Popular Gift Ideas for Chinese New Year

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Photo credit - Jan Stowers

Every year I try to write a post dedicated to a very special holiday in a country where we live – China.

Chinese New Year (also known as CNY, Lunar New Year or Spring Festival) and it comes in many colors, decorations, celebrations and, of course, money spent on new clothes and gifts.

It so happens that the vacation that follows CNY is usually one of the longest for working people and it is time to get together with family and old friends.

Many expats will traveling home for this time and so I decided to share a list of most popular items people  buy to take back home.

1. Everything related to tea: actual tea, tea sets, tea pets. You can get those in many places, but do ask your local friend if there is a good tea market in the area – they sell at wholesale prices and you might be able to find items that are not available in stores.

Note: Good Chinese tea packed in a beautiful box would make a great present to your local friends or colleagues!

2. Chinese silk. Everything from scarves, to qi-pao, to tablecloths, to shirts. The silk is not always natural but the designs are gorgeous and popular abroad.

3. Jewelry. I am not talking gold. I am talking local beaded necklaces, earrings, real and fake pearls; and real and fake jade. Small pendants shaped like Zodiac animals fall into this category, as well as the phone and key chains with translucent jade.

4. Bags. Chinese have come up with tons of own brands as well as fake designers stuff. It is hard to miss them in the markers and getting a Coach for 20 USD would definitely make you suspicious about the authenticity.

Note: I would personally advise against buying fake designers stuff if you are going back to Europe and North America since border control just might confiscate them and make you pay a fine.

5. Chinese name stamps. Those are made in a lot of markets. They can be fairly cheap and they are hugely popular.

6. Other gift items: chopsticks, fans, Chinese knots, famous quotes carved on wood or painted on canvas, small paintings on thin paper with traditional designs (double fish, flowers, nature and more).

If you are getting parents for your local friends, avoid getting clocks, knives and such. Best gifts to bring to your local friends home for Chinese New Year are fruit, tea, flowers and Western baked goods!

These are about all that I have managed to gather. There were lots more suggestions from my friends but I will let you add to the list!

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