- September 12, 2018
- 27 min to read
2019 Chinese New Year Gifts
In Chinese culture, a gift is a token of respect, appreciation, love, friendship or hospitality. Gift giving and receiving is a huge part of Chinese culture and basically an instrument of building interpersonal relationships.
Before buying a present for a Chinese person, you should consider a few things. Is your friend traditional? How close you are? Is your relationship formal or casual? As a thoughtful gift giver, you should remember that more traditional Chinese value traditional gifts, while contemporary wouldn’t be offended if you give them something more casual.
These Chinese New Year gift ideas might help you get a little inspiration for picking the ideal gift. The list is followed by some basic gift giving tips that might help you avoid common taboos and better understand the culture of gifting in China.1. Glass Tea Pot
Such a fancy glass teapot will charm even most picky aesthetes. It’s made with heat-resistant glass and is stove-top safe making it so practical and versatile!2. Organic Fujian Chinese Milk Tea
Milk tea is a famous specialty of Hong Kong, where it’s served in every cafe and is much beloved by Hong Kongers. This tea blend is just perfect for making Hong Kong-style milk tea at home.3. Bubble Tea Kit
Have a cup of your favorite boba without leaving your house! Everything you need to make a good boba is in this kit including not only three different flavors and a bag of tapioca pearls, but also cups, shaker, and even straws.4. Glass Tea Infuser Cup
Brewing a cuppa only for yourself can also be classy! This beautiful glass cup with double walls keeps your tea hot and protects your hands from the high temperature at the same time. The cup should be used for brewing loose leaf teas only.5. Egg Tart Tins
These egg tart tins are so lovely! Can you think of something more delicious than warm homemade egg tarts?6. Ballpoint Pen in Lucky Colors
Chinese believe that red and gold convey good fortune. Everyone would appreciate this classy ballpoint in the auspicious colors!7. Chinese Food Magnets
Brighten up a boring-looking refrigerator with these absolutely cute magnets featuring traditional Chinese dishes like steamed rice, noodle soup and many more. So cool!8. Baijiu: The Essential Guide to Chinese Spirits
Although Baijiu is considered to be the most consumed liquor around the world, very few people know what it is outside its country of origin. The book provides an insight into the making techniques, brands and varieties of the national drink of the Celestial Empire.9. Egg Waffle Maker
Your home will be filled with the sweet fragrance of a traditional Hong Kong dessert with this incredible waffle maker. Serve Hong Kong waffles with strawberry, banana, whipped cream, chocolate or any toppings you like. Delicious!10. Phoenix Claws and Jade Trees
This book is an insight into Chinese cooking explaining essential cooking techniques. This culinary book is the best choice for those who aspire to master Chinese cooking.11. Bamboo Cleaning Whisk
This little bamboo whisk makes cleaning up so easy and delightful! It’s a great environmentally friendly swap for a scrub brush. It’s amazing!12. Sandalwood Fan
In China, a fan has been a beloved accessory among women since the 17th century. It symbolizes women’s grace and elegance and makes a wonderful gift for a woman of any age.13. Leaf Bookmarks
These bookmarks are so elegant! Being made of natural leaves, they are well-laminated to insure their durability. The bookmarks are decorated with traditional Chinese-style paintings and make the ideal gift for bookworms or anyone who appreciates beautiful things!14. Bamboo Tumbler
Upgrade your tea-drinking habits with this absolutely stylish bamboo tumbler that comes with an infuser. The tumbler is suitable for other beverages as well and keeps them hot for up to 12 hours, or cold for the entire day.15. Tote Bag
16. Lychee Soy Candle
This lovely tote bag is so versatile! It’s decorated with a jolly red piggy that’s the symbol of the upcoming year. Who wouldn’t love it?
