Germany is a conservative country, in their tastes for gifts, as well as food and more. If you are traveling to Germany or giving a gift to a German native, there are some things you might want to know before choosing the gift. While they are conservative in tastes, quality gifts of the right type are appreciated.
Read more in our gift giving etiquette series:
Germany Gift Giving Customs
- When invited into their home, it’s custom to give the woman flowers and the man a bottle of wine. You can also have the flowers wrapped as a gift at the shop for a nice touch.
- It’s customary for the receiver to open the gift when it is received.
- Christmas gifts are opened by children on Christmas Eve, once any religious celebrations and customs are done.
Giving Gifts to Germans
- If you are staying in a family’s home, you can choose books about your country for their coffee table or other things from your country that they might find interesting.
- Sometimes a good quality silk scarf is a good gift for the woman of the house.
- Make sure to send a thank you card to the host or hostess for inviting you into their home.
Business Gift Giving Customs & Etiquette in Germany
- Small gifts are polite, especially when first meeting someone. They aren’t always expected, but they will be appreciated.
- If you get a substantial gift, avoid giving it in private. Any substantial gifts should be given in an official and public setting. They may be misconstrued.
- Good quality pens and quality office items with your company’s logo on them are good choices as gifts.
Gift Giving Occasions in Germany
- May Day
- Mother’s Day
- Father’s Day
- Weinfests in July/August
- Schultute (the first day of school)
- St. Nicholas Day – December 6th
- New Year’s Eve
Gift Giving Tips in Germany
- Shops tend to close early on Saturdays and Sunday shopping is rare. Therefore, you may want to plan your gift shopping ahead of time.
- Credit cards are rarely accepted at restaurants, so if you are paying for a restaurant meal, you need to ask the waiter.
- Yellow roses and tea roses are good choices for gifts.
- Make sure you are giving wine imported from France or Italy, as German wine is considered cheap and distasteful as a gift.
Gift Giving Don’ts in Germany
- Don’t give substantial gifts in private.
- Avoid red roses as they are seen as romantic gifts.
- Carnations should be avoided as well, as they are for mourning.
- Pointed objects of any kind, not just knives, are seen as bad luck for wedding gifts. Money is also a bad gift for a wedding, unless you are a family member.
- Avoid things that are obviously pricey, as this may make the receiver feel like they owe you something in return.