Week by week, we're working our way around the globe...
In our previous Friday blogs about cross-cultural gifting, we've established why finding a gift for your friends from other lands can be a minefield of potential social and cultural faux pas. Stick with us and we'll help you avoid such frustrations (and embarrassments)... this week, in Ireland.
Personal Gift Giving:
Gift giving in Ireland is customary at birthdays and Christmas, however, if you are invited to someone's home, a host/ess gift will be appreciated. Appropriate gifts include flowers, chocolates, cheese, and wines. Indeed, the gift need not be expensive -- it's the thought that counts. Giving something personal and thoughtful is more important.
- When giving flowers, don't give lilies as they are reserved for religious occasions.
- Don't give White flowers as they tend to symbolize death.
- Gifts are generally opened in front of the giver.
- When receiving a gift, it is customary to politely refuse the gift when it is first offered -- and when giving a gift to someone, expect him or her to do the same. Continue to insist and by the third offering, it will be happily accepted.
- The same is true when offered a gift of hospitality: refuse it once and maybe twice. The third time it is offered, you should accept. (This custom is said to have come from the days of the Potato Famine. Although people had nothing to offer, they could offer the hospitality of a cup of tea or other without embarrassment. By offering a third time, the recipient was assured that accepting the gift would not cause the giver hardship.)
Business Gift Giving:
Corporate gifts are typically not exchanged in Irish business culture. However, for business social events, small gifts are appropriate. A bottle of wine or a gift from your home country/region will be welcomed.
Much business is conducted on the golf course, so golf gifts are popular -- and even more appreciated when customized with the logo or identity of your home club.
- For the lyrical and poetic Irish, speaking is an art form. Though generally straight-talking and sincere, the Irish are known for finding humor in all situations. Insults are often traded among friends. If you will be visiting Ireland, expect to be teased. And if you are, take it as a sign of acceptance, and it's appropriate to tease back if done in a good-natured way.
There are lots of other #funfacts to learn as our blog treks around the globe. Join us here next Friday as we discuss gift giving in Italy!