Shopping for that perfect gift can be challenging at the best of times. What is acceptable, what is not? While it is true that gender roles are still adhered to in Russia, don’t let that fool you into thinking that soaps and ornamental figurines are necessarily the way to go. Many Russian women strongly dislike gifts like this, along with generic gifts such as gift cards that show little thought to her personal preferences.
While the best advice is always to think about the individual woman that you are buying for, there are a few staples that will help you out.
If it is possible to find out what her favourite perfume is, then that would be an ideal gift. However, if it is a surprise gift, or she doesn’t have a favourite then Russian women like to try different perfume’s so if there is a new fragrance released or one that you personally enjoy, then this could still be a great gift for her.
Not a “special” present, but certainly one that will rarely go wrong. Find out her favourite flowers and write something meaningful in the card for added impact. However, there are superstitions about the type and number of flowers given, so be sure to check this first. Flowers can only be given in odd numbers (even numbers are for funerals) and it would be wise to avoid yellow flowers which represent betrayal, in favour of red which symbolises love.
- Fashion Items
Handbags and other items of fashion are usually well received by Russian women. Be sure that there is a little money inside handbags and purses, as superstition states that empty purses bring poverty. There are, however, some notable exceptions to this rule.
Avoid jewellery unless it is for a woman that you know very well. Jewellery is a very personal gift for many women and Russians are no exception.
Additionally, watches symbolise a sense of “time running out” and can cause unnecessary upset.
- Handmade Gifts
Most women worldwide would love to have a poem or a song written especially for her. Even if you are not a professional musician, or the most talented lyricist, you may well find that the quality of it matters very little when you have out time and thought into creating such a personal gift. This would be well received by most, or if you are more artistically talented, then a drawing or a painting of her would be sure to make her smile.
This could be tickets to see a show that you think she would like, or her favourite band that is coming to town. Festivals and other large scale events should be considered only if you are sure that the woman would like it. Otherwise the gift loses that personal touch that can often be more important than the gift itself. If you are feeling extravagant, it could be plane tickets to a relaxing holiday that you have arranged for her. This would be a great idea for a gift within an established relationship to show her that you are still thinking of her.
Above all else, it is the thought behind the present that beautiful Russian women value the most. They like to be given gifts which show that the person really knows them and their personality. So while chocolates and alcohol (vodka or brandy) can be given as a token, for example when visiting someone’s home, they should be avoided as gifts for birthdays and other holidays.