During Chuseok (추석 / Korean Harvest Festival) a range of different gifts are both given and received all over South Korea. This year we’re very fortunate to have a full 3 day national holiday brake next to a weekend (so 5 days). The different gifts from a western point of view maybe seen as being either Obvious, Weird and/or Wonderful. Here are a few highlights (where possible we’ve added pictures):

The Obvious

These are the gifts that should take little explaining.

Money / Cash – This is a common extra gift for Chuseok, it’s also a popular for teenagers and university students.

Cash - Chuseok Gifts

Toys – This is for kids, Chuseok is a less popular kids gift day compared to Children’s Day and Christmas but it’s still common to receive a toy or two.

Perfume / Cosmetics – A common and perfect gift for a wife, girlfriend or mother.

The Weird

Some of these may seem obvious to some and obvious to others but from a western perspective they’re a little odd.

Spam – A box set of Spam would seem like an odd and slightly cheap gift in the west however in Korea it’s a common favorite and a luxury Spam Box Set isn’t cheap and is often more expensive than a bottle of whiskey.

Spam Tuna Oil - Chuseok Gifts

Soap and Toothpaste – Receiving some nice bubble bath or either Shampoo is a common gift in the west but giving someone a gift set of Toothpaste or regular soap is a little strange. Although it’s practical it is a little boring.

Toothpaste and Bathroom Products - Chuseok Gifts

Socks – It maybe once again a practical gift but it is a little strange seeing a row of gift boxes of socks.

Socks - Chuseok Gifts

Dried Seaweed (김) – A popular snack and cooking ingredient here in South Korea but once again it doesn’t really stand out as being an exciting or obvious gift option.

The Wonderful

These are the cool gifts that you want and once again maybe considered Obvious or Weird to some but in my opinion and from a western perspective they are wonderful.

A Hanbok (한복) – This is the traditional Korean dress worn on special occasions such as weddings; but commonly during Chuseok. They can be pretty expensive so a nice one it often used for many years (maybe a lifetime).

Hanboks - Chuseok Gifts

Whiskey, Wine or other Alcohols – These gift sets normally include a few nice glasses and are popular gifts to fathers and male bosses. Wine has become more popular over the last few years with women being a key target.

Traditional Drinks Set - Chuseok Gifts

Fruit – The most common fruits given as gifts during chuseok are Pears, Apples and Grapes. Chuseok does stand for Harvest Festival so giving some fruit is a more traditional gift.

Fruit - Chuseok Gifts

Meat Sets – This is normally just Beef and also it’s popular to give the more expensive Korean Beef as a gift. Beef in Korea can be pretty expensive so a nice set of stakes is a welcomed gift.

Finally

If you have any comments or questions about Chuseok Gift please feel free to let us know but the normal methods.

Thank you and have an enjoyable Chuseok

Tim
Modern Seoul
tim@modernseoul.org

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