Throughout both the past and present, the act of giving Vietnamese New Year gifts has been more than just a tradition; it is a heartfelt gesture that conveys gratitude and extends wishes for a happy and prosperous Vietnamese New Year. As you seek out meaningful gifts to share with your loved ones, this article is here to assist you by presenting a plethora of unique and thoughtful gift ideas.
1. Vietnamese tradition of giving New Year gifts
The tradition of giving New Year gifts during the Vietnamese Tet holiday holds profound historical and cultural significance in Vietnamese culture. In ancient times, these gifts were prepared with care by women in the family. Gifts for Tet typically included traditional cakes and fruits, each chosen to represent the characteristics of their region. Today, gifts for Tet are more elaborate, often consisting of imported candies and attractive packaging.
Despite changes in the criteria for choosing gifts, the essence of thoughtfulness and sophistication remains unchanged as they allow people to express their thoughts and appreciation. Modern society has expanded the practice to include gifts for partners and associates, emphasizing respect for social relationships. Gifts for Tet now place increased importance on both quality and presentation. This tradition continues to serve as a meaningful way to express gratitude and strengthen bonds within Vietnamese communities.
2. Top 14 Vietnamese New Year gifts for friends and family
2.1. Lucky money (li xi)
Giving Vietnamese lucky money, known as “li xi,” is a lovely Vietnamese tradition. It is all about handing out red envelopes with money to bring good luck in the new year. During Tet, these red envelopes are given to kids, wishing them growth and health.
The money in these envelopes is usually in odd amounts, symbolizing that it never runs out. Giving lucky money is not just about money; it is about spreading joy, hope, and togetherness during this special time of year.
2.2. Vietnamese New Year plants & flowers
During Tet, giving plants and flowers as gifts is a common and meaningful practice in Vietnam. Each type of plant carries unique meanings, allowing the giver to convey their heartfelt wishes. Here are some types of plants that you can consider giving to your loved ones:
- Peach blossoms: Being one of the iconic trees in Vietnam in spring, peach blossoms represent growth, love, and weddings. People believe they can ward off bad luck, so they often display peach blossom trees or branches during the New Year.
- Apricot flowers: With their bright yellow color, apricot flowers symbolize prosperity and good fortune. Having these flowers of Vietnam in full bloom during Tet is thought to bring luck, good health, and success in business.
- Kumquat tree: This kind of tree is all about luck, peace, and attracting good things. That is why many families and businesses choose to have them around during Tet.
Giving Vietnamese fruits as Vietnamese New Year gifts is a meaningful tradition. Fruit baskets symbolize abundance in both food and wealth, but it is important to enjoy the fruits quickly as they do not last as long as other gifts for Tet. You can also find watermelons or pomelos with meaningful words crafted or stuck on them. These fruits not only look beautiful but are believed to bring happiness, luck, wealth, and prosperity to the people who receive them.
2.4. Traditional Vietnamese New Year cakes
Giving traditional Vietnamese cakes as Tet gifts is a significant tradition, representing regional flavors and cultural meanings. These cakes, such as the Chung cake symbolizing unity, the green bean cake for entertaining guests, and the husband and wife cake signifying loyalty, hold special importance. In the South, Tet cakes represent abundance and protection, wishing for a prosperous year ahead. These cakes serve as not only delicious treats but also meaningful gifts during the Tet season, carrying deep cultural significance.
2.5. Tea, coffee, or wine
When it comes to giving New Year gifts in Vietnam, tea, coffee, and wine hold a special place. These beverages have deep cultural roots. Traditional Vietnamese tea is not just a gift; it symbolizes health, longevity, and bonding. Vietnamese rice wines, like Go Den and Kim Son, along with special ones infused with ginseng or other herbs, are wonderful choices. They not only represent local traditions but also help strengthen relationships. Vietnam is known for its coffee production, and giving roasted coffee, coffee beans, or coffee gift sets is a great idea, offering a taste of the rich Vietnamese coffee culture.
2.6. New Year greeting cards
Sending New Year greeting cards is a modern tradition that fits our busy lives perfectly. If you are wondering what to give your Vietnamese friend for the Tet Festival, a greeting card is a great idea. These cards are usually colorful, with images like apricot and peach blossoms or square sticky rice cakes. They carry warm wishes like “Happy New Year,” “May your wishes come true,” and “Wishing you a healthy and prosperous new year.”
2.7. Gift combo set – among the most popular gifts for Vietnamese New Year
Vietnamese New Year gift baskets are highly popular for gifting during Tet. These baskets are beloved by recipients as they offer an assortment of delightful treats. Inside these baskets, you will find a combination of cakes, teas, coffees, wines, chocolates, candies, candied fruits and vegetables, dried fruits, nuts, seeds, snacks, and more. They come in sedge or plastic baskets, wrapped in plastic, and decorated with ribbons. You can find them in a wide price range, from a few hundred to a few million Vietnamese dong.
2.8. Tray of mut Tet
The Tray of Mut Tet is an essential part of Vietnamese households during the biggest festival. Mut Tet is all about sweet treats like candies, sugar-preserved fruits and veggies, seeds, and nuts, neatly arranged in a special tray or container. You can find these trays in supermarkets and markets. Popular choices include candied coconut, sugar-preserved tamarind, dried watermelon seeds, and more. The trays come in different materials, with plastic being a budget-friendly option.
