When you are shopping outside or inside Italy– going to Italy, requesting italian gifts from someone coming from Italy or even when you are finding for the best italian gifts for an Italophile, the list I am going to do should be your inspiration. You can buy these gifts for their birthday, Christmas gifts, anniversary or any other celebration at any time of the year.
Italian Gifts: Gift-Giving Etiquette
Before we dwell on those italian gifts, let’s cut the excitement by providing you how Italians receive and give gifts. Italian children always get moments of experiencing receiving gifts during holidays, most especially during Christmas seasons. They do not just received gifts from Santa Claus but actually a time less than like two weeks after Christmas, they receive gifts from a very friendly witch named La Befana, who was known to leaving presents in their stockings during the Epiphany eve during January.
We all know that Italy is a Catholic nation. There are above 90% of their population are pure Catholic so holidays there are aligned with the religion. Every year at January 9, Epiphany is celebrated and is a Catholic Holiday. This holiday marks the culmination of the much-awaited Christmas season and marks the day of remembrance of the famous three wise magi who visited Jesus and offered gifts.
There was a legend stating that on January 5 in the evening, the mentioned three wise men knocked on La Befana’s door while they are searching for Jesus. Then after, she let the famous three wise men come in her house but when they asked her to come and go with them to visit the newborn baby Jesus, La Befana refused it saying she was very busy. Later on, she regretted the decision she made and ran out from her house using a broom and the gifts for Jesus but she was believed to have never been able to go and catch up the good three wise men. Today, she is still looking for baby Jesus that is why she provides all the children gifts once every evening before Epiphany.
Now, here are the Italian giving of gifts etiquette:
Gifts should have good wrapping. When giving gifts, according to Italian culture, gift should be well-wrapped though the actual gift wrapping does not mean anything. According to the author of “Italy from the Inside”, gifts are mostly presented in their colorful Ziploc kind of bags. She was quoted saying, if the gifts are coming from a shop, they use the paper bag closed with staples which are sometimes designed with ribbons. She also mentioned that when choosing gift wraps, we need to avoid gold and black combination because these are colors for mourning. Purple actually is also bad luck. In United States, it may be a poor taste to just leave a price on the gift, in Italy, it’s awful.
Gift versus Bribery. A very lavish present to your business associate is seen as a bribery.
Taboo Gifts. People in Italy are known to love food as it is apparent in their cuisine culture. Remember that food home is one of the great gifts to a host family when travelling, well it is not really in Italy. About flowers, Italians do not want to receive or gift chrysanthemum as a present as they are flowers for the people who are already dead.
Perfect Gifts. Gourmet cheese and fine wine are two of the most ideal gifts. Homemade food is seen as one of the the biggest fruit labor made out of love.
Business Gifts. Business presents are not usual in Italy. Items with logo of the company is deemed tacky. But during Christmas, presents may be exchanged between two companies and also with fellow business associates.
Historical Gift-giving. The country of Italy have provided the world with the gift of marinara, good cheeses and pasta. Rumor says that Italy has given the United States the “gift of spaghetti” through Thomas Jefferson. He is known for the first American to serve spaghetti during one dinner party.
Hostess gifts. The homemade foods are traditional hostess presents from an Italian individual to another Italian. If you are an outsider and you wanted to give an Italian a gift, chocolates, flowers and liquor are recommended. In giving flowers, so long as it follows the European gift-giving tradition. Never ever give even number of a type of flower or 13 flowers and never give chrysanthemum, lilies and roses (not unless to your lover).
Birthday and Christmas. Birthdays and Christmas are celebrated like what we are doing in any part of the world. Cakes, balloons, gifts, and everything!
“All Souls Day”. Chrysanthemums are common gifts provided to the unliving.
Wedding. Wedding gift registry is very common for Italians. For Italian’s tradition, usually the bride and groom usually provides candied almonds or confetti to their guests.
Anniversaries. For wedding anniversaries, giving champagne flutes is common.. Usually, the couple will not accept gifts as they just select one charity and donate money.
Housewarming. People give gifts and they have meanings. For example, wine as well as bread wishes the couple to never experience hunger, rice if for fertility, candles symbolizes hope and light for the family, broom for sweeping the bad luck and evil, salt as symbolizes good health and luck.
So, there you go. Maybe your Italophile would want to associate his or her gifts along with Italian gift-giving etiquette then you already have an idea or two.
Italian gifts Ideas
Quality pens. Why is this on the list? Well, there are pens that are with the highest quality which can only be bought in Italy. Though, they are a bit pricey, spending money on these quality pens won’t make you feel any regret.
Ceramic pens. Italy is known for providing ceramic products to the world. So, getting a ceramic pen in Italy for your Italophile friend is a must!
Italian ceramic roosters. If your friend loves to collect decors for her home, then this is a great choice. She or he can definitely display it at anywhere in their house.
Deruta italy coffee. Italy is known to be one of the countries which produce fine coffees and coffeemakers.
Biscotti Jars. You are fond of keeping small stuff and your Italophile friend does too. Well, this is a must-have!
Photo frames Deruta. Deruta is a place in Italy wherein great italian pottery products originated, so if you want to get a simple yet very classic and amazingly-designed gift, then there you have it.
Colorful coffee mugs. What will you do to your italian coffee if you don’t have these?