When You Believe in Things That You Don’t Understand: Very Superstitious Gifts

Have you ever received a superstitious gift? 

 A few years ago, a good friend/colleague presented me with mooncakes for the Asian Moon Festival. 

 He explained that it was part of his culture’s superstitions. It prompted an interesting discussion because he used the term deliberately. Although it was a tradition to give mooncakes, he was motivated by superstition: by giving me mooncakes, he wanted me to enjoy health and prosperity. I was grateful!

We may not state it as explicitly as my friend, but superstitions are a part of gift giving across all history and cultures. As humans, we’re clear on the point: we experience things over which we have no control. It’s in our nature to be superstitious– we attempt to influence the unpredictable circumstances in our lives. 

Athletes incorporate superstitions before major competitions. It improves their focus and reduces tension. And 70% of students rely on good luck charms for better academic performance. Businesses take superstitions into consideration- more than 80% of high-rise buildings all over the world skip the 13th floor.

Science suggests that superstitions can offer real psychological benefits. They’re a way of relieving stress in uncertainty, and they can help to promote a positive mental attitude.

A good friend, or a savvy leader, is going to factor superstitions into a gift decision, out of respect for the recipient. It may not be their reason for giving it, but it might influence how a gift is received. It would be unfortunate to unknowingly offend someone by overlooking a tradition. It’s a good opportunity to get to know someone a little better by asking good questions. Do a little research.

Many taboo gifts aren’t going to be as obvious as a Goosebumps episode. (Although, if it’s featured on Goosebumps- steer clear of giving it. Including-but-not-limited-to amulets that grant wishes and prune cookies that make you older when you eat them. Ventriloquist dummies should come with a warning label. Just don’t.) 

Western superstitions have been passed down through Old Wives’ Tales. These women seldom reveal their sources, although we still heed their warnings and avoid giving these gifts:

  • Handkerchiefs signify tears to come.
  • Soap will wash your friendship away.
  • Mirrors cause estrangement. (See also Goosebumps, Episode 32.)

Different cultures consider different numbers to be unlucky.

  • Fear of the number thirteen has its own name: triskaidekaphobia.
  • Number four is avoided in China because it sounds like the word for death.
  • In Japan, the number nine sounds similar to the word for torture. 

There’s a powerful connection between superstitions and gift giving. Superstitions are built around the uncertainties of life. A gift is the reassurance that the recipient is not facing these uncertainties alone. That’s one less thing to worry about! It’s a good reason to feel hopeful.

Superstitions identify the parts of life over which we have no control. This allows us to identify the things that we can control. We can choose to invest in relationships and build the community. 

We mark our major life events with Mileposts. From a Milepost, you can look back and see where you came from, and how you got there. The past is a known quantity. Many gifts celebrate the accomplishment that brought you to the milepost.

The path forward is going to be unpredictable. That’s where the superstitious gift comes in. You’re on the journey together. They can be sure of it.

Here’s to the future!

Is there gift giving in your future?
Let us help you create a Milepost Moment!

get connected

Stay in the know

Sign up for our mailing list to learn about events, promotions and new offerings.  


Sign up below

Upon payment of deposit, the Customer agrees to the following Transaction Terms and Conditions:

Invoice & Payment:
You should receive an invoice within 24 hours of the project start date with your Gift Concierge. Most orders will require a nonrefundable deposit of up to 50% of your order in advance of your ship date. Once the gift has been selected and finalized, the balance of the order cost will be invoiced and will include shipping as a separate line item. For credit card or ACH payments, the Customer Portal can be used to pay your invoice directly. In some cases, we can issue a direct invoice, should the customer organization require this. Note that volume orders will be assessed a 3% fee for credit card processing, which can be avoided by paying via ACH.
Addresses, Returns & Cancellations:
Please note that we are unable to reship gifts that are sent back to our fulfillment center due to the nature of our gift products. As such, all addresses in your order form are considered final. Once your order has been submitted to our fulfillment center, there will be a $50 fee to change or remove any addresses. Though we are happy to accommodate address changes in this way, please note that this will result in your full order being pulled from the queue and may result in a later shipping date. This ensures a seamless and on-time gifting process for all clients. (Tip: Ensure floor and suite numbers are included, especially for packages going to offices or universities. This is typically the primary reason for returns.) We cannot honor any cancellation requests once the gifts have shipped. Any requests to cancel an order that has already been submitted to our fulfillment center is subject to a $50 cancellation fee + the price of custom goods procured.
For custom or unique orders, our Gift Concierge team will work with you to meet deadlines and provide accurate and transparent information on order gift shipping times.
We ship all gifts from our fulfillment center, located in the Detroit area. Estimated shipping times for the continental U.S. are: Midwest: 1-3 days, Northeast: 2-4 days, South: 2-4 days, West: 2-5 days, based on exact shipping address. Although we do our very best to package and ship your gifts with great care and consideration, we can not control delays or issues with lost shipments caused by carriers such as FedEx or USPS. If you experience any other issues with gift delivery, please email CustomerService@MilepostGifts.com or visit your customer portal.
Shipping costs are always billed separately for each customer order and will be included in the final customer invoice.
Once your gifts have shipped, you will receive an email with tracking information for your entire order.
Reach out to our team so we can ensure you have a smooth and delightful order experience. Contact your Gift Concierge member directly or our Support team at CustomerService@MilepostGifts.com to assist you.