Gifts to Buy Abroad for Chinese Family/Relatives | Speaking of China

24 Responses

  1. Susan
    Susan November 19, 2010 at 11:06 am | | Reply

    This is a great list! Other things we’ve brought that have gone over well include gum, dark chocolate, airplane mini-sized liquor and liqeuers, peanut butter, and shoes! The latter two items were by request from family members who knew they couldn’t find the same quality (for the price) in China, so we happily obliged.

  2. Li Lan
    Li Lan November 19, 2010 at 1:10 pm | | Reply

    Coming from a family of medical professionals who stressed the benefits of breastfeeding, it’ s sad that China’s gone milk powder crazy. I remember when I was working as the manager of international housing in Illinois, the grandparents’ first English word when they arrived there was always “formula”. Always. It was depressing.

  3. jin feng
    jin feng November 20, 2010 at 12:51 pm | | Reply


    So I have looked for a present for my guy, I wanted to get something little, perhaps lucky, appropriate for the little time we have known eachother.

    And the thing I found was a beautiful box of yin yang incense holder with incense in beautiful flower candles.

    I can’t figure out if this is auspicious or not? On one hand fire burning can be a good thing (but on the other hand it will always burn out) and i most deffinetly do not want our relationship to burn out…

    So are there any cultural myths about candles and incense for gifts?

    I really don’t want to look like I am trying too hard, and plus I had trouble as it is getting him to accept a melon, let alone anything else. haha I was going to accompany this little gifts set with chocolate, as there is so little in China! Although, I don’t want to be too suggestive, as I believe that he still has alot of work left to woo me! (even though I am his forever anyway, but he doesn’t have to know that!) hehe

    LOoking forward to your feedback.

    Many thanks,

  4. Crystal
    Crystal November 21, 2010 at 3:19 am | | Reply

    Every time when my readers ask about gifts for future Chinese in-laws, I refer them to your gifts-giving guide.
    Congratulations with the new version: Jocelyn’s Giftsgiving Guide 2.0 !

  5. melanie gao
    melanie gao November 21, 2010 at 9:53 pm | | Reply

    Excellent list as always, Jocelyn! I’m glad you reminded people to check what country an item was made in – some people really do not want anything made in Japan. And I’ve gotten some strange looks when I give people in China a gift that was made in China, exported to the U.S., and then I brought it back to China. But often that item can’t be bought in China. Crazy.

    We give away lots of chocolates here in China. They go over well with almost anyone, any age.

  6. adam
    adam November 23, 2010 at 12:17 am | | Reply

    Name brand bags or clothes. I know lots of people have the trip to USA will carry back bags and clothes. I was told a LEE Jean was sold much higher, double or tripple higer in China.

  7. American Family
    American Family November 30, 2010 at 6:52 am | | Reply

    I have a couple questions about electronics:
    1) Are digital picture frames widely available in China? We are giving someone a digital camera and it seems like a nice gift for his wife, but I am afraid that they are available everywhere like they are here.

    2) How do you deal with plugs? We are bringing a netbook as a gift and it has a US plug. Do I need to buy an adapter here or is that something that is widely available in China?\

    I have spent a crazy amount of time stressing over gifts, so this post is a huge help!

  8. AmericanFamily
    AmericanFamily December 3, 2010 at 5:03 am | | Reply

    Thanks for the advice! This gift-buying stress is sucking some of the fun out of my trip-planning, but I am almost done I think. Now I just have to figure out how to cram all that stuff into my suitcase.

  9. Chrissy Jee
    Chrissy Jee December 4, 2010 at 10:47 pm | | Reply

    These are great gift ideas. You are exactly right about the vitamin supplements. I am an independent distributor of the American nutritional supplements, Shaklee. We recently started distributing in China and I have so much business there. They love the access to the American brand.

  10. Alexandra
    Alexandra December 8, 2010 at 4:06 pm | | Reply

    Thank you for this post! So relevant to what I am going through. Leave in a week to visit my Chinese boyfriend, along with friends and their families. I am excited about being able to share my Christmas tradition with all my friends. I am thinking of buying Crown Royal and pot of gold chocolates for my good friends families. Curious though, If I bring them these things from Canada will they feel inclined to have to buy something for me?? I really don’t want to put that pressure on them, just want them to enjoy.

    I can’t hardly believe about the formula??!! My best friends sister JUST had a baby boy.. should I grab some formula before I head over there?? Really??

    1. Darren
      Darren August 18, 2013 at 7:37 pm | | Reply

      Did they like the Crown Royal? I was thinking about bringing it as a gift as well 🙂

  11. Terri
    Terri March 4, 2011 at 3:20 pm | | Reply

    My family hosted a Chinese exchange student who has returned home. I would like to send some gifts to his father, mother and grandmother but I don’t know anything about them except that they are his family! I don’t know if they would like coffee, or lotions or alcohol. I know the mother is a teacher and the father is a mangager and a maufacturing plant. But that is all I know. We sent him home with books from our area and sports wear for our local high schoool and college teams. Should I send the ginsing and lotion? Thanks.

  12. Tuan Oflaherty
    Tuan Oflaherty April 4, 2011 at 3:13 am | | Reply

    We stumbled over here from a different web page and thought I may as well check things out. I like what I see so now i am following you. Look forward to going over your web page repeatedly.

  13. Benji Ming
    Benji Ming December 11, 2013 at 11:09 pm | | Reply

    Excellent list! Bookmarked. (I’ll be coming back to this one for sure. 🙂 Now that I’m back working in America much of the year I need to think about gifts going TO China, not just FROM China.

  14. Angelique
    Angelique May 14, 2016 at 11:32 am | | Reply

    I will be traveling with a Tour group and making a home visit but I don’t know anything about the family. It is summer so no chocolate. Can you make some suggestions?

  15. Neo
    Neo December 3, 2016 at 11:25 am | | Reply

    I have a classmate who recently moved from China. He’s a guy and I think I’m his first friend in Canada here. Would it be alright to buy him a black pair of leather gloves? He won’t wear the ones his dad bought him (his dad’s white, or maybe they’re too bulky to be stylish) I really want to give them to him, because it’s winter now and he will get a nasty shock if he doesn’t start dressing for the weather!

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