Chinese good luck charm?
May 5, 2006 12:11 PM   Subscribe

Appropriate good-luck gift for a Chinese friend defending her doctoral thesis?

This woman is completely sweet to me, always buying me various Chinese treats and bringing them to me where I work. The other day, she told me that she had put one of the mochis she had bought for me in front of a Buddha for good luck.

Is there an appropriate Buddha related (or not) good luck charm I could get which would express my gratitude for her friendship while wishing her the best of luck this week? Thanks, all input appreciated.
posted by diocletian to Human Relations (11 answers total)
Y'know, these threads about appopriate gifts in a culture come up frequently, and I'm always torn; part of me feels like it's condescending (albeit with good intentions) to try and get something something with cultural signifiance.

Of course, that doesn't mean get a culturally insensitive gift, but perhaps give something from your own culture if appropriate?

A horseshoe if you're from the rural US, for example?

I'm sure whatever you get, she'll appreciate the good luck sentiment. Also, as a PhD student, I can tell you the whole process is stressful, so perhaps something to help her relax afterwards?
posted by JMOZ at 12:17 PM on May 5, 2006

Response by poster: I see your point, but a major part of our interaction is talking about her culture ---- East Asia is my area of study, and she was interested by the fact that I was so interested in Chinese language and culture. So, in this case, I think it would be appropriate.
posted by diocletian at 12:20 PM on May 5, 2006

A bottle of champagne?
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 12:20 PM on May 5, 2006

When I was in Shanghai for New Year's last year, they had these red dangly things all over the place for good luck. I don't know what they're called, but I bought a bunch of them while I was there. Here are a couple of images I was able to find:

The green bit in the middle of the first picture can really be anything: a red diamond, some coins, whatever. The red threading on top and bottom is the common part that all of these dangly things have.

I'll bet you can find these fairly easily if you try.
posted by Khalad at 12:33 PM on May 5, 2006

Here's another good picture from this page. Oh, and another picture. These are perhaps Feng Shui items.
posted by Khalad at 12:41 PM on May 5, 2006

I second Steven C. Den Beste's suggestion since someone very kindly bought a magnus of champagn to help me celebrate my (successfully) defending my thesis (I'm Chinese and so was the giver - we're both in Canada).

Alternatively - you don't state where you are - are Chinese snack foods hard to get? Maybe a gift of various dried candied fruits/vegetables/nuts?
posted by porpoise at 12:58 PM on May 5, 2006

Anything jade.
posted by Mean Mr. Bucket at 2:16 PM on May 5, 2006

You're talking about before the defence, right?

I think food is an excellent suggestion. I was so panicked before mine I actually forgot to eat.

I think anything calming would be good. It depends on how much you want to spend. The ultimate would be a massage, but some really nice bubble bath, some music, or pleasant smelling flowers would also be great. Or even something tactile, like a small object.

The gifts that have touched me the most weren't necessarily the ones I liked best, but the ones that were given nicely.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 3:44 PM on May 5, 2006

Never give clocks or watches as a gift to a Chinese person, as they symbolize death.
posted by randomstriker at 5:51 PM on May 5, 2006

How about a GC to a spa? I'm a graduate student, I suspect what I would want most is to really relax after my dissertation.
posted by jhscott at 10:44 PM on May 5, 2006

Actually watches are ok. Clocks are a no-no. How about taking her out to lunch or dinner at a nice Chinese restaurant?
posted by edjusted at 11:05 PM on May 5, 2006

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