Gift Giving Parties around the world

Generosity and the delight in giving presents is common for all people around the globe. The names and times for those gift giving parties will vary, but the aspiration to throw a fantastic party that everyone will love must be solidly backed by proper planning. That is the recipe for a success. Besides making a check-list of must-dos, don’t forget to get the presents that your loved ones would be happy to receive. In many cases, wishlist services such as WishSimply have become an integral part of planning traditional festivities.

Baby Shower

wishlist wishsimply gift giving parties baby shower diaper cake
Baby Shower Diaper Cake. Image Credit: Personal Creations
A mother-to-be gets to feel like she’s the center of the Universe, and her female friends and family members literally shower her in baby gifts, body care products and all things feminine. Some hosts invite male friends and relatives, too, because – why not? Just be ready for all the aaahing about the cute baby stuff, and for sharing female-only experience and advice. Breast pumps? Why not. Diapers? Can’t have too many of them. Baby monitoring gadgets? Way to go! Baby clothes? Make sure to inquire beforehand if the gender of the baby is known. If not, opt for neutral colors. The best option is for the host or the parents-to-be to make a wish list available online for everyone involved to participate, and “register” for the gifts. For more etiquette tips on baby showers, see this detailed guide.


wishlist wishsimply gift giving parties birthday
DIY Birthday Bows. Image Credit: Shari’s Berries
Birthdays must be a worldwide practice. There are differences in counting the age, however. In Western countries, the age starts from zero on the day a baby is born. In some other countries, such as China, the age of a person is calculated starting from conception, so that a newborn baby is already considered to be one year old. Celebrations vary in different countries. For example, in Argentina, Brazil and Russia, the Birthday boy or girl is pulled by the earlobes the number of times equal to their age, whereas in Ireland and India they bump the host into the air. Traditions differ, but gift giving is universal and it’s entirely reasonable for the host to have an online page where they share their wishes with the guests.


wishlist wishsimply gift giving parties christmas
Christmas tree. Image Credit: Moyan Brenn
Ah, Christmas… The children of the 21st century still believe in Santa Claus, and who dares to take that magic away from them? In many countries, children try their best not to fall asleep on Christmas Eve to steal a sneak peek at the “chubby old elf” when he brings in their presents during the night. In Finland, Santa actually visits families on Christmas Eve after dinner and the bravest children may sing him Christmas carols. It’s a feast for the grown-ups, too. In social groups, there is a tradition to have a “secret Santa”: everyone pulls a ticket with the name of someone else in their group to give the Christmas present to. That way, no one in the group is left behind. Families and groups alike use wish lists to organize their Christmas celebrations the best possible way. To find out more about Christmas gift ideas, take a look at this website, but remember this one – being there for your loved ones for Christmas is a must-do no present can buy.


wishlist wishsimply gift giving parties diwali
Diwali. Image Credit: Bhaskar Peddhapati
If you are up for a trip to India, opt for mid-October or mid-November, when Hindus celebrate Divali, for it’s a spectacle unlike any other. Diwali or Divali is also known as the Festival of Lights and is one of the most significant and beautiful festivities in India. It symbolizes the victory of good over evil, light over darkness, and the beginning of a new prosperous business year. People clean their houses, decorate and renovate, dress up in their finest outfits and fill the streets with millions of candles, lamps and flowers. They pray the goddess Lakshmi for prosperity and illuminate the night sky with fireworks. It is also a time for a massive shopping spree in India, because traditionally they give lots of presents on Diwali – from digital gadgets to household items, personal and health items, books, sweets, perfumes and toys.

Eid al-Fitr

wishlist wishsimply gift giving parties eid
Eid al-Fitr Gifts. Image Credit: The Eid
Muslims celebrate Eid al-Fitr on the first day after Ramadan, the month of fasting and prayer. Before Eid al-Fitr, Muslim families donate to charity organizations or simply to the poor whatever they can – food or cash. This social tradition ensures that every poor person has a meal on that day. It is also the day to be with family and friends, pray, rejoice, and settle disputes. Muslims are not allowed to fast on Eid, and it’s also called The Sugar Fest, as tables are packed with delicious meals and treats. This is a time to give presents to children, women and men alike, and the variety of Eid al-Fitr gift ideas is enormous – from religious books and floral baskets to jewels, apparels, accessories, toys, sweets, art canvases and even monetary gifts.


wishlist wishsimply gift giving parties graduation
Graduate. Image Credit: Kristi Murphy
A graduation party is a big deal in the life of the teens and their parents. In many countries, only weddings are more time-consuming in terms of planning and preparation. There is no way you can go without a planner because of the sheer diversity of ways and themes you can have at your graduation party, so you just need that collective experience to pick the perfect scenario. Undoubtedly, this is a time for some serious gift-giving to your graduate offspring, and depending on the budget and the needs of your teen, graduation gift ideas cover anything from a car to a vacation, from an iPhone to a small refrigerator for the student who will live in a dorm room. It’s very individual and too complicated to manage without a planner and a wish list.


wishlist wishsimply gift giving parties hannukah
Gift giving parties – Hanukkah. Image Credit: Robert Couse-Baker
It is a common mistake to think Hanukkah is a Jewish Christmas – there is no such thing. It’s the Jewish Festival of Light when eight candles are being lit during eight days. The festivities are dedicated to God’s protection of the Israelites when they were prohibited from practising their religion. A group of Israelites called the Maccabees rose up, fought and won the right for their people to be Jewish. Even though there is no such crazy shopping spree to buy Hanukkah gifts, it is still a good tradition to give small gifts, especially to children. It’s just that the presents need to be of a particular character – something that has to do with the meaning of the holiday, like candles, olive oil or a Jewish cooking book. You can read an insightful article about the story of Chanukah over here.


