Chinese New Year or Lunar New Year is the biggest festival for Chinese people and many other people with other Asian heritage. 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, clients, employees, coworkers, and families at Chinese New Year.
5 Popular Chinese New Year Gifts for Friends or Coworkers
Choosing a Chinese 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 or coworkers.
1. Food Combos and Hampers
‘Everyone loves food dearly', it is said of people in China. So, it is perfect to give food as a gift. Maybe some healthy dried fruits, roasted nuts, chocolate, cookies, crackers, wafers, cheese… and the list goes on.
2. Tea Packets
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.
3. Fruit Baskets
Fruit baskets are a common and proper gift for your Chinese friends or colleagues, 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.
4. Home Supplies
If your hosts have moved into a new house not long beforehand, then home supplies such as a tea set, electrical equipment, or crockery are popular choices.
5. Alcohol and Tobacco
If your Chinese hosts drink alcohol, preparing a nice bottle of alcohol could be a nice choice. If your male Chinese host smokes, find out what he likes. He will appreciate a nice carton of whichever brand it is.
5 Popular Chinese New Year Gifts for Clients
A new year is a chance to build new bonds and strengthen existing ones. Chinese New Year is the perfect time to wish your client a prosperous new beginning and good luck. You can choose one among the following top 5 ideas:
1. "Year of the ..."— Chinese Zodiac Animal Items
The Chinese zodiac gives each year an animal sign. It is a good idea to send your client a showpiece or gift item of the animal that year. It is a way to wish good fortune and show your knowledge of Chinese culture.
2. Chinese Tea Set
Tea is an integral part of Chinese culture. Sending a tea set is a great way to send best wishes for health and to show your respect.
3. Quality Water Bottle
A water bottle is perfect as a corporate gift. Consider a high-quality and decent option with your company's branding.
4. Personalized Client Gift Boxes
Everyone loves a customized gift. If you know what your client's interests are, you can consider a custom gift. Write your own message or attach photos to the inside of the gift box. Your clients will love the personalized touch you've given these greeting boxes.
5. Flavored Chocolates
Every year deserves to begin and end on a sweet note. Thus, chocolates can be a great gift for clients, wishing a sweet new year. It is better to get multi-flavored chocolates like matcha, durian, dark, and wasabi for cheerfulness and stimulating interest.
5 Popular Chinese New Year Gifts for Employees
Chinese New Year is a great time to show your appreciation for your employees. Here are some of the best new year gift ideas for your employees.
1. Virtual Gift Cards
Thanking employees with gift cards is one of the best gift ideas. Holders can use them to purchase goods or services. You can buy cards from a wide variety of retailers, for example, Amazon, Starbucks, Walmart, and eBay.
2. Customized Themed Merchandise
Giving your employees customized-themed merchandise as a new year gift is a good way to thank them and keep them motivated. The merchandise can be coffee mugs, pens, and notebooks. Make sure you include their name or initials on the merchandise.
3. Food Combos and Hampers
Chinese New Year is a time for people to gather together and share food. You can prepare food combos for your employees, including some healthy dried fruits, roasted nuts, chocolate, cookies, crackers, wafers, cheese, etc.
4. Electronics and Gadgets
Tech products are an important part of your employees' work and life. You can consider preparing some electronics which are cool, sleek, and functional for your employees, such as a Kindle, a Switch, a portable laptop stand, noise-canceling headphones, or a smart gadget charging hub.
5. A Small Trip
After a year of hard work, rewarding employees with a short trip is a good idea. It will unwind them and rejuvenate them mentally as well. Some short trips to nearby resorts or a relaxing town can be great.
5 Popular Chinese New Year Gifts for Seniors
For seniors, it is popular to choose a New Year gift with health benefits. So, anything you can think of that will make the seniors feel healthier and bring pleasure to their life is okay.
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 other warm clothing 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.
3. Tonic Foods
You can gift-box some food that have some great health benefits such as edible bird's nest, ginseng, walnuts, cordyceps, and goji berries.
You can give craft gifts according to the receivers interests. For example, paintings and porcelain for antique fans, and tea set for a tea lover.
5. A Tea Set
For a tea lover, you can give a tea set, or a nice gift box of their favorite tea if they already have a tea set.
6 Popular Chinese New Year 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 for the children, either for their healthy growth, enjoyment, or for their studies.
1. Red Envelops/Packets
If your Chinese hosts have children, do not forget to prepare some red envelopes (hongbao) with suitable amounts of new bills in. This is the easy and traditional go-to Chinese gift for kids that fits all circumstances.
2. Candy and Chocolates
Take some candy with you during Chinese New Year; so that you can give some happiness to the kids you come across.
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.
Books such as enlightening reading materials or one of the world's great classics, ideally chosen according to the child's interests, are also highly recommended, and will represent your best wishes for their future.
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.
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 based on the child's needs.
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 Lunar New Year. Don't buy them, otherwise your friends may break up with you when receiving them.
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.
Tips on Giving a Gift
- The gifts should be in right colors. Red and gold are considered fortunate colors and white and black are taboo colors.
- Don't give the gift with unlucky meaning, such as clock which is related to 'death'.
- Take a pair of gifts with you, as Chinese people believe that good things should be in pairs.
- 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.
See more on Gift Giving Etiquette.