Sol Nal Gifts Are For Sale at EMart

What would you do if someone gave you a gift of shampoo or toothpaste?  If you are an American, you may be insulted. You may think, “What’s wrong?  Does my hair look dirty?'”  or “Are my teeth yellow?”  However, that is not what they think in Korea at all.  Next week, is the Korean New Year. Yesterday, at the mall, I saw they had Sol Nal, Korean New Year gifts out and for sale, and I saw them again when we went to E-Mart today.  I decided to take a few pictures and show you what kinds of things the Koreans are going to be giving out.

Here are boxes of apples and pears all stacked up as special gifts for Sol Nal.  The Korean apples and pears are huge compared to American apples and pears.  One person has trouble eating just one of these alone.  The pears are different from American and European pears.  They are round and don’t go bad as quickly.  We all know that apples stay longer than other fruit, but in Korea, pears do too.
There are also big boxes of oranges for sale as Sol Nal gifts.  Koreans are extremely proud of their oranges!
Here are even more apples for sale.  The ones in these boxes are not the biggest ones you can find.  These were marked down.

When I was a professor at the university, often, the president of the university sent me a huge box of apples or perhaps a big assortment of Spam and tuna.  These are a little more normal for Americans because we also sometimes give fruit or nice meats and cheeses as gifts.  However, we don’t usually give Spam and tuna. If we give meat, we give nice salami.  Many people in America think of Spam as second class meat, but the Koreans give it as a gift.  The president gave me gifts because he gave all the the professors gifts.  In Korea, on Sol Nal, the bosses all give gifts out to their employees. My daughter knows she will be getting a gift from her boss too. It is just how things are done in Korea.

Here are gift packs with traditional cookies, dried fruit, and huts.
These gift packs have walnuts on one end, pieces of wood on the other end, and who knows what is in the middle–I think a kind of seeds they eat.  They may put the pieces of wood in tea, I think.


The gift at the top has walnuts, honeycomb, and who knows what at the end. I think they are a kind of seeds.  On the bottom, it looks like different kinds of nuts.
Here are gift packs full of different kinds of traditional Korean cookies.  The long ones you see at the bottom and the sides are the ones that are just spun sugar. The ones in the middle are made of different kinds of seeds. All these cookies are really good.

At Christmas in America, we often give out cookies or candy.  They give out Korean traditional cookies on Sol Nal, but they are not homemade like the Americans give out.  It doesn’t mean they aren’t good cookies though.  Someone gave me a big box of traditional Korean cookies on a holiday, and I really enjoyed them. There was no flour in them, they were just spun sugar.

Here are some really nice gift packs. These have several different kinds of nuts in one package.  I think I could really enjoy this as a gift!

Besides these kind of things, they also give out nuts, mushrooms, cooking oil, tea, coffee, and of course, ginseng.  If you have read my other blogs, they give you cooking oil to wish riches for you.  They think ginseng is very healthy even though modern day scientists have really done tests on the ginseng to find out what it does, and it does not do the many things the Koreans insist it does, but you can’t tell them that.  Ginseng has been used for centuries in Korea, and the people, especially the old ones, really believe in it as a cure all medicine.

There are always gift boxes like these with soap, shampoo, and toothpaste.  I have actually received gifts like these before, but I don’t prefer them because I like to choose my own shampoo, soap, and toothpaste.  
Could you imagine getting a six months supply of toothpaste ass a gift?We have gotten them before, and it wasn’t particularly something we wanted, but using it saved money.
Here is a multi pack of mushrooms.  Most of the mushroom gift boxes had just one kind of mushrooms in them, but this had several, so I took a picture of it. If someone gave me this, I actually wouldn’t know what to do with it.
There were lots and lots of packages of different kinds of shampoo, cream rinse, and body washes. 
Of course, lots of boxes of cooking oil, Spam, and tuna are always available as gifts on the holiday here.
There were also lots of gift packs with coffee in them. I think Americans might give one another coffee.
There was a whole aisle of ginseng products packaged up to give as gifts.  If you have ever smelled some of this stuff, it has a really strange smell.  Paju City, S. Korea is the ginseng capital of the world.
Here is actually ginseng plants in bottles for sale.  I am not sure what they do with this, but I know some of them eat ginseng plants.

Bosses give these gifts to employees.  Young people give these gifts to their parents.  However, no one gives the young people gifts like these. Young people don’t get gifts on Sol Nal.  However, if you area child, on Sol Nal, you will be receiving a bag of money from Grandma and Grandpa.  In Japan,  the kids also receive a bag of money on the Japanese New Year.  They look forward to that money every year just like American kids look forward to gifts from Santa at Christmas.  My Korean son in law had to work on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day, but from what I understand, he finally has a day off on Sol Nal!   He is going to spend it with his mother.  My daughter and son in law will be giving a gift like one of these to his parents.

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