Russians enjoy giving and receiving gifts in most situations. If possible, try to bring a variety of gifts to make sure that you have something for whatever occasion might come up. Russians tend to spend a lot of money on gifts, and will likely expect the same in return. They are similar to the Western part of the world when it comes to gift giving etiquette, but they also have some traditions and customs that you will want to be aware of.
Read more in our gift giving etiquette series:
Russia Gift Giving Customs
- Adults open gifts in front of others, while children open their gifts in private.
- When invited into a Russian home, make sure to bring chocolates, desserts, good wine, or quality alcohol other than vodka.
- It is custom to bring a bouquet with an odd number of flowers for the women you visit, but one for the women in the household is enough.
Giving Gifts to Russians
- Gifts that are on the cheaper side do not need to be wrapped, but the ones that are more expensive should be.
- Some gifts that would be appreciated are towels, cameras, and watches. If you stay in their home overnight, then cologne or clothes are good choices for gifts as well.
Business Gift Giving Customs & Etiquette in Russia
- It is popular to give gifts of chocolate, candy, fruit, office accessories, quality coffee, quality tea, or flowers in business settings.
Gift Giving Occasions in Russia
- New Year- more important than Christmas
- Valentine’s Day
- Men’s Day
- Women’s Day
- Russia Day
Gift Giving Tips in Russia
- Gifts are expected in social settings, especially when it comes to a thank you gift for dinner parties or staying in their home.
- If there are children in the home you are visiting; it is polite to give them a gift of a toy or candy.
- Flowers are for women only, except for male teachers, doctors, or celebrities who visit Russia. Good colors for flowers are pink, cream, orange, and blue.
Gift Giving Don’ts in Russia
- Avoid things like pens, pencils, notebooks, cheap alcoholic beverages, or other things that are on the cheaper side.
- Even numbers of flowers in a bouquet are for funerals, so avoid giving an even number of flowers when purchasing flowers.
- Don’t give thank you notes or holiday cards, as Russians don’t see that they provide any practical use.
- Don’t give a pregnant woman a gift for the baby until the baby is born, as a gift given while she is pregnant is seen as bad luck.
- Avoid yellow and white flowers altogether, and avoid red roses or flowers as your intentions may be misconstrued.