Gifts and Gift Giving

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What are some common customs of gift giving in Europe?

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In Italy, France, and many other southern European countries, it is customary to give a gift of hospitality to hosts when invited to a party or meal. Gifts are exchanged among friends and family on Christmas, Valentine's Day, birthdays, and New Years's Day. In some Roman Catholic European countries, Christmas gifts are exchanged on January 6th, the 12th day of Christmas.

Some countries have a relatively subdued and formal gift-giving culture. In France and Britain, for example, it's rare for mere acquaintances to exchange gifts. On the other hand, it is common to exchange gifts with acquaintances and business partners in Italy and other coastal Mediterranean areas. Many of the Scandinavian countries also engage in robust and expansive gift-giving, particularly during local festivals.

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