The Chinese New Year is nearly here and 2015 is the year of the sheep in Chinese culture. It is traditional to give gifts at Chinese New Year, especially if you are a guest at sometimes house, and gifts are given with both hands as an extension of your respect and kindness towards the receiver. White, black and blue gifts should be avoided as they signify funerals and death, whereas Chinese New Year gifts should be full of luck and prosperity with lots of red and gold colours. If you’re wondering what to buy a Chinese friend for Chinese New Year 2015, look no further than the list below for some awesome Chinese New Year gift ideas:
Happy New Year Card
Whether or not you decide to give your Chinese friend a full blown gift, make sure you at least give them a card so that they know you’re thinking of them during this traditional festival. Red and gold are important colours in the Chinese culture and for Chinese New Year as they symbolise luck and happiness.
A card with a ram or sheep on will be a much appreciated Chinese New Year 2015 gift, and something you can personalise such as cards from Zazzle will go down well as your friend can display the card as a symbol of the luck you wish them for the new year. Buy the sheep card here.
Crystal Money Tree
A lovely gift for a friend, a crystal money tree is thought to bring wealth and prosperity to the owner. This Crystal Money Tree ($25.99) ornament sits in a money bag with ‘Choi’, the Chinese symbol for wealth on it, which will show your friend that you wish them good fortune for the Chinese New Year ahead.
At Chinese New Year, money in red envelopes is traditionally given to younger friends and members of the family, but this is a tradition that your friend will also appreciate. The envelopes usually have gold printing on and the red symbolises luck and prosperity. If you give the gift of money for Chinese New Year, try to get crisp new notes from the bank. Avoid numbers that have a four in them as this symbolises death, and even numbers are better than odd as the Chinese believe that good things come in pairs. You can find these envelopes in your local Chinese supermarket or you can find a lovely set of eight here for $3.99.
Jewellery would make an awesome Chinese New Year gift for a friend as it is traditional to wear a new outfit on New Year. When giving jewelry to a Chinese friend make sure that it symbolises either the zodiac animal for the coming year or their own zodiac sign. Necklaces synbolise an intimate relationship and are best left for gifting to your spouse or significant other rather than a friend. Thee jewellery doesn’t have to be traditional looking and you could go with a more modern style such as the Sheep Cuff Bracelet ($22) above.
Nutritious and nourishing food is a traditional and welcome gift for Chinese New Year and can include things like black sesame seeds, Wolfberries (Goji berries) and Chinese jujubes. These foods are available in Chinese supermarkets but remember to wrap them nicely in order to give as Chinese New Year gifts.
A fruit basket will be a welcome gift for Chinese New Year as it is both traditional and edible! You can buy the fruits yourself and create a lovely arrangement or purchase a hamper that’s already been presented for you. A basket including oranges and apples will symbolise safety and good fortune for your friend, and taking a box of oranges to a friends house would also be appreciated if you don’t have the cash for an expensive gift. The Fresh Fruit Gift Basket ($49.95) above would make a thoughtful present during Chinese New Year.
Expensive or Unusual Teas
China is known for it’s wonderful tea, and as a nation of tea drinkers they are always pleased to receive a box or tin of something more expensive that they wouldn’t normally buy themselves. One of the most interesting Chinese teas is blooming (also known as flowering) tea, which is dried flowers and leaves tied up into a little ball. Once these balls have been placed in hot water they start to unfurl, giving off their flavour and becoming a wonderful spectacle in the cup. You can buy a selection of Flowering Tea for around $30.
Dragons play an important role in the Chinese New Year and so gifting a paper lantern with dragons on is a lovely gesture. Your friend can hang the lantern and be reminded of you when they see it. A fancy and complicated design such as this Large Chinese Paper Lantern ($15.99) would make an impressive token and would be all the better if it was assembled by you before giving to your Chinese friend.
Plants or Flowers
Your Chinese friend will love the gift of flowers or a plant at Chinese New Year and there are some which are more auspicious than others. Peach, plum and cherry blossoms are lovely traditional flower for the New Year which will brighten any room. Pilea Peperomioides, also known as the Chinese Money Plant, is a great gift that will bring prosperity and luck to your friend. Lucky Bamboo is also popular and can be found in many shapes with twisted and bent stems that bring fortune and happiness. This Trellis Braided Lucky Bamboo ($19.99) is a great example.
Endless Knot Coin Hangers
As a small token for a Chinese friend or acquaintance, why not purchase a coin hanger as a Chinese New Year favour. The coins are traditionally tied in multiples of three and are believed to bring prosperity and abundance to the owner. This Endless Knot Coin Hanger ($1.95) is inexpensive but makes a thoughtful gesture.
Hope your Chinese friend would love these New Year gifts and would find them a precious one to keep with them throughout their life.