Chuseok, also known as Korean Thanksgiving Day, is one of Korea's most quintessential festive holidays that spans three days. The exact dates are determined by the lunar calendar, so the celebration dates change every year. This year's Chuseok, in particular, is highly anticipated and is being held very sacred in the hearts of many Koreans nationwide; why? Because it starts on Wednesday, September 30th - that means three days off of work, plus the weekend!
But most importantly, it's a time when families gather to spend quality time together to exchange food, stories, and of course, gifts! We wanted to highlight this Chuseok with a gift guide by sharing what's anticipated, appreciated, and often gets re-gifted. We've also added some nice Chuseok themed product links and great buys if you're feeling festive.
Anticipated: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ | Appreciated: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ | Re-Gifted: (We Wish!)
In Korea, cash is the ultimate gift, and it's perceived that the fatter the envelope is, the bigger the appreciation. Note, presentation of money or any gift for that matter is very important in Korean culture. You can't just simply slap some cash in hand, and call it a day. As you’ll observe in this post, even the most common household items such as spam (yes, spam!) will be presented in all its glory.
Anticipated: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ | Appreciated: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ | Re-Gifted: ⭐
Korean ginseng is a dearly loved and mysterious root of life. It dates back thousands of years, making it part of Korea's proud heritage, and has gone down in history books as a standard offering or gift to VIPs visiting from outside Korea. Although a great gift for parents and elders, it's also normal to present it to students, influential social acquaintances, colleagues, and business contacts. It shows you wish them good health, mental sharpness, and prosperity. Goryeo red ginseng, noted for its excellent efficacy in delivering these kinds of benefits, is the main ingredient of this uniquely flavored and scented honey snack.
These days gifting tastier versions of ginseng that are easy to carry around when hiking or traveling is becoming a more practical way of offering this time-honored gift.
Anticipated: ⭐⭐ | Appreciated: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ | Re-Gifted: (We hope not!)
Hanwoo, premium Korean beef, is considered a great delicacy in Korea for its exceptional taste. A gift set of this meat is one of the priciest options for Chuseok with sirloin and tenderloin being the most popular parts. But ribs are also very appreciated, as they make for perfect braised short ribs, which is a traditional dish for Chuseok. These gift sets are not highly anticipated or expected due to their high price ($150 ~$300 USD), so it would be considered a high-end gift for family, close associates, or exceptional employees.
Anticipated: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ | Appreciated: ⭐⭐⭐ | Re-Gifted: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Yes, spam. We're not kidding. This gift set always bewilders many first-time visitors to Korea, especially when they see it packaged in such a phenomenal way. The canned cooked pork made by Hormel Foods Corporation, which gained popularity worldwide after World War II, is a huge hit in Korea. Spam breaks sales records around Chuseok time, and thanks to Korean moms, it has become an indispensable household item. But it's so common to 'get spammed' that it's often re-gifted.
Anticipated: ⭐⭐⭐ | Appreciated: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ | Re-Gifted: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
In Korea, simple convenience store-brand toothpaste and shampoos are extravagantly packaged and offered as a Chuseok gift. People might scratch their heads in the West if they got such a gift and wonder if it's a prank, passive-aggressive punishment, or sign that they have bad breath. Not in Korea, it’s actually quite practical and a cost-effective gift to let a good neighbor or other casual acquaintance know you appreciate them.
There’s been a recent trend to upgrade these bath & beauty gift sets to more premium and higher-end signature brands. This premium four-piece bath & body set, for instance, includes shampoo, hair conditioner, body wash, and body lotion - much more than your typical convenience store toothpaste. These days, the "extravagant" factor goes beyond the packaging and into the actual box to let loved ones know you really care about them.
Anticipated: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ | Appreciated: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ | Re-Gifted: ⭐⭐⭐
Hangwa is a general term for traditional Korean confections. Since ancient times, Korean traditional snacks (sweets and rice cakes) have been an appetizing and crucial part of Korean cuisine and special occasions such as weddings, birthdays, and of course Chuseok. These gifts are also common amongst colleagues, friends and acquaintances, and are perfect for sharing.
We hope this post was informative and got you in a festive mood. If you'd like to celebrate with us, why not treat yourself or gift any of these specially discounted and selected items from our Kmall24 sellers to celebrate this year's Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving).