Great Chinese New Year Gifts Ideas for Friends, Kids and Seniors

Chinese New Year or Spring Festival is the biggest festival in China. It is a time for giving gifts to express respect and affection. Looking for ideas for Chinese New Year gifts? Here we’ve rounded up the top gifts for friends, kids, and seniors at Chinese New Year.

Chinese New Year Gifts Ideas

Gifts for Friends

Choosing a New Year gift for your friends is based mostly on the intimacy of your friendship. Here are five of our favorite go-to gift ideas for friends.

Chinese New Year gifts

1. Alcohol

If your Chinese hosts drink alcohol, preparing a nice bottle of alcohol could be a nice choice.

2. Tobacco

If your male Chinese host smokes, find out what he likes. He will appreciate a nice carton of whichever brand it is.

3. Tea

Most Chinese people love tea. Tea is always a nice gesture no matter whether your hosts are Chinese or not. A nicely wrapped box of tea is much better than giving bagged tea for gifts.

4. Fruits

Fruit baskets are a common and proper gift for your Chinese hosts, and they can be found in many large shops. Giving a box of oranges or a box of apples is also recommended, because apples and oranges respectively symbolize safety and fortune.

5. Home Supplies

If your hosts have moved into a new house not long before hand, then home supplies such as a tea set, electrical equipment, or crockery are popular choices.

Gifts for Seniors

Instead of alcohol and tobacco, it is more popular to choose a New Year gift benefiting the seniors' health. So anything you can think of that will make the seniors feel healthier and bring pleasure to their life is okay. 

Chinese New Year giftsGifts for seniors

1. Hat, Gloves, Scarf or Clothes

If you are familiar with your hosts, you can prepare a hat, a pair of gloves, a scarf or some clothes as a gift for the seniors in your hosts’ family.

2. Comb or Foot Bath Massager

In traditional Chinese medicine, massage is a gentle and effective way to repair one's body. A high-quality comb can be used to massage the head, and a foot bath massager will improve the blood circulation of the feet, which will bring the seniors warmth in a cold winter.

Gifts for Kids

The key point to choosing a New Year gift for your hosts' children is to select an item which can express your good wishes to the children, either for their healthy growth or for their cleverness.

Chinese New Year gifts for kidsToys are nice gifts for kids.

1. Candy

Take some candy with you during Chinese New Year; so that you can give some happiness to the kids you come across.

2. Red Envelops/Packets

If your Chinese hosts have children, do not forget to prepare some red packets (hongbao). 

3. School Supplies

Visiting your Chinese hosts with some school supplies like a writing pen, a school notebook or a nice box of painting brushes (if the kids are keen on painting) will give the kids a pleasant surprise.

4. Books

Books such as enlightening reading materials or one of the world's great classics, ideally chosen according the child’s interests, are also highly recommended, and will represent your best wishes for their future.

5. Toys

A good-quality toy is also a nice gift for your hosts' children, such as a Barbie doll for a little girl, and a remote control car for a little boy. A chess set or other game is a good gift for a teenager.

6. Clothes

If you are quite intimate with your hosts' family, you can buy their children a set of clothes as a gift. It can be a practical gift.

Things You Should Not Give as a New Year Gift

There are some things which are a big no-no to give to your Chinese friends during the Spring Festival. Don't buy them, otherwise your friends may break up with you when receiving them.

Chinese New Year gifts

Things in black or white

Red is the lucky color in China. As black and white are often used at funerals, white or black presents and wrapping paper should be avoided.


Don't give a necklace as a gift to a platonic friend. Chinese people think things like necklaces, ties, and belts are associated with intimate relations. These things are often given by boyfriends/girlfriends or couples.

A green hat

Wearing a green hat means one’s wife is unfaithful. So a green hat should be avoided.

More on what not to give at Chinese New Year

Tips on Giving a Gift 

  • Do remember to remove the price tag. A gift with a price tag is a hint to the receiver that the gift is expensive, and that the sender is expecting a gift of the equal price.
  • Remember to put your gifts in a box or a bag. Red and gold are considered fortunate colors and white and black are taboo colors.
  • Don't give the gift publicly, especially if giving a gift to only one person in a group (to avoid embarrassment, an appearance of favoritism, etc.).
  • Do not visit a recently bereaved family at Spring Festival, if the Chinese family had the funeral less than a month before Chinese New Year, as this is said to be unlucky (bringing more funerals in the coming year).
  • Take a pair of gifts with you, as Chinese people believe that good things should be in pairs.

See more on Gift Giving Etiquette.

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