Regardless of where you call home, as the holidays approach, consider adopting one of our favorite Japanese holiday traditions: oseibo. This tradition includes the giving of end-of-year gifts to show respect and gratitude to friends, colleagues and clients.
In some countries, giving gifts to coworkers or colleagues can seem a bit forward. (That is, unless you’re in management and giving gifts to your team, or you’re in a gift swapping situation.) However, observing the Japanese holiday traditions of giving and receiving gifts to colleagues in December is expected if you’re doing business in the country.
Celebrating elsewhere? Even if that’s the case, if this tradition appeals to you, consider incorporating it into your team’s pre-holiday break routine. We have lots of holiday gift ideas for the global business Traveler in your office. Plus, we’ll provide a few tips for observing Japanese holiday traditions like oseibo.
Holiday Gift Ideas for the Global Business Traveler
When adhering to Japanese holiday traditions, you can expect some of the same social standards that apply to gift-giving in Western countries to also apply here. For example, gifts to colleagues and clients should not be highly personal. However, Japanese holiday traditions take things even further. Gifts are fairly generic and not personalized to someone’s individual tastes or preferences.
Along these lines, here are some holiday gift ideas that any business Traveler is sure to love.
1. A functional passport case
Business Travelers get a lot of use out of their passports. A stylish passport case can keep their most-used travel documents safe, neat, orderly and easy to grab in a snap. A high-quality leather case is generic enough to appeal to most users while still offering a touch of luxury. You can find passport cases that also include spots for business cards and extra organizational pockets. Features like these will make business travel even easier.
2. A travel cosmetics kit
Along with food and confections, cosmetics are one item that you might see offered as a group office gift as part of an office’s Japanese holiday traditions. (Don’t worry — we’ll talk more about group gifts in a moment!). For business Travelers who love their luxury skincare and similar items, though, taking them on the go can be difficult, particularly when traveling with just a carry-on.
Make the process easier for the frequent business Travelers in your circle. A travel-friendly cosmetics kit will keep them looking and feeling fresh even on their longest long-haul flights.
3. A power bank
While it might not necessarily be fashionable, it’s certainly functional — and something that can be a true godsend to business Travelers who find their laptops or smart devices are failing fast, with no airport outlets to be found.
4. A luxury sleep mask
There’s nothing to ruin a business trip quite like a flight wherein you just couldn’t get any amount of shut-eye. A luxury sleep mask can help with that, blocking out that pesky overhead light that your seatmate just won’t shut off, despite the late hour. Plus, with one-size-fits-all options, this is an accessory that you can give to any business Traveler. There are no worries about getting the fit perfectly.
5. Packing cubes
What kind of chaos did Travelers deal with before packing cubes came on the scene over the last few years? Share the gift of organization with your fellow business Traveler. A set of packing cubes will help them keep all their items separate and tidy for an easier, more convenient business trip.
6. Lounge passes
If you’re willing to spend a bit more, consider springing for a lounge pass (or multiple lounge passes) if you know that your recipient doesn’t enjoy unlimited airport lounge access via their business travel credit card or rewards program.
Spending a layover in a lounge is the perfect opportunity to get some work done mid-trip or to relax and enjoy a bite to eat and a drink before their hectic travel schedule picks up again.
Respecting Japanese Holiday Traditions
Regardless of the gift you choose, if you’re making an effort to respect Japanese holiday traditions as you present your colleagues or clients with gifts this season, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Often, if you work in a Japanese office, gifts would be purchased with the entire team in mind and then left in a common area that’s understood as the place to distribute and take gifts (for example, if you were to bring boxes of chocolates from a recent trip as a gift, you would leave them in this area for colleagues to take as they pass by). These group-style gifts are popular due to their convenience.
If you plan to give a gift to an individual, though, you’ll need to put in a little extra thought. While, in accordance with Japanese holiday traditions, you’ll want to keep the gift fairly generic, the gift should reflect your relationship with the recipient and the level of respect you hold for them. Additionally, the gift should be wrapped in some manner and presented with both hands (similarly to how you might present a business card in a Japanese business setting).
In general, Japanese holiday traditions dictate that you spend about ¥2500 to ¥5000 on oseibo gifts. This equates to approximately $17–$35 or €15–€31.
Still Need Help Finding the Perfect Gift?
Peruse the options available on the JTB USA online store, Artisan, offering the finest traditional Japanese craft products. Whether you’re shopping for an entire office, colleague or client, or anyone in your life who can appreciate the artistry of a locally crafted gift, your recipient is sure to love the array of products you’ll find here, from home décor to office supplies. Plus, the Artisan online store offers Japanese-style gift-wrapping services, as well as affordable worldwide shipping.