Spread the joy of Chuseok by getting your loved ones these awesome gifts!
by Rachelle "Roach"
You can’t show up empty-handed to a Chuseok celebration. The courteous thing to do is show up with a gift for any and all hosts of Chuseok get-togethers. Luckily, around the holidays, Korean stores helpfully sell pre-packaged gift sets of all kinds. You don’t even have to wrap it. Just add it to the cart at the supermarket and show up at your fam’s house with the set and a smile. But if this is your first time at the Chuseok rodeo, you might be a little, well, surprised at some of the selection. Not to worry. Here’s a helpful gift-giving guide to make sure you’re the most popular guest at all of your Chuseok events!
The Spam Set This is probably the most infamous of the Korean gift sets that appear EVERYWHERE in the lead-up to Chuseok. Before you ask, yes, it is THAT Spam, and yes, it is, in fact, the desired gift among your average Korean citizen. The Americans brought this canned meat over to the country during the Korean War. Unlike in the U.S., it has maintained a mostly un-ironic popularity since then, popping into stews and fried rice and more ... and into Chuseok gift sets. Don’t go a single Chuseok without one. Booze Listen. You’ll probably be extremely popular in Korea if you show up anywhere in Korea with a few bottles of soju. If you want to get a little classier for a Chuseok celebration, though, you can get an alcohol gift set that might contain gorgeously packaged soju, a traditional Korean drink like makgeolli (rice wine), or some good old fashioned whiskey or wine.
Well-being Gift Set If you’re trying to send a different message than showing up with a bunch of alcohol, you might try the well-being route. Koreans are known for loving natural ingredients like ginseng, tea, and honey not just for cooking, but for general skin care, digestive health, and general well-being. Showing up with a nice gift set of ginseng products is a great way to show you’re hoping your recipient has a healthy, happy year ahead of them. Beef Gift Set You can take out two birds with one stone here: Your gift can be your dinner! And it can be a really nice one, too, especially if you spring for a nice cut of the meat, which can be expensive in Korea.
Fruit Sets This is probably your safest bet for a Chuseok gift. The holiday is all about reaping and giving thanks for the harvest, so fruit sets with late summer and fall produce like Asian pears, apples, and grapes are popular gifts all around the country.
Hygiene Gift Set What says harvest better than new bottles of toothpaste? You might want to use a little care with this one -- probably not best to give your boss, for instance, a gift that suggests they could use a little extra body wash in their life. For friends of your own age who could always use some extra shampoo and soap around the house, though, this is a good one. And Korean skincare products are all the rage, so there's no shortage of options! But the best gift anyone could ever receive - a SnackFever Box!