You won’t be able to get enough of these! Made of environmentally friendly materials, these heavenly scented candles will help you unwind after a stressful day.17. Tea Bag Holders
These tea bag holders are inspired by the Chinese legend of Jiang Tai Gong. Put them on the rim of your cup and they will meekly hold your tea bag with their own fishhooks. So cool and unique18. Rosewood Chopsticks
These gorgeous chopsticks will turn any casual dinner party into a fancy one! They are sturdy and balanced well enough to fit comfortably in your hand. And the color is totally amazing!19. Ceramic Ashtray
This beautiful ceramic ashtray features a traditional Chinese-style watercolor painting. It’s a lovely addition to every home and a delightful present for someone who smokes.20. Chinese Calligraphy Kit
The best calligraphy kit for beginners. It includes everything for a successful start in calligraphy like brushes, an ink stone, a brush rest and other essential tools.21. Chinese Calligraphy Black Ink
Artists and calligraphers will adore this one! It’s no secret that original Chinese ink is the best ink - it’s dense, well-pigmented and dries in a moment. Also suitable for those who just started their journey into calligraphy.22. Chinese Scissors
Over the ages, Chinese scissors have proved to be irreplaceable due to their versatility. These classic Chinese scissors come in handy when it comes to cutting ropes, food, plants, and practically anything. They are a must-have for every home.23. Domino Set
This one is ideal for both young and adult learners of Chinese. Each domino has an image of a fruit, vegetable or animal and its name in Chinese, Pinyin and English.24. Luck & Prosperity Baby Blanket
New parents will appreciate this fleece baby blanket! It’s not only super soft and warm but also brings good fortune since red and gold are known to be the most auspicious Chinese colors.25. Celebrating Chinese Festivals
This adorable kids’ book is both playful and educational! Through colorful illustrations and small poems the book explains the traditions of the country’s most important holidays like Chinese New Year or the Lantern Festival.26. Shanghai Subway Map Poster
The poster features the net of Shanghai subway with the station names both in Chinese and English. So colorful and modern, it will liven up any space27. Beijing Opera Mask Bottle Opener
This bottle opener’s decorated with a Beijing opera a symbol, where red means intelligence, loyalty, and courage. It’s also magnetic, so it can be used to adorn your refrigerator or any other magnetic surface.28. Crazy Rich Asians Series
Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan is a bestseller that was brought to the screen by Warner Brothers in 2018 and become one of the most popular romcoms of the decade. If you know someone who adores the series, surprise them with this one!29. Beijing Map Coasters
Adorned with an intricate map of Beijing, these lovely handmade coasters will become an amazing addition to your dining room. They are made from sapele wood that adds a touch of vintage charm to any interior.30. Time Puzzle
Take a trip through time with this awesome multi-dimensional puzzle and see how Shanghai has been changing since 1893. This 4D puzzle uses 72 replica buildings including the most iconic structures such as Shanghai Tower, The Bund, and many others.31. Rattan Basket
This classy basket combines Indonesian rattan canes and the traditional Chinese basketry techniques. It’s both useful and stylish!
Gift Giving TipsWhat Makes a Great Gift
You should always remember that your gift is a token of the strength of your relationship, so it should be thoughtful rather than expensive or valuable.
You might find these tips useful when buying gifts:
1. The gift should be of good quality. Don’t think that expensive and luxurious things make the best gifts. The truth is that the most valuable characteristics of a great gift are fine materials, original design and exquisite handiwork.
2. Consider local specialties. It probably originates from the period when China wasn’t as open as nowadays, but Chinese people highly appreciate authentic regional items that are difficult to find. Get something that local area is famous for.
3. Don’t dismiss confectionary. Many sweet treats, such as chocolates, sweets, dried fruits, and cakes are traditional Chinese gifts that are believed to bring good fortune. So it’s almost impossible to go wrong with specialty chocolates!
4. Presentation is as important. Remember that colors play a huge role in Chinese culture. The go-to combo is red and gold, so wrap up your gift in plain or multi-color red paper and add fancy gold ribbon.
Of course, more informal gifts don’t necessarily need to match all these tips but they give a better understanding of what particular features of a gift are appreciated among the Chinese community.
You might find helpful these traditional gift ideas that will for sure surprise your Chinese friend:
1. Gourmet Chocolates
Who wouldn’t love to receive a sweet gift? There’s in a chocolatier in San Francisco, Jade Chocolates, that creates premium chocolates blended with various Chinese ingredients like lapsang souchong tea or roasted brown rice.
2. Fine Red Wine
Wine symbolizes a toast to the giftee’s health, and red is a symbol of luck. So a bottle of quality red wine is a perfect choice! Local stores usually provide a good range of premium wines to choose from.
3. Quality Tea
Having a prominent place in Chinese culture, tea is a popular and beloved drink in China. San Francisco’s Red Blossom Tea Company offers a broad range of original high-quality teas imported directly from China.
When picking a gift for your Chinese friend, you have to be aware of basic superstitions and taboos and make sure that your gift doesn’t match any of them.
1. In Chinese culture, the number 4 is always avoided because it sounds similar to the word ‘death’. Odd numbers are considered less lucky than even.
2. A combination of white and black is a strict taboo because these colors are associated with funerals and thus with death. If you decide to write a gift card, avoid red ink as well.
3. Sharp objects, clocks, umbrellas, shoes, pears, cut flowers, and mirrors should be avoided. Connoting death, parting and bad luck, such gifts aren’t welcomed among the Chinese community.
4. Green hats are a no-no. It may seem ridiculous because it’s difficult to imagine a situation where you give someone a green hat, but anyway. The thing is that a long time ago a green hat used to be worn by cuckolds.
Gift giving is always a challenge, especially when it includes a cultural element to be considered. Stick to these tips, strictly if you are picking a gift for a traditional person, and more subtly for a contemporary person, and your gift will for sure brighten up their holidays!