The presents from work are
The presents from work are actually a reasonably normal Chinese practice. In days gone by, almost everything in a person's life was dictated by their work unit, or 'dan wei': your job, where you lived, any social security, the number of square metres you and your family were allocated to live in... Until very recently, you had to get written permission from your dan wei if you wanted to get divorced. The presents, I suppose, relate to being well looked after within this 'support network'.
Now that this system no longer really exists, with thousands of previously state-owned business being sold off either domestically or abroad, lots of people whose pensions etc should have been taken care of are left to fend for themselves.
I should think myself lucky for the haw nectar, really.