In the Brazilian culture it is almost mandatory and also a polite gesture to give gifts in certain situations, whether it is a birthday celebration or if you were invited to dinner at someone's house. Here you will discover the unusual situations that require gifts in Brazil and what should be given in each of them.
In Brazil, gift-giving is a very common practice not only for birthdays, weddings or Christmas, but also for a lot of different occasions. When you are having lunch with friends, visiting someone's new house or visiting a new-born baby, a few gifts are almost mandatory in order to be polite. The gifts, however, must follow a few "rules".
Giving Gifts to the Hosts
If You Are Invited for Lunch
If you are invited to have lunch in a friend's or family house, or to a barbecue in which don't know the host very well, you should bring something with you (usually some food), or least a bottle of Coke.
In Brazil, bringing something to eat is almost implied in the invitation, not by the host, but as polite gesture of the guest. For lunch, beverages are a very common "gift" you can bring to the hosts. It can be a bottle of soda, juice or even a bottle of pinga to make a caipirinha - Brazil's national cocktail.
Even though beverages are the easiest things to bring, there are other options that can also work as a polite way to show appreciation to the invitation. A dessert, such as mousse or an ice cream, as weather in Brazil is usually very hot, are nice things to give to your host.
Savory dishes are also permitted, as long as they aren't hot. Avoid dishes that will to have to be reheat in the host house. Cold dishes, such as salads, are safe options and easy also to transport to the host house.
For Afternoon Visits
Imagine that you are invited to visit a friend during the afternoon. Even if your visit will not be long, the host will offer you a beverage or something to eat. It is not polited to show up with empty hands, so you should bring something.
Since in Brazil it is very common to have afternoon tea during this time of the day, the best option is to bring something to eat. Sweets such as cakes, cookies or pies are usually the most common for these occasions. You can also bring other types of food, as long as it matches coffee that you and the host will be drinking.
Dinner is a more formal occasion and usually it is more elaborated and more elegant than a lunch. If you are invited to a dinner in Brazil, the best gift you can give to the host is a bottle of wine, or another type of beverage. Alcoholic beverages are the most usual and appreciated in these occasions.
Bringing a dessert or a savory dish is dispensable. Since the hosts have already prepared a menu for dinner, the desert or dish you bring may be not matching with the meal that will be served. A good option is to bring a box of chocolate or sweets that can be eaten after the meal.
Flowers: the Most Common Gift
In Brazil, flowers are a very suitable gift in a lot of occasions and also a practical way to please most people. For lunches, afternoon visits or dinners, flowers are nice options to bring, but with some conditions. For example, if you are invited to an informal dinner, flowers are acceptable, but if the dinner is formal, a bottle of wine is a safer option.
For lunches and afternoon visits, flowers are great options, as well as when you are visiting someone sick. But you must consider the type of flower you are giving. To someone sick, for instance, the best option is to choose colorful and cheerful flowers.
Others Situations that Require Gifts
When someone has moved to a new house and you are going to visit the new place for the first time, it is very common in Brazil to give to the person flowers or decorative items. Gifts such as candles, incenses or decoration adornments are the best options for these occasions.
Another situation in Brazil that requires giving gifts is visiting a new-born baby. In this situation the gift can be sent to the mother or tothe baby. Flowers are still good options to give to the mother, whereas for the newborn clothes or small toys, are nice and polite gifts to the baby.
In maternity hospitals, most of Brazilian mothers give gifts to everyone who is visiting her and her baby. Usually the gift is a small souvenir, such as candies, fridge magnets or miniatures and is chosen by the mother before the baby is born. These souvenirs are the same for everyone and are given to the visitors in the hospital during the visit or in the end of it.