2.9. Tea set
During the Tet holiday, having a beautiful and luxurious tea set is a tradition that adds to the festive spirit. Tea holds a special place during this time, as it is often associated with dreaming, making promises, and contemplating the future. The tea set, in this context, represents the good fortune and positivity that everyone hopes for in the new year. This makes a tea set a simple yet meaningful gift with great practical value.
Giving Tet gift boxes filled with delicious and nutritious nuts has become a growing trend. This is not just a thoughtful gesture but also a gift that offers practical health benefits. There is a wide variety of nutritious nuts and seeds to choose from, each with its own unique advantages. Sunflower seeds, for example, are known to help soothe the mind, while melon seeds aid in regulating blood circulation during Tet. Chestnuts are beneficial for digestion, and almonds are renowned for promoting a healthy heart.
2.11. Healthcare products – thoughtful Vietnamese Lunar New Year gifts for your parents
As the Lunar New Year marks the beginning of another chapter in life, health takes center stage, especially as we grow older. Giving nutritious and healthy foods as gifts to grandparents, parents, uncles, aunts, and others is a thoughtful way to show care for their wellbeing. Dietary supplements like cordyceps, ginseng, lingzhi, and bird’s nest make fantastic gifts. They are not just tokens of affection but also a wish for a happy and healthy future for your loved ones.
Paintings are universally appreciated gifts, and in Vietnam, selecting one for the New Year is a thoughtful choice. When gifting a painting, it is best to pick artwork connected to Tet or bearing symbols of luck, prosperity, and health. Consider options like traditional Dong Ho paintings featuring pig and chicken families or festive Tet scenes. A set of four paintings showcasing seasonal blossoms and nature’s changes is also a lovely idea. Paintings of nine carps and images of flowers, trees, animals, and calligraphy convey wishes for luck and prosperity.
2.13. Parallel sentences (cau doi)
A pair of parallel sentences, known as “cau doi” in Vietnamese, makes for a unique and culturally rich Tet gift. These sentences consist of two phrases, each with words that complement or contrast one another in meaning while adhering to the six tones of the Vietnamese language. Often written on red, white, or cream paper, red parallel sentences created by skilled calligraphers are particularly cherished during Tet.
2.14. Feng Shui items
A popular trend in Tet gift-giving is the selection of Feng Shui items. Some top Feng Shui products and items include dragons, turtles, lions, Chinese unicorns (Qi Lin), three-legged toads, elephants, roosters, coins, and crystals. These items are believed to bring luck and harmony to the recipient’s life and business. However, choosing the right Vietnamese good luck gifts requires some knowledge to ensure they are suitable and avoid any unintended negative effects.
3. Where to buy Vietnamese New Year gifts?
When searching for Vietnamese New Year gifts, there are several excellent options to explore. You can visit local Vietnamese markets and stores to find unique traditional and cultural treasures. Alternatively, online platforms offer convenience for those with limited time or residing far from Vietnam. Specialized Tet gift shops and boutiques are perfect for finding exclusive and personalized gifts while supporting local businesses. Each of these sources provides diverse choices to ensure your Tet gift is a heartfelt token of love and appreciation for the recipient during the auspicious Vietnamese New Year celebration.
Selecting a Vietnamese New Year gift may appear straightforward, but the quest for that special present demands thoughtful consideration, as everyone desires their gift to exude luxury, significance, and originality. Here are some tips for choosing Tet presents:
- Take the time to understand the recipient’s preferences and needs. This makes it easier to choose a thoughtful and useful gift, rather than giving something they will not appreciate.
- Some items are considered bad luck, like sharp objects, umbrellas, handkerchiefs, shoes, and all-black or white items. Steer clear of these to ensure a positive reception.
- While unique gifts are appealing, don’t forget that the main purpose of a gift is to bring joy and be useful. Avoid gifts that may seem interesting but serve no practical purpose.
- The appearance of the gift matters too. Ensure your Tet gift is aesthetically pleasing and well-presented. A beautifully wrapped gift basket, for example, will impress your guests and show thoughtfulness.
If you are planning your Vietnam travel journey during the Tet holiday, it is highly recommended that you visit Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Phu Quoc, Nha Trang, Hoi An, and Ha Long. When exploring these remarkable cities, it is highly recommended to choose accommodation at Vinpearl properties. These exquisite establishments effortlessly blend contemporary architectural elegance with the natural beauty of their surroundings. In these destinations, guests are not only treated to top-notch services and amenities but also to a diverse culinary journey that tantalizes the taste buds.
To complete your experience, don’t miss the opportunity to unwind and have fun at the VinWonders amusement complexes, where you and your loved ones can partake in a plethora of engaging and memorable experiences.
Vietnamese New Year gifts are a beautiful tradition deeply rooted in culture and meaning. From the artistry of Tet cakes, the symbolism of flowers and plants, and the charm of tea and wine, to the heartfelt gestures through lucky money and greeting cards, these gifts reflect the warmth and affection of the season. In the spirit of Tet, these speak volumes, carrying the essence of gratitude, respect, and love.