Things you need to know before choosing gifts for Armenians

Things you need to know before choosing gifts for Armenians

Posted on

Armenia may be a small country, but Armenians sure know how to party! Their culture is deeply rooted in strong family ties, rich traditions, and celebrating big moments surrounded by loved ones. As such, Armenians take gift exchanges very seriously – especially for milestone events like birthdays, weddings, graduations and religious holidays.

When choosing a gift for an Armenian friend or family member, it pays to understand some key aspects of their culture. Here’s an insider’s guide into the wonderful world of Armenian gift-giving etiquette.

Armenian gift-giving etiquette

Keep it classy, not flashy

Unlike their neighbors in the Caucasus, Armenians prefer refined, classic gifts over loud luxury brands. So before you grab those blinged-out designer goods, consider something more elegant or meaningful instead. Some safe gift category bets include:

  • Fine jewelry – Gold bracelets, necklaces and earrings in traditional Armenian designs
  • Leather goods – Briefcases, handbags or wallets for both men and women
  • Home accessories – Ceramic vases, candle holders, Russian tea sets or glassware
  • High-end spirits – Top-shelf Armenian Cognac, Brandy or Wine always makes an impression
Armenian gift-giving personal

The more personal, the better

Gift-giving is meant to show how much you cherish your bond with the recipient. So personal, customized presents will delight over generic ones any day. Monogrammed items are particularly popular for this reason.

Other unique ideas that add a personal touch include:

  • Photo books/frames featuring memorable pictures with the recipient
  • Handwritten letters or meaningful poems/blessings on fancy stationery
  • Homemade specialty foods reflecting the recipient’s Armenian roots
  • Customizing their cultural clothes, like embroidering a pattern onto a taraz (traditional outfit)

“It’s the thought that counts” actually counts!

Unlike gift-receiving customs in the West, Armenians focus less on the monetary value of presents. Rather, special consideration goes into selecting or even making something heartfelt that symbolizes your affection for that person.

So gifts that require time, effort or sacrifice mean more than expensive trinkets that took 2 seconds to swipe a credit card for. DIY creations also showcase thoughtfulness and talent.

Experiences over material goods gift Armenian

Experiences over material goods

Part of cherished Armenian traditions is creating joyful memories centered around food, music, family and faith. So event tickets, restaurant/spa gift cards or guided museum/city tours make welcome presents too.

This shows you took the recipient’s interests into account – instead of just giving material objects that’ll collect dust.

Avoid clocks or handkerchiefs

While most gifts get a warm reception, Armenians consider watches/clocks and handkerchiefs in poor taste. Clocks symbolically remind Armenians of death approaching, so buyers beware!

While a silk scarf seems universally safe, handkerchiefs represent unwelcome tears and grief. So if you insist on fabric gifts, stick to ties, shawls or hats instead.

Presentation elevates even simple gifts

How gifts are packaged and offered matters greatly in Armenian culture. So a basic present thoughtfully wrapped or displayed makes a better impression than an extravagant gift hastily thrown together.

Some presentation tips include:

  • Adorning gifts in the national colors of red, blue and orange
  • Securing monetary gifts in decorative envelopes when appropriate
  • Grouping several small complementary gifts in a large basket
  • Topping presents with flowers, ribbons or bows for flair

Receiving gifts graciously

Armenians don’t just excel at giving gifts – receiving them graciously is also an art form. Some common cultural customs include:

  • Initially refusing an offer several times out of politeness before finally accepting
  • Showing excitement and care when unwrapping gifts
  • Gushing genuine praise and heartfelt thanks over each present
  • Following up later with handwritten thank you notes or phone calls

So now that you’re armed with insider tips into the distinctive world of Armenian gift-giving, you can select thoughtful presents that WOW your recipients. Just focus on classy over flashy, blend personalized details, highlight shared memories, avoid faux pas gifts, display consideration in packaging, and savor the celebratory spirit!


From fine heirlooms conveying affection to parties filled with music and laughter, gift exchanges beautifully encapsulate cherished Armenian values and traditions. For Armenians worldwide, nothing warms the soul more than quality time with loved ones – except perhaps receiving a carefully chosen present honoring those bonds!

So move beyond the typical mass-produced gift cards and dig deeper into what really lights up your Armenian friends or family’s eyes. Lavish personalized attention on that special memento, dish or experience reflecting an intimate understanding only you share. Watch their face glow knowing you “get” them, and that they’re understood and accepted as their full, Armenian self. Then get ready to soak in all the food, drink, song and dance their vibrant culture is legendary for!


What are some Armenian cultural symbols to use in gift presentation?

Some popular Armenian cultural symbols include the Mount Ararat, stone khatchkars (cross-stones), and colorful Caucasus rugs for decoration. The red, blue and orange from the Armenian flag also make frequent appearances.

What gifts should you avoid for bereaved Armenians?

Gifts to avoid include handkerchiefs, sharp objects, and empty picture frames. Instead opt for meals, flowers, a charitable donation in their loved one’s honor, or a keepsake to memorialize happier memories.

Can I bring a regular bottle of wine as a gift visiting Armenians?

Most Armenians would greatly prefer Armenian brandy, wine or vodka over regular grape wines. But if those aren’t available, a nicer bottle of French, Italian or Spanish wine also makes a suitable gift. Just avoid lower quality wines.

What kind of Armenian foods make good edible gifts?

Some classic Armenian foods that make excellent edible presents include ghapama (pumpkin stuffed with nuts/rice), baklava layered pastries, sweetchurchkhela nut rolls, spiced preserved jams, dried fruits, and Armenian coffee or tea sets.

What is an appropriate monetary gift amount for events like Armenian weddings?

For close family, gifts of $100-300 are common. For relatives or close friends consider $50-150, and for work colleagues or casual acquaintances $25-75 is sufficient. Placement of bills in decorative greeting cards is customary.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *