Etiquette of Gift Giving During The Chinese New Year

Etiquette of Gift Giving During The Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year Gifts and Traditions

Of all the various New Year traditions and customs, gift giving is one of the most important. There are rules of etiquette surrounding the giving and receiving of gifts and failing at either can have a negative impact on the relationship.

It is important to bring a gift when making New Year visits at the home of family or friends. The gift shouldn’t be overly expensive as it is good manners for the host to give a gift of greater value in return. Giving an expensive gift makes it difficult for the host to properly reciprocate which could be cause for embarrassment. Check out our gift page for some ideas for Chinese New Year gifts.

Chinese New Year Gifts and Traditions

When giving a gift you are to say, “Blessing of happiness and prosperity,” while offering the gift with both hands. Do this regardless of the size of the gift. Custom dictates that the host is to initially refuse the gift, but he or she is to eventually receive the gift with both hands. It is good manners to continue offering the gift until it is accepted.

Traditional Gifts Given during the Chinese New Year

The lai see is one of the most common traditional gifts given during the Chinese New Year. It is a red envelope which contains a crisp new bill considered to be “lucky money” for the New Year. A lai see is typically given to close relatives, children and unmarried friends. Adults will also place a lai see on the candy tray of homes they visit during the holiday.

Other customary Chinese New Year gifts include:

Bag of oranges or tangerines. Stems in tact bode well for the relationship between the giver and the recipient. Intact stems are especially meaningful for couples as it signifies the promise of children.

Candied fruit


If you’re not Chinese, you can also give a token gift representing your culture.

There are also a few superstitions surrounding the traditions and customs for gift giving during the Chinese New Year. These include:

Items in sets of four as the word for the number four in Chinese sounds similar to the word for death.

Black or white items as both colors represent death in the Chinese culture.

Also avoid giving pears, clocks, or any sharp objects such as scissors or knives.

Also See – Happy New Year 2019 Wishes

The Chinese New Year Gifts is an opportunity for you to strengthen relationships with your immediate and extended family, friends, business associates and others.

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