What is mahjong? Mahjong is a classic Chinese game, dating back to the mid to late 1800s in Shanghai. The game is usually played by a group of four people. Players collect tiles to create winning sets such as in gin rummy. Traditional mahjong sets typically contain 144 pieces. The game became popular with the Chinese as well as with Americans living in China. Then, according to the Wall Street Journal, during the 1950s the game gained popularity in the United States with housewives. Now with online games it has made a resurgence.
If you know someone who loves mahjong, is looking for a new hobby, or is interested in Chinese culture, these mahjong gifts are for them. I guarantee you will develop an interest in the game after perusing these presents.
1. Classic Chinese Mahjong Set
Gifts for mahjong players
A classic set is a great gift for players who don’t already have their own. With their own set they can host mahjong nights without having to wait to be invited by others. Most sets come in a handy traveling case for when it is a friend’s turn to host.
Of course, we Americans like to change things up. An American mahjong set will contain 8 additional joker tiles along with score cards. Some also come with instructions. However, you can also get a book on mahjong for beginners.
For more decorative storage, give them an exotic mahjong tote or tile bag.
2. Etched Wine Glass
Mahjong themed gifts
Of course, they must have something to drink while playing the game. Give them their own special glass along with a bottle of wine.
Tile wine charms will help everyone remember which glass is theirs.
However, if they don’t have stemmed wine glasses, that can be a problem. You can solve this dilemma with washable wine glass markers. They can write each player’s name on their glass, and the names can be washed off at the end of the evening.
3. Mahjong Cards
Gifts for mahjong lovers
Instead of playing the game with tiles, they can play an Americanized card version. This can easily be packed into a purse or suitcase for traveling.
Another game mahjong players might like is Rummikub. This game uses tiles to play an alternative form of gin rummy.
Also for those who enjoy games with tiles, you can get a classic dominoes set.
4. Tile Bracelet
Mahjong gift ideas
Give her a hand crafted bracelet incorporating a mahjong tile. These are unique gifts that are the perfect size to slip into a Christmas stocking.
You can also get some earrings or a tile necklace charm to add onto a chain.
For an extra surprise, place a tile mahjong christmas ornament on the tree and see if they notice it!
5. Chinese Nail Art
Unique mah-jongg gifts
Want to give them something different? Try a set of nail stickers with Chinese characters. They will look like they went to the salon after applying their favorite nail polish, some stickers, and a top coat to keep them in place. Who knows? Their friends might start begging them for manicures too.
Remember Rubick’s cube from the ‘80s? Now you can get a mahjong puzzle cube full of mahjong tile designs. Brainiacs will love this!
For a trendy gift, get them a phone case decorated with mahjong characters.
6. Tile Chocolate Mold
Tasty mah jongg gift ideas
How awesome would it be to serve candies that look like mahjong tiles at the next game night? These silicone molds can be used to make candy or with fondant for a fancy cake design.
Creative types with a sweet tooth will love this. Give this with some white chocolate melts. These can easily be melted on the stove or in the microwave to pour into the mold. Once they harden and are removed from the mold, they can use food markers with fine tips to highlight the characters.
7. Card Table
Useful mahjong gifts
To host a game they will need a card table. We use our dining room table for family game night, but sometimes it can be hard to reach all the way across. A card table is the perfect size for four players to each conveniently reach the tiles.
You can also give them a decorative table cover which reduces the sound of noisy dice while adding to the theme. If they already have a card table, but it looks a bit beat up, one of these covers will breathe new life into it.
You can also give mahjong players some fancy tile pushers.
8. Chinese Character Fans
Mahjong related gifts for women
Chinese characters are used on mahjong tiles, but did you know that women used their own symbols to secretly communicate with each other in the past by writing on their fans? Although the language they used was different from the characters we see on the tiles, these fans make cool gifts for mahjong players who are interested in more than just the game.
To learn more about the historic roles of women in China, readers will love historical fiction books by Lisa See. For more information about the secret writings of women on Chinese fans, read Snowflower and the Secret Fan.
You can even give them a book on Chinese writing and symbols so they can become experts.
9. Mahjong Apron
Mah-jongg gifts for entertaining
To protect their clothing while preparing food, give them a unique mahjong themed apron. This way they don’t have to rush to change their clothes at the last minute.
Of course they will need coasters. You don’t want condensation from drinks interfering with their game, do you?
For serving some light appetizers, you can give the host some unique cheese spreaders with mahjong tiles for handles and a charcuterie board to place the appetizers on.
10. Mahjong Mugs
Mahjong gifts for tea drinkers
Tea drinking is a big part of Chinese culture. Why not get them a cool mahjong themed mug to drink theirs from. Of course these mugs can be used for coffee too.
A mug on its own is ok as a secret Santa gift, but normally you will want to give them some amazing Chinese teas to go with the mug.
If they really love tea and the traditions that go along with it, give them a classic Chinese tea set which includes cups and a pot.
11. Chinese Dragon Crystal Ball
Chinese gifts for mahjong lovers
In China, dragons are seen as bringers of good luck. Maybe a crystal ball with an etched dragon will turn the game in their favor.
Feng shui is the Chinese practice which claims to use energy forces to balance harmony between people and their environment. A Feng Shui crystal tree will look decorative, and who knows, maybe it will bring them harmony as well. If this subject interests them, you can get them books on feng shui too.
Often players gamble small amounts of money while playing mahjong. Give them a decorative money pouch for their winnings.
12. Chinese Cookbook for Beginners
Mahjong related gifts
Has their love of mahjong spread to other areas of Chinese culture? Maybe they want to try their hand at Chinese cooking. Give them a cookbook for beginners to learn the basics.
Chinese cooking isn’t always deep fried battered stuff you get in Chinese take out. Give them a wok set with utensils to make healthy stir fry dishes.
Once they get the hang of the basics, they might want to try creating dumplings and other appetizers to serve at their mahjong game. While dumplings can be made several ways, a bamboo steamer will be a healthier and more authentic way to make dumplings than frying.
While the game itself is Chinese, during 1950s America, it was played primarily among Jewish housewives. If they want to try their hand at an authentic American mahjong experience, you can give them a Jewish cookbook instead.
13. Chinese Takeout Purse
More cool mahjong gifts
Some women love shoes. Others adore jewelry. I have a thing for purses. While these don’t have a mahjong theme, mahjong players are sure to fall in love with these unique purses that look like Chinese take out boxes.
For wearable gifts for men and women, bring them some good luck with a pair of mahjong socks.
You can also get a T-shirt with a mahjong saying. However, I prefer a red dragon t-shirt, which displays the Chinese symbol of power and strength.