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Answers to the Here Are Some “Bad” Christmas Gifts You Should Never Give in China

Dec. 22, 2014

Answer: C

Gifts play an important role in Chinese culture. They allow Chinese people to demonstrate respect for elders and superiors, to show their commitment to and enthusiasm for maintaining close relations with family and friends. Gifts also play an important role in building new networks. What one expresses in a gift is especially auspicious during special Festivals.

Christmas Day is coming! You may want to give gifts to your Chinese friends to share your happiness with them. However, do you know what kind of gifts are appropriate for Chinese people and what gifts are not appropriate? Let’s learn about this in today’s lesson and then you can pick up the right Christmas gift for your Chinese friends.

The following are gifts you should never buy for a Chinese.


According to Chinese custom, it is taboo to give someone a clock as a gift. The Chinese word for clock is “钟(zhōng)” which sounds exactly like the Chinese word “终(zhōng).” Thus, giving someone a clock means “送钟(sònggzhōng) give a clock,” which shares the same pronunciation with the word“送终(sònggzhōn)”- a funeral ritual in China. Due to the similarity of these words and the connotation of death that is implied, a Chinese person would never give another Chinese person a clock as a gift.


Offering your friend an umbrella may seem like an innocent gesture. However, it means you want to end your friendship with him or her. The pronunciation of umbrella is similar to “散 (sàn)” meaning to break up in Chinese.

绿帽子(lǜ màozi)
Green hat

Another thing that you should be aware of is not to give anyone, especially a man, a green hat as a gift. If we say a man “戴绿帽(dài lǜmào) wears a green hat,” then it implies that his wife is unfaithful. So a green hat on a man indicates that he is a cuckold.


First, the Chinese word for “鞋(xié) shoes” sounds like “邪(xié) evil,” which naturally prompts negative thoughts and feelings in people. Secondly, shoes are something trampled underfoot. Thirdly, if the shoes are small, it would remind people of the traditional Chinese phrase “穿小鞋(chuān xiǎo xié) wearing small shoes,” meaning “to create difficulties for others.” So “鞋(xié) shoes” should be avoided as gifts in China.

However, wine, cigarettes, peaches, and tea are popular and appropriate for Chinese people.

After this lesson, we now know, “绿帽子(lǜ màozi)” and “钟(zhōng)” are bad as gifts, but “红酒(hóngjiǔ)” is good. So the answer to this test is C.

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