Gifts for Tet: Celebrating Vietnamese New Year

Discover the significance of gift-giving during Tet, the Vietnamese New Year, and explore traditional and modern gift ideas to celebrate this festive occasion. Learn about the customs, the importance of thoughtful presentation, and how to choose the perfect Tet gifts to signify good wishes for health, prosperity, and happiness.

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An array of traditional Vietnamese gifts typically given for Tet, the Vietnamese New Year. Include items such as red envelopes filled with lucky money, branch of peach blossom, and gold coins carefully positioned for a festive display. The ambient setting has rich, welcoming tones with the backdrop of a warm, beautifully decorated Vietnamese home. No people are present in the scene, focusing on the symbolic items of celebration instead.

Introduction to Tet

Tet, or Tết Nguyên Đán, is the most significant and widely celebrated holiday in Vietnam, marking the beginning of the Lunar New Year. It is a time for families to come together, pay respects to ancestors, and welcome a year of prosperity and happiness. The importance of Tet to the Vietnamese cannot be overstated; it is a moment when the bustling energy of daily life gives way to reflection, celebration, and hope.

Understanding Tet Customs and Traditions

The traditions surrounding Tet are rich and varied, often beginning days or even weeks in advance. Homes are meticulously cleaned to rid them of bad luck from the previous year and to make room for the good fortune that the new year is expected to bring. Altars are decorated with offerings of food, flowers, and incense to honor ancestors. One of the most iconic symbols of Tet is the peach blossom in the North, or the apricot blossom in the South, each believed to bring different kinds of luck to the household.

Significance of Gift-Giving During Tet

Exchanging gifts is a pivotal part of the Tet celebration. It is a way to express gratitude, strengthen relationships, and share the joy of the season. The nature of gifts can vary greatly, but they are all meant to convey the best wishes for the coming year.

Traditional Tet Gifts

Traditional gifts for Tet often revolve around food, as this symbolizes abundance and prosperity. A box of bánh chưng or bánh tét, sticky rice cakes with a savory filling, is a gift that carries immense cultural significance. Fruit baskets containing a selection of five fruits, representing different blessings like longevity, wealth, and health, are also common. Red envelopes, filled with ‘lucky money,’ are handed out as a symbol of good fortune, particularly from elders to children and employees to workers.

Modern and Thoughtful Tet Gifts

As society evolves, modern and sophisticated gifts have also become popular. These can include health and wellness products, gourmet hampers, or even jewelry to signify prosperity. For those who wish to gift something more personal, custom items like engraved pens or personalized calendars for the new year can be incredibly thoughtful.

Tet Decorations as Gifts

Decorations are not just for homes, they also make excellent gifts, allowing recipients to enhance the festive spirit in their own spaces. Traditional decorations include vibrant Tet scrolls with poetic wishes, ornamental kumquat trees, and artistic calligraphy works.

Experiences – The Gift of Memories

For those looking to give something truly unique, the gift of experiences can be priceless. This could range from arranging a local cultural tour, booking a spa day for relaxation, or even planning a special meal at a fine-dining restaurant to make the Tet celebration unforgettable.

Shopping Tips for Tet Gifts

When selecting gifts, consider the preferences and needs of the recipient. It’s important to shop early as markets and shops can become incredibly crowded as Tet approaches, and prices may increase. Also, consider the presentation of your gifts; in Vietnamese culture, the care taken in wrapping a gift is nearly as important as the gift itself.


Ultimately, the gifts you choose for Tet should symbolize your good wishes for the recipient’s health, prosperity, and happiness in the new year. These tokens of celebration weave together the rich tapestry of Tet customs, helping to preserve these traditions for generations to come. Whether you opt for traditional, modern, or experiential gifts, the act of giving itself captures the very essence of Tet and the spirit of Vietnam’s most cherished festival.

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Avery Ingram

Avery Ingram


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