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For many, the holidays in the U.S. are a time to wind down and relax. Once you have navigated through those long airport lines and flights, and safely made it to your destination, nothing could possibly go wrong. Or could it?
Americans and immigrants alike shared with us the funny faux pas have witnessed -- or made themselves.
Deciding on a gift for the holidays isn't always easy, and while snagging that tempting loaf cake with bright candies and dried nuts from down the block might seem like a safe bet, you might want to think again.
You might also think it is a clever idea to gift your progressive friend a 2017 Hillary Clinton calendar -- now half to 95% off at many retailers -- but take note that politics is a particularly sensitive subject in the U.S. right now.
You want to find the perfect gift for your tech-savvy friend or family members.
But make sure you know their “technology orientation” first. It’s probably not the best idea to buy a Mac for a PC person, or an iPhone for an Android aficionado.
In the U.S., land of camping out at tech superstores for the next phone or computer model, make sure that your gift is up to date.
If you are going to a Christmas party, the host can’t always be expected to know that you are vegetarian, vegan, raw, gluten free, or a generally picky eater. If you have a special dietary need, just express it in advance rather than expecting the host to be a food psychic, and then complaining.
But if the cuisine still does not match the quality you are used to, sometimes it’s best to just stay silent -- unless you want to receive silence.
Said Annika from California:
“At my family’s Christmas party, my French boyfriend announced he’s not a fan of ‘American food’ when taking a bit of my father’s beloved pie. Everyone got quiet.”
In America, many gifts have multiple price tags.
Be sure to remove all of them before wrapping a gift -- especially if your find comes from a half-off sale at the Dollar Tree. Conversely, it can be seen as tacky to leave a price tag on to show just how much you paid for a gift.
In the country you come from, gifts might be more humble, or exchanged weeks before Christmas on St. Nicholas Eve.
But that’s not always the case in American consumer culture, remembers Mirva, a Finnish expat in New York.
She took part in a ‘Secret Santa’, in which a fellow Finn put in a postcard stating “$20 has been donated on your behalf to a homeless person in New York”.
“Everyone kept changing presents to not end up with [the postcard] though people agreed it was a noble idea,” she said. “In the end I exchanged it for myself as I was happy not to receive any extra junk. But it seems here people expect to get tangible stuff.”
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