If you already met a special Russian lady and you think you relationship is serious enough to go visit her in Russia, first of all, congratulations! Second of all, make sure you don’t blow it. Learning Russian customs and traditions will help you not look like a dork; it will make your Russian woman feel special and will impress her family. First thing you need to do before you go is to buy gifts. For your woman and for her family.
Russians are not very materialistic. In my (N.) humble opinion they are less materialistic than Americans. Russian culture is not a consumer culture, so don’t misinterpret this gift-giving tradition. This is just a tradition. Not sure where it came from, but since I can remember myself, guests are supposed to bring gifts. The end.
If there is a child in the house, buy toys, candy,or nice clothes. Buying gifts for a child, even if he is not your bride’s child, is very important. Almost as important as buying gifts for your bride.
Russian women care about their appearance, so buying perfume, good makeup, creams, lotions and so on is a good idea. Don’t buy anti-wrinkle cream for your Russian lady though, you might be misunderstood. Jewelry is good too. Don’t buy stuff in bulk. Make sure everyone gets something different. You must show that you are thoughtful, even if you are not.
If you know your bride’s size and feel comfortable shopping for women’s clothes, you may buy her a nice dress. Don’t buy her Wal-Mart crap. Russian women are stylish, they know and like brand name stuff, and they care what they wear.
When you arrive you may buy flowers for female members of your bride’s family, including your bride of course. Make sure you don’t buy an even number of flowers, because even numbers are taken to funerals and graves. Be careful with colors as well. For your bride, red is the best choice, because it is considered to be the color of love. For the rest of the family, you can buy any color, except yellow.
It is usually harder to find gifts for guys, but you can ask your Russian lady if she could suggest something for her father or brother. Many Russian men are fond of fishing, some like sports, some collect things. If your bride cannot give you any suggestions, you can buy some alcohol in duty-free shop. And no, it doesn’t have to be vodka.
Don’t stress out about it this much. Russians are not picky and if you choose your gifts thoughtfully, they will most likely like and most definitely appreciate them.
You will probably end up with a bunch of gifts from them as well, so bring a bigger bag. Just in case.
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