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In Dubai, the concept of gift-giving is closely tied to Islamic traditions and beliefs. People in Dubai offer gifts to one another as a way to establish good relations and maintain harmony.
That is why you should be aware of the essential etiquette people follow in Dubai when giving gifts. If you want to learn more about it, today we will give you a guide to gift-giving in Dubai.
Important Customs and Gift-Giving Traditions in Dubai
Just as every culture has unique customs, there are also various factors to consider when exchanging gifts here. To help you with your search, take note of Dubai’s essential customs and gift-giving traditions.
1. Since the act of gift-giving between men and women who aren’t related by blood or married is considered too intimate, people here follow a more modest and polite way to give gifts to people of the opposite sex.
For example, if you’re a man and you plan to offer a gift to a woman who is not your wife, it’s better to say that the item is from your sister or mother.
2. The etiquette of handing over your present is also important. Since people in Dubai (especially Muslims) consider the left hand unclean, remember to use both of your hands or your right hand when giving or receiving gifts.
3. Whether you’re giving a gift to a friend or a business partner, make sure that the gift is of good quality.
Emiratis greatly value the quality of gifts they give and receive, so they might be offended if you give them cheap gifts.
4. Note that there are more expats than Emiratis in Dubai, so the nationalities of the people living in this city can greatly vary.
To avoid any misunderstanding, keep in mind the recipient’s background or just go with safe gift choices.
5. If you plan to give a gift to a close friend, it’s best to include small presents for their kids or other family members because this will show your utmost care and consideration.
Whether the gift is just a simple toy or food, it can surely strengthen the bond and friendship you have established.
6. Extravagant gifts such as diamonds or gold jewelry are commonly given to brides or newborn girls.
7. Aside from the gift itself, you should also ensure that its external appearance (wrapping) is presentable. The recipient would also appreciate it more if the gift came with a thoughtful message or card.
8. If you are invited to a neighbor or colleague’s home, bringing simple gifts as a gesture of thanks is normal. However, it should be given as a token of appreciation to the whole family (inhabiting that home) instead of just a specific member.
Gift Suggestions for Specific Occasions in Dubai
Since Dubai’s a melting pot of culture, you might be stumped on what present to give to your loved ones, friends, or business associates.
Luckily for you, we’ve created a list of gift ideas for some of the most important occasions in Dubai.
Whether you are an Emirati, expat, or tourist, National Day is perhaps one of the most special celebrations you’ll experience.
Since it’s the day that marks the unification of all seven Emirates, offering a thoughtful present for your friends and family will be much appreciated. Check out our recommendations below.
1. Cake with UAE Flag Motif
On every occasion, cakes are considered the centerpiece. That is why if you are celebrating one of the most historic days in the UAE, a tasty, delicious, and aesthetically designed cake can be your go-to gift for your family or friends.
Of course, to make things special, you can also have the cake customized. You can ask the shop to adorn the cake with a UAE flag or design the cake using the colors of the flag if you want to achieve a minimalist style.
Sending a customized and beautiful cake on National Day is a great way to express your warm wishes to your close friends and relatives. To make things more convenient for you, you can also choose a shop that offers an efficient cake delivery service.
2. Patriotic Mug
Give your friends something that they can use every day – a customized mug. Well, this gift may seem simple, but the receiver will appreciate it more if you add some personal touches to the mug.
Whether it’s the country’s flag or a quotation about patriotism, your recipient can start his/her day reflecting the pride and glory of National Day.
3. Unique Floral Arrangement
No matter where your loved ones, friends, or corporate partners are in Dubai, you can let them feel your presence on National Day by sending them lovely flower bouquets or arrangements.
From gorgeous rose bouquets to exotic flower arrangements to an extravagant box of blooms, you can easily find a reliable flower shop online.
There are even numerous retailers that offer same-day flower delivery services to ensure that your present will reach its destination in its best condition.
Whether you’re a Muslim or non-Muslim, you can celebrate Eid. This worldwide festival is a momentous and joyous occasion shared with loved ones and friends after a whole month of fasting.
Since Eid depicts starting afresh in all aspects, including belief, faith, health, and spirituality, giving presents on this occasion will be certainly appreciated. Listed below are some gift ideas you can try.
1. Box of Treats
A box filled with sweet treats like pistachio cookies, chocolates, baklava, and date pies can be an excellent pick for kids and adults alike. Through the aid of trusted gift delivery stores, you can conveniently customize the treats you will include in the set.
If you think your recipient does not have much of a sweet tooth, you can also opt for other healthy treats like dried fruits, dates, almonds, pistachios, and more.
2. Cash or Eidi
During Eid, one of the most common gifts that kids or teenagers receive is cash, also known as Eidi. Instead of using your credit card to buy clothes or toys, you can just purchase customized envelopes where you can put your monetary gifts.
Younger members of the family actually prefer Eidi because through this gift, they can choose and buy the things that they like or have been saving up for.
3. Gift Card
Well, if you are new in Dubai and you don’t have an idea what present to give to your business associates or colleagues, worry no more because you still have an excellent option – gift cards or vouchers.
Think of an item or service that will make your recipient happy. No matter how simple it is – whether it’s a gift card to a massage spa or a voucher to their favorite upholstery shop, you can still express your thanks and appreciation.
Even if the official religion in the UAE is Islam, the country and its people welcome and respect other faiths. For this reason, Diwali or the Festival of Lights is one of the brightest and biggest celebrations in Dubai.
Regardless of your nationality or religion, you can participate and enjoy this vibrant five-day festival. Among other things, you can also share presents with your family and friends during this occasion.
1. Gift Hampers
Some people say that this festival is synonymous with Indian sweets, so you can let your loved ones indulge in a customized gift hamper filled with tasty treats.
Aside from the sweets, you can also include other items in the hamper, such as flowers, fresh fruits, dates, toys, and more.
2. Home Decor
Another simple and thoughtful idea you can try is gifting home decor items.
You can give aromatic candles, wall arts, picture frames, or a centerpiece for tables. It doesn’t even have to be luxurious because, as cheesy as it sounds, it’s really the thought that counts.
One of the gifts that people in Dubai greatly appreciate is perfume. Some people say that perfumes are some of your safest gift options because there are no cultural barriers with them.
On top of that, you can select from a wide range of scents for men and women.
Gift-Giving Taboos in Dubai
There are also certain no-no’s when giving people presents in Dubai. Here are the most important ones.
- Gifting gold jewelry or silk garments for men is an absolute no-no because they are considered effeminate, and men are prohibited by law from wearing such items.
- Pork, pigskin, or pork by-products are forbidden in Dubai and the UAE, so they must not be included in your gift. Also, if you decide to give a gift basket that contains any meat, make sure that the product is halal.
- Since alcohol is strictly prohibited in many areas in Dubai, it’s best not to even consider giving it as a gift. Even if you plan to give it to a non-Muslim friend, you can still get into trouble if they open your gift in public.
- It might also be offensive to give gifts with dog pictures or motifs.
- Pre-purchasing gifts without a recipient in mind is considered rude because every gift that you will give should have a personal touch to convey sincerity.
- Giving presents that imply some type of self-improvement may not be acceptable. Gifts like gym memberships, diet pills or cookbooks, or a How to Quit Smoking book can greatly offend the receiver, so make sure to keep this in mind.
- Offering overly lavish or expensive gifts in front of other people or in public can be an awkward situation for the receiver.