For Adult Friends & Family
Hence when shopping for gifts for multicultural friends and family, it’s crucial to consider the specific variables of their culture and their relationship with where they’re living.
For new immigrants, expats, and transplants, being away from home for the holidays (especially their holidays) can be isolating.
Gifting people reminders of home and making an effort to learn and celebrate the things they’re missing can be incredibly kind and well appreciated. Even for people who have lived where they are for a long time.
For those who never lived abroad but still have a strong family connection to their culture, being curious about their traditions, holidays, and celebrations can be a great gift in and of itself.
With this in mind, the top five multicultural holiday gifts for adult friends and family are as follows.
- Food gifts—Who does not love a taste of home? Try a food gift basket featuring items from their home country.
- Novelty multicultural apparel
- Traditional textiles and clothing
- Custom photobooks
- Traditional souvenirs from their culture—Some examples are specialty tea, paintings, and decorative items, etc.
- Useful home goods/kitchen items
- An item or gesture that indicates you know the recipient’s hobbies or interests. An example of a gesture is giving to a charity or cause that the recipient supports.
Excellent Gifts For Multicultural Kids
Accordingly, diversity in children’s literature, media, and toys has been proven over and over again to be essential to the emotional health and confidence of multicultural kids.
Some of the best multicultural gifts for kids are those that embrace and represent multicultural characters without calling them out for being different than anybody else.
Instead, multicultural gifts show that multicultural characters are just as capable of being princesses, explorers, adventurers, and superheroes, etc. It’s also great to give multicultural kids culturally appropriate clothing. Find books with multicultural (lead) characters. And also, merchandise from kids television shows and movies that feature powerful, well-developed multicultural characters.
Here are five excellent types of gifts for multicultural kids:
- Toys: A diversity toybox is a great gift for all families, not just parents of multicultural kids. That’s why intentionally diverse multicultural toys, like Hearts For Hearts Girls Dolls, are wonderful.
- Books: Children need to grow up seeing people who look like them in the books they read. Here is an excellent list of multicultural books for kids.
- Culturally enriching subscription boxes: Examples of great cultural learning subscription boxes for kids are Little passports, Little global citizens and Toka box.
- Games and Puzzles: Look for games for kids to play to learn about other cultures such as The Passport to Culture game, Eeboo’s I Never Forget Face matching memory game, and Melissa and Doug Children of the World Floor Puzzle.
- Clothing: Time-honored, culturally-based clothing for kids can be found online or at a local retail store in your area. Make sure to get the clothing size and other specifics from the parents beforehand.
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