How To Avoid Making These Gift Giving Mistakes In Korea

Gift giving is truly an art.

Thinking about cultural differences, it might be difficult to know what kind of gifts you should give to your friends in Korea. After all, you don’t want to give them something that could offend them or hurt their feelings, right?

Luckily, vlogger and Korea resident Megan Bowen is here to help us avoid any potential faux pas when gift-giving!

1. Don’t gift anything slippery to students taking the suneung (Korean college entrance exam)

During the English-listening portion of the test, airplanes are not allowed to take off or land.


So while you want to avoid giving slippery gifts, Megan shares that one of the most popular gifts to give during this period because it’s sticky is rice cake!

Yakbap | Source: My Korean Kitchen

2. Don’t give too big of a gift for a situation

In Korea, they’re about, like, a give and take society. Like, if somebody gives them something, they kind of always want to give you something back, like of equal value, in return. Rather than giving them a large, expensive gift, it’s good to give something you can enjoy together, like food.


3. First birthday gifts aren’t what you expect

For a child’s first birthday (actually the second birthday in Korea), people typically give cash, a toy, or even a cute outfit, however, traditionally in Korea, you would give the child a gold ring on their first birthday! (Although Megan notes in recent years, cash has become more popular and acceptable to give as a gift because raising children is expensive!)

Source: Bullionfrenzy/Etsy

4. Gifting for weddings

When you gift for weddings, you’ll give the money in an envelope. When you gift, you have to make sure that you pick the appropriate envelope for the occasion.

The money envelope I gave said ‘condolences’.


Source: Eggbun/Medium


Check out Megan’s video for some great Korean puns and additional interesting information as well.