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Do Koreans give Christmas gifts?


Korea is a country that has a unique culture and traditions. Christmas is a holiday that is celebrated worldwide, but the way it is celebrated varies from country to country. In this article, we will explore whether Koreans give Christmas gifts.

The History of Christmas in Korea

The first Protestant missionary arrived in Korea in 1884, and Christianity began to spread rapidly. However, Christmas was not widely celebrated until after the Korean War. During this time, American soldiers stationed in Korea introduced Christmas traditions to the locals.

Christmas Traditions in Korea

In Korea, Christmas is more of a couple’s holiday than a family one. It is common for couples to exchange gifts and spend time together on Christmas Eve. While some families may celebrate with a meal or attend church services, gift-giving is not a widespread tradition.

Korean Gift-Giving Culture

Koreans have a strong gift-giving culture, with various occasions throughout the year where gifts are exchanged. However, Christmas is not traditionally one of these occasions. Koreans tend to give gifts during Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving), Lunar New Year’s Day, and birthdays.

The Influence of Western Culture

As Korea becomes more globalized and Westernized, some Koreans have started to adopt Christmas gift-giving traditions. This is especially true among younger generations who have grown up with exposure to Western culture.

Christmas Gift-Giving Trends in Korea

While gift-giving on Christmas is not a widespread tradition in Korea, there has been an increase in gift exchanges among friends and colleagues during the holiday season. This trend can be attributed to the influence of Western culture and the rise of commercialization.

Popular Christmas Gifts in Korea

If Koreans do exchange gifts during Christmas, they tend to give practical items such as socks, gloves, and scarves. Other popular gift options include cosmetics, snacks, and stationery.

The Role of Advertising

The increase in Christmas gift-giving in Korea can be attributed to the influence of advertising. Many companies use the holiday season to promote their products, and this has led to an increase in consumer spending.

Alternative Christmas Celebrations

In recent years, there has been a rise in alternative Christmas celebrations in Korea. Some people choose to celebrate with a romantic dinner or attend Christmas-themed events. Others may participate in volunteer activities or donate to charity.

The Future of Christmas Gift-Giving in Korea

As Korea becomes more globalized, it is likely that Christmas gift-giving will continue to increase. However, it may take some time for it to become a widespread tradition among Koreans.


In conclusion, while Christmas gift-giving is not a widespread tradition in Korea, it is becoming more common among younger generations. As Korea becomes more globalized and influenced by Western culture, it is likely that this trend will continue to grow. However, it is essential to remember that Korean gift-giving traditions are deeply rooted in their culture and should not be overlooked.

What do Koreans give for Christmas?

In Korea, it is common to give gifts during Christmas, with money being one of the most popular options given on Christmas Eve. Entertainment, such as musical performances or poetry readings, is also a popular gift. If an object is given as a gift, it is always presented with both hands as a sign of respect.

What traditions do South Koreans do for Christmas?

Christmas in Korea is a festive time with dazzling light displays adorning malls and streets, extravagant Christmas trees in every direction, and stores stocked with holiday merchandise. The Cheonggyecheon Stream particularly shines with beautiful lights during this time.

What do Koreans give as gifts?

When meeting for business, it is customary to exchange gifts such as small tokens, sweets, flowers, or fruit. However, it is not appropriate to give alcohol to a female colleague. It is important to allow the host to present their gift first.

Is Christmas a big deal in Korea?

In comparison to other Asian countries such as China and Japan, South Korea (the Republic of Korea) has a higher Christian population, which is why Christmas is celebrated more extensively.

What is the gift-giving tradition in South Korea?

Typically, gifts are not opened in front of the person who gave it, unless the relationship is very close. If the relationship warrants it, the recipient may ask if the gift should be opened. It is customary for the recipient of a gift to give a gift of similar value in return at a later time.

Is Christmas for couples in Korea?

In Korea, Christmas became a popular holiday before Christianity was widely practiced, making it a mostly secular holiday for non-religious individuals. Rather than a family-oriented occasion, Christmas in Korea is more focused on couples and is similar to Valentine’s Day.

It is also important to note that while gift-giving may not be a significant part of Christmas celebrations in Korea, the holiday season is still widely celebrated. Many cities in Korea put up Christmas decorations, and there are often Christmas markets and events held throughout the country.

Additionally, Christmas has become an increasingly popular time for travel in Korea. Many people take advantage of the holiday season to go on winter vacations or visit family and friends. This has led to an increase in demand for travel-related gifts such as luggage, travel accessories, and hotel vouchers.

Another trend that has emerged in recent years is the rise of online shopping for Christmas gifts in Korea. With the convenience of online shopping, many Koreans are opting to purchase gifts online rather than going to physical stores. This has led to an increase in e-commerce sales during the holiday season.

Overall, while gift-giving may not be a traditional part of Christmas celebrations in Korea, it is clear that the holiday is becoming more commercialized and consumer-driven. As Korea continues to evolve and adapt to global trends, it will be interesting to see how Christmas traditions continue to evolve in the country.

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