Don’t know what to bring home with you this Christmas? Unsure what China-themed gift is best for your picky grandmother? Don’t worry, we have you covered with our definitive list of the most badass Christmas gifts to send home from the Middle Kingdom.
Because they’re so 'fashion!' But really, even in colder climates, these sexy cover-ups prevent goggle tan and turn heads like nothing else. Perfect for that awkward white elephant exchange or office party.
2. Tea Set… and Tea
In all seriousness, you can’t go to China and not bring back loose tea. Try pu’er (普洱), which ages well, like wine, so you can reclaim it down the road if your parents stuff it in a cupboard and forget about it. Green tea is nice but ordinary, so opt for tieguanyin (铁观音) instead – a lighter, sweeter variety. Oh, and tea sets cost a dime a dozen here. Find a delicately painted ceramic set or traditional clay pot with rustic teacups.
> RMB100 and up (tea). RMB60 and up (tea set). Head to a local tea market or search “茶具” on Tmall for a set.
3. Batik Tapestries
A fun alternative to silk scarves, these tapestries make awesome gifts for friends and work well as wall hangings or tablecloths. Originally made by minority groups in Guizhou province and in Dali, Yunnan, batik are lightweight cloths dyed in vibrant, striking patterns.
> RMB10 and up. No, you don’t need to book a flight to Dali. Simply search “蜡染布艺” on Tmall.
4. Peng Liyuan’s Album
Hey, if it was good enough for Queen Elizabeth II, it’s good enough for your distant relative. Just make sure they still have a working Discman.
> RMB20 and up. Search “彭丽媛” on Tmall.
5. Chinese Alcohol
We know baijiu tastes like rubbing alcohol, but your brother doesn’t… yet. If you’d rather present a tastier gift, try an ornate bottle of Chinese yellow wine.
6. Beansprout Hairpin
Remember when people started walking around Tiananmen Square with sprigs of green on their heads? There’s nothing merrier than a sprout clip stocking stuffer. Bring the eccentric fad home this Christmas.
> RMB1 and up. Search “头上长草” on Tmall.
7. Paper Cutting
These traditional works will ‘wow’ the grandparents and prove significantly easier to interpret than scrolls of Chinese calligraphy. Purchase a smaller, framed piece if you’re worried about crushing the paper while traveling or shipping abroad.
> RMB30 and up. Check out a local market or search “剪纸画” on Tmall.
8. Miao Silver Jewelry
Effortlessly stunning pieces crafted by China’s fifth largest ethnic minority group, Miao silver is a brilliant expression of diversity on the mainland. Find an oversized necklace for your artsy cousin or an elegant set of earrings for mom.
> RMB150-1,000. Search “手工民族银饰” or try this shop on Tmall.
You know how it’s always impossible to think of gifts for your dad? Yeah, well, you’re welcome in advance. DJI, based in Shenzhen, makes the best camera drones on earth, and people are even starting to associate China with advanced pilotless technology. Take advantage of that fact – splurge a bit this year and make the old man happy.
> RMB2,500 and up. Visit the DJI flagship store on Tmall.
10. Goofy Couple’s T-shirts
This includes shirts with funny Chinglish expressions. Buy a few as a joke to lighten the mood before giving a serious present.
> RMB40 and up. Search “情侣T桖” on Tmall, Taobao or JD.com.
11. Handmade Recipe Book
If you’re into DIY gifts, collect a few favorite Chinese recipes (xihongshi chao jidan, anyone?) and paste them into a scrapbook. Perfect for friends and family with an exotic palate and time to spare.