Culture Capsule 5

Changes in holiday gift-giving

In Korea, there are two major holidays on which Koreans exchange presents : Korean New Year's Day and Korean Thanksgiving. As times have changed, patterens of gift-giving have changed too. By looking at statistics from one Korean department store, you can see how people's taste in gifts have changed along with the Korean economy.
In the 1950s, things raised or produced at home such as pork, eggs and chicken were exchanged as gifts. However, in the 1960s, industrialization began and factory-made products such as sugar, seasonings and canned food grew popular. As the 1970s neared, industrial growth flourished and products such as coffee, snacks, cosmetics and stockings began to be exchanged. In the 1980s, departement stores started making special holiday gift sets of products such as Galbi or fruit, which along with belt & wallet gift sets, became trendy items for gift-giving. Interest in health grew in the 1990s, so people turned their attention to ginseng, honey and similar health foods. Western liquor was also a popular gift. Sine the late 90s, department store gift certificates have been popular, as they allow the recipient to choose any product he or she wants from a particular store.

** In your country, what are the most popular gifts to give during the holidays?
** Think about which gifts most popular in Korea 2000s?

-Write reference Korean Languge Education Center, Sogang University

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