Ask the Yangxifu: Birthday Gifts for Chinese Men | Speaking of China

18 Responses

  1. sean
    sean February 25, 2011 at 6:08 am | | Reply

    If he likes to read, a really nice bookmark (not expensive, just unique and nice). If he writes a lot (doubtful given everyone types nowadays but throwing it out there anyways), a good pen. Something that he might use daily so he would be using it and remember you.

  2. Jessica
    Jessica February 25, 2011 at 8:00 am | | Reply

    How about a nice watch, if you could afford it? With an engraving on the back?

    Men are hard to shop for, Chinese or not. My husband is impossible. He always says he doesn’t want/need anything. He loves gadgets so they’re always a safe bet but not very personal and they don’t really scream “remember me.”

    In your case since he might not see you again I’d go for something keepsake-y. A nice wallet, business card holder, or a good man-purse, sorry, messenger bag (!) are all good ideas too.

  3. Brian
    Brian February 25, 2011 at 11:20 am | | Reply

    Honestly to tell you the truth, as a Canadian born Chinese, we are actually not offended with “lucky money”. It saves so much headache and trouble for the person trying to buy the gift. When it comes to gadgets we know which one we want, and if it requires a lot of technical knowledge then you’re just better off with a gift certificate or money.

    If you feel inclined to give more thought into it then you can go two routes: The practical route, or the quirky geeky route. We love them both.

    While the practical route is things like listed above, there’s the utterly memorable stuff. Actually is a fantastic resource for quirky goods. They have things for every single geek.

    The only thing that is absolutely taboo is clocks. NEVER EVER give a clock/watch as a gift to a Chinese person (maybe Asian, but definately Chinese). It’s a reference to saying “Time to die”. So anything that symbolizes death is also bad. 🙂

    – Brian

  4. BRUCE
    BRUCE February 25, 2011 at 1:31 pm | | Reply

    Whenever my wife goes shopping, she buys clothes for me except for shoes ( I like to select my styles). Usually, if you have your own home, men like tools. I don’t know if other Chinese men like to fix things but I do :).

  5. Sarah
    Sarah February 25, 2011 at 2:38 pm | | Reply

    Bruce, My boyfriend also likes fixing things, if a shelf fell down or got loose he would take out a hammer and start banging it around. or even I wear glasses the odd time the tiny screw becomes loose he likes to use his tiny screwdriver to fix it. He especially loves making things so Ikea is great for buying things to make I am not sure if you have that in the US. But anyway tools don’t really scream remember me forever….

    But yes definitely I agree with what you have above, I especially like your wallet idea, because every man likes a good wallet

  6. Shannon
    Shannon February 25, 2011 at 6:21 pm | | Reply

    All good ideas! I would offer two ‘warnings’ though!

    When I FIRST started dating my husband I bought him a mug for Christmas…he loves to drink tea and it was a pair so I thought we could each have one! What I didn’t know was that ‘beizi’ or cup, had another meaning, “lifetime” so I was apparently telling him that I wanted to spend my life with him! Wow…nobody warned me about that! 😉 Also, I love Jocelyn’s idea about the birthday cake but make sure you get one that’s not too sweet…a lot of Chinese guys don’t grow up eating many sweets. I recently made birthday muffins for my husband. 🙂

    Happy shopping!!

  7. Jessica
    Jessica February 26, 2011 at 12:22 am | | Reply

    Haha I totally forgot about the clock thing! Scratch the watch idea then.

  8. Henry Yeh
    Henry Yeh February 26, 2011 at 9:47 am | | Reply

    送鐘 corhymes with 送終,a big no-no.

  9. ordinary malaysian
    ordinary malaysian February 26, 2011 at 3:22 pm | | Reply

    Brian is right. To give watch/clock as a gift is taboo to the Chinese. Here, the Hokkiens call it “sway”, bad luck. A nice wallet may be a good idea if the guy likes you, as something to remember you by.

  10. BRUCE
    BRUCE February 26, 2011 at 4:10 pm | | Reply

    Asian people don’t like their cakes and desserts too sweet and too creamy. We like them light. Seriously, men don’t shop often. My wife buys all my shirts and pants for me because she knows my size. All the tools , fresh and salt water fishing tackles , firearms ( personal hobby), plants & trees and outdoor living stuff etc, I take care of those items. Whatever she buys I wear unless it’s pink color..well.. I wore a pink reddish shirt that she bought for me :).

  11. Holly
    Holly February 26, 2011 at 11:09 pm | | Reply

    What about masculine jewelry, or is this something that’s a taboo thing as well? haha~

  12. funny
    funny February 27, 2011 at 4:59 am | | Reply

    take his virginity will alway be a good gift.

  13. Holly
    Holly February 28, 2011 at 2:25 pm | | Reply

    @Jocelyn: Do you think you can post the cake recipe? I might not have time to buy a gift before Friday. (ACT testing this week at school.)
    (I asked my friend if he likes cake and he said he does.) I know he doesn’t like sweet things, because when it was Mid-Autumn festival, I bought moon cake and he told me he doesn’t like it because it’s too sweet.

  14. Elisa
    Elisa September 20, 2016 at 1:55 pm | | Reply

    Hi Jocelyn!
    I have a major crush on a Chinese coworker, but I’m having a hard time figuring out the cultural differences. When visiting home, he brougth me back a gift, a perfume. So I have two questions:

    1. How should I interpret the gift? Is it just a present ir could it mean something else?

    2. His birthday is in less than two months. Is it correct for me to give him a perfume as well?


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