Hospitality and giving to others is ingrained in Turkish Culture and probably wired into our very DNA. I know for myself that it is hard for me NOT to serve or give someone something when they come over to my house or if they come in the cafe. My friends have learned and quietly tease me that I come around to offer more tea just about every 45 minutes because I want to make sure people feel taken care of.
The same goes for gifts and feeding people. Growing up, gathering together baskets of food or goodies to bring over to a hostess was all the time. It applied to everyone! I think one of my favorite things to do is to make a basket of fun gifts representing a person personality and surprise them on their birthday.
At first, my American friends were a little overwhelmed because to the non-turk, it can feel very overwhelming and …well..odd.
In my opinion, if you see something that reminds you of someone, you pick it up and give it to them. At Kahve Cafe, we have SO MANY ways to create fun little surprises for friends and loved ones. It just makes me giddy to put together little gifts for people!
Here are a few options that can be put together in just a few minutes:
- Turkish Bath Basket: A Turkish Pestemal (towel), our own Lemon Lavender olive oil soap, lemon cologne and a bag of tea.
- Turkish coffee Basket: A Turkish coffee copper pot, coffee, cup(s), bamboo scoop and a bag of fresh roasted Turkish coffee.
- Assorted Tea bundle of various bags of tea
- A box of assorted baklava and a bag of tea
- Spices Spices Spices! Do a red pepper variety pack or all different herbal blends!
- Sweet and Savory basket with tea: Assorted baked goods with a bag of tea
We have boxes, bags and tissue to help put together a super fun surprise!
I never need an occasion to give someone a full treat or surprise. To see the delight on their faces that you saw something that screamed their name, it priceless. I don’t think people do this enough, honestly. We need to show the people in our lives that we love, care and appreciate them.
Little tokens of friendship and affection can go a long way to making someone feel cared for.
Just as an aside, Turks DO have etiquette around giving gifts. Here are a few ways and how to give/receive gifts in turkey.
- Gifts should be immediately presented to the recipient upon entering the house.
- The recipient will open the gift in front of the giver, but during birthday parties, gifts are opened after the cake.
- For hostess’ gifts and there are other guests, the hostess will not open your gift in your presence to avoid embarrassing the other guests.
- When invited to a Turkish home, you are expected to bring small gifts for the children in the household. Gifts of toys and sweets are appreciated.
- There are no restrictions when it comes to gift wrapping. Any color is accepted as long as the gift is nicely wrapped with a thoughtful card enclosed.
- Turkey is a Muslim country so you should not give alcohol unless you are certain that the recipient drinks.
- If you are staying with a family, gifts of books or music from your own country can be good choices.
- Islam strictly forbids depictions of the human body so you should refrain from giving paintings or photographs that shows nudity especially that of a woman.
- Do not give overly personal or lavish gifts.