Jump to content


eastern european gift giving culture-help!


Recommended Posts

Dh is the head of a large department.  In his dept. there are two women, a woman and an adult daughter who are both from an eastern European country. They have been in this country for 15-20 years. DH thinks the daughter is about 30 years old.  DH is not their direct supervisor, he is their bosses boss if that makes sense. They each have different bosses in the larger department. 


Every year they give DH holiday gifts. It's a rather extravagant collection of knickknacks and candy and stuff from like TJ Maxx.  It comes in the bags from TJ Maxx and sometimes even has price tags attached, lol.  If it is a year that they go home to visit there will often be a bottle of some spirit, such as brandy, from that country. Sometimes there is stuff in there for me, like heavily scented lotions, and he generally quietly disposes of that because he knows it will give me a headache.  I have never actually met them.


We always write a thank you note and he hand delivers it within 24 hours of getting the gift. He also tells them every time that the gift is very much appreciated by his whole family, but they really don't have to do it. They say that it is part of their culture, that they give gifts to their boss at Christmas and that is that.


He is always worried that he is supposed to reciprocate in some way. He doesn't want to offend them.  He tried to do some research online but couldn't find anything helpful.  I thought maybe someone here would know.


He hasn't given them any gifts in return because if he did that he would have to give them to his entire department and that is close to 100 people. We can't afford that. When he was in charge of a dept of 20 I used to make cookies for everyone, but it's just too many people now. Trust me, 20 cookie bags was a stretch! But at the same time he is worried he is doing something wrong. 


Anyone have any insight for him?



Edited by redsquirrel
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My first thought is company policy. He should check into that. In some companies, bosses are not supposed to accept gifts from employees.


Beyond that, if it is okay for him to accept, a nice thank is all that would be appropriate. He manages 100 people so it would be a budget nightmare to do something for all of them and highly inappropriate to do something for just one and not the other 99.


Since he has to dispose of so much due to chemical sensitivities, it sounds like the best thing would be to tell them he can no longer accept employee gifts if this is his only team member doing this. If he wants to do something for his whole team, Christmad cards delivered at work is a nice gesture.


In terms of workplace though, the greater concern is not what is accepted practice in their former culture, but what is best practice for him as a manager.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...