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!

Chinese New Year: An Expat’s Experience {MKB Chinese New Year Series 2015}

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This week is all about upcoming Chinese New Year! I have recently published a craft activity – Chinese New Year Card; and I have one more post coming up to review a great CD I got from Little Mandarin! So stay tuned!
Today’s post is a part of MKB Chinese New Year series which started in January and is going to end right about the Lantern Festival in March. 
I have already shared with you on celebration of Chinese New Year here in Zhuhai and Hong Kong and Macau. 
Today I just wanted to talk a little more about the importance of Chinese New Year (or rather known as Spring Festival) to Chinese people. 
This Festival has been celebrated in China for over 4000 years. And needless to say, it is a very old holiday which is especially treasured here. 
There are many different things people do for CNY decorations and food wise. And those vary from province to province and get changed and altered with time. However, 2 traditions that never change are cleaning before CNY and gathering with the family.
Cleaning wise it gets absolutely crazy here: roads are renovated, malls get thorough cleaning, schools and offices get places cleaned that haven’t been cleaned for year. And besides, everyone puts around gorgeous decorations: lanterns, stickers on their doors and hanging decorations on trees and gates. Beautiful statues are made, flowers are planted. 

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Family gatherings are really something: the whole day on CNY eve everyone cooks and cooks and cooks. Families finally sit down for a meal around 6-6.30 and you would be surprised at the number of dishes. In general, in China people make and order more food than they can eat. But apparently, it comes from the times of hunger and having a lot of food on the table, no matter how simple, is a sign of prosperity and generosity. The picture below is not from CNY, but just a small example of some things you would see on a typical Chinese table.

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After the meal, families usually watch TV shows, share stories, have snacks (fruit, seeds, dried eatables, like cookies and nuts). Around 8-9pm everyone goes out to play with firecrackers. It gets awfully noisy but very beautiful as the dark skies are lighted with gorgeous firework designs.
After 14 years in China, observing people during CNY, I can’t say too much changed: it is always the same pre-new year rush for shopping and gifts (traditional gifts are fruit baskets, seeds, nuts, special cookies, sometimes alcohol and red clothes; also, if you are born on that particular year – as in, if it is your Chinese Zodiac year – you have to wear red undergarments for CNY to bring yourself and your family luck!). And it is the same happiness and joy: people around here work hard and they only get to see their families once or twice a year. Some migrant workers leave their children back in their hometown so for them CNY is especially important as they get to see their little ones. 
If you ask me, out of the traditional holidays, I prefer CNY  as compared to NY and Christmas  –  it is just so colorful and special.
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Chinese New Year | Multicultural Kid Blogs
This post is part of the Chinese New Year series and giveaway on Multicultural Kid Blogs. Enter our giveaway to win one of these great prize packages, and don’t forget to link up your own posts about Chinese New Year on our main page!
Giveaway begins Jan. 21 and goes through midnight ET on March 5, 2015. Enter below for a chance to win! Remember you can make a comment on the blog post of a different co-host each day for an additional entry.
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