wishlist wishsimply gift giving parties house warming
Housewarming. Image Credit: Melissa Doroquez
One of the best parties ever is the house warming, and the unanimity with which the various nations all over the world celebrate this event proves it. The tradition of housewarming is believed to have originated in Russia, but it’s also present in the Old World (France, Italy, Germany), India, Asia and Northern America. Traditionally, there is a set of symbolic items the family and friends bring to house warming parties, such as bread (so that your home will always have food), coins (so that you have wealth), wine (so that you’re always jolly), honey (for a sweet life), salt (for a life with flavor) and more. Material gifts like electric appliances, items for interior or exterior decoration or furniture, sets of porcelain and kitchenware are also very welcome.


wishlist wishsimply gift giving parties thanks giving
Thanksgiving. Image Credit: Todd Nappen
Canadians and Americans celebrate Thanksgiving, and if there is a holiday when Americans have to be with their families, it must be Thanksgiving. It’s the busiest time for highways and airports, but also the busiest time for the families’ kitchens – the tables need to be full. Even though there is no official tradition of gift giving on Thanksgiving, many families have traditions of their own and give presents because not all of them can be together for Christmas. Even if your family does not have a tradition of gift-giving on Thanksgiving, there is still plenty of planning, especially in meals, small gifts to children, gifts to the hosts, activity ideas, etc.

St. Valentine’s Day

wishlist wishsimply gift giving parties valentine
St. Valentine. Image Credit: seyed mostafa zamani
Spending skyrockets on St. Valentine’s Day. Big retailers commercialize on love, but if you are in a relationship, there is no escaping that craze. According to this fun infographic, $448 million are spent the week before February 14 in the U.S. – on candy alone. In Japan, the shopping spree is even doubled: on February 14, women buy gifts for men, and a month later the men return the favor. They say there was a priest named Valentine sometime in Ancient Rome. The history is too vague, but the tradition of St. Valentine’s Day as the day of love and romance dates back to the Medieval ages and grows stronger by the year. Today, it’s not only a lovers’ fest, but also a great day to give the love to everyone we care about. There are some traditional gifts like accessories, perfumes, jewelry and candy, but it’s always more meaningful to make a gift that’s unique, original and desired.


wishlist wishsimply gift giving parties wedding
Wedding. Image Credit: julian wylegly
Wedding must be officially acknowledged as one of the most time- and effort-consuming events, requiring months of planning, irrespective of which culture or country you’re from. Weddings are typically large and loud, with food, drinks, singing and dancing and plenty of entertainment. Wealthy families prefer to hire wedding planners while the common folk harness the power of the families to organize the festivities. Weddings are very much gift-centered and every guest should bring something to the table, be it a gift or cash, depending on the culture and traditions of the newlyweds. The newlyweds aren’t the only ones who get to receive gifts on a wedding day. The parents, the bridesmaids and the groomsmen, the flower girls and the ring bearers – they, too, should be rewarded for their special role in the ceremony.

Wedding Anniversary

wishlist wishsimply gift giving parties wedding anniversary
Wedding Anniversary. Image Credit: bniice
Some marriages are made in Heaven, indeed, and these lucky spouses have the gift of wisdom and patience, and most importantly love that keeps them together for years and decades. No matter how many years the spouses have spent together, a wedding anniversary is always a great reason to throw a party when one is young. As people get older, the honor of arranging their wedding anniversaries translates to their children and even grandchildren. Here is a very concise and useful list of wedding anniversaries and gift ideas, but as is the case with the wedding itself, the family members and friends who have been invited need to have an agreement over the presents, especially if the couple has a wish list.

Other Occasions

wishlist wishsimply gift giving parties other occassion
Other occassions. Image Credit: Steven Depolo
There is no limit to the occasions when a party would involve gift-giving. Does a teen leave home to study abroad, or is your boss retiring? Has your friend landed a job in Tokyo, or has your brother signed a contract with the Army? Farewell parties are as much gift-centered as they are sad, but you can make them fun by organizing a loud surprise greeting, plenty of food and drinks and showering the host with gifts. Welcome home parties are better with gifts, too. A hero soldier homecoming, a relative returning home from a hospital, or a graduate student returning to their hometown – those are excellent occasions to throw a huge party. If it’s a surprise party, the host would not be able to make a wish list, but the person in charge of organizing the party can make sure all the friends and family members invited know what to contribute to the common cause.

Final Words

wishlist wishsimply gift giving parties pirates
Pirates. Image Credit: Richard Masoner
Finally, if your party does not imply the guests should be bringing gifts, a wish list is a great way to share that message, too. Should the ladies wear a cocktail dress, or should the gentlemen wear ties? Would you like to split the cooking responsibilities among your guests? Is it a theme costume party? Should your guests come with a unique game idea each? Is it a no-kids party, or girls-only getaway? Maybe it’s your birthday, but you wish your friends made a donation to support Amnesty International, WikiLeaks or the victims of the earthquake in Nepal? What if you’re in no position to host a party all by yourself, but you can ask your friends to give you a hand – someone can bring the drinks, others can arrange a barbecue, someone is sure to offer a ride to the party. All those different aspects of the party planning can be communicated in a smart, visually engaging manner that allows for non-intrusive, suggestive cooperation in a private and secure manner.
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