The Perfect Guideline To Chinese New Year Gifts for 2024

The Perfect Guideline To Chinese New Year Gifts for 2024

Lunar New Year, also known as Chinese New year, is celebrated by approximately 1.4 billion people (including domestic and overseas Chinese), according to Statista. It is one of the most important holidays in China. Many large family gatherings offer blessings for the upcoming year during this time.

Additionally, it is a common Chinese tradition to visit relatives, friends, and neighbors, offer lucky blessings, and give unique Chinese New Year gifts as a sign of respect during the first days of the new year.

In this article, we've listed the top 9 most popular Chinese New Year gifts for Chinese seniors, business partners, or friends, along with useful Chinese gift-giving tips. 

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1. Tea

One of the most common new year gift ideas is giving tea.

Tea holds a long history and cultural value in China. This humble beverage appears in almost every Chinese home and plays an important role in daily Chinese life. Tea is a great gift as it is considered a healthy drink only emperors and officials originally enjoyed.

Nowadays, everyone can enjoy the great taste of tea and its benefits on health, along with various tea selections, making it an ideal gift for the New Year. But remember to avoid cheap tea bags and choose high-quality tea leaves packed in a nice tin instead. 

You can buy a fancy gift box with various tea leaves, perfect for tea drinkers.


Various kinds of dry tea leaves in a wooden box.

2. Chinese teaware set

Historians hold that the first tea sets emerged in China during the Han Dynasty (206–220 BCE). At this time, teaware was made of premium porcelain and consisted of northern white porcelain and southern light blue porcelain. 


Chinese teaware set with tea leaves

Chinese tea sets are timeless, aesthetically pleasing, and functional. They're also easy to find and purchase—you can always find one with an elegant design at a reasonable price.

3. Fruit

Fruit is a very popular lunar new year gift.


Both the pomelo and watermelon symbolize prosperity in Chinese culture.

Giving fresh fruit as a gift symbolizes life and new beginnings. You will even see fruit used as temple offerings. The most common fruits you see during this time are oranges, kumquats, tangerines, and pomelos.

Of course, you can always please a Chinese person with a basket full of colorful fruits—apples, oranges, kiwis, and other seasonal fresh fruits!

4. Wine and spirits

For a more adult and sweet note taste, give some alcohol.

A nice bottle of red wine, a pair of red and white wines, or even Champagne can go a long way in China. Whiskey or other foreign spirits are also great since they're hard to buy in China. What's more, during the New Year dinner, it is common for people to toast each other, usually with wine or spirits.


Chinese Shaoxing rice wine being poured in a classic ceramic jar.

No wonder wine and spirits make terrific Chinese New Year gifts.


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5. Clothes

Clothes are a perfectly practical yet sentimental gift.

Giving clothes as a new year's gift is a common choice of the Chinese people as it is customary to do so. For example, you can complete a perfect New Year gift with a pair of gloves, a scarf, and a hat. These items show how much you care for the well-being and comfort of the recipient.

This gift idea is perfect for everyone, from kids, and young adults, to seniors.

6. Hongbao (red envelopes with money)

It is the best gift to receive and an essential part of the lunar new year traditions. Many new year celebrations involve these red envelopes as they signify well wishes and good luck for the year ahead.

Money in red envelopes Chinese new year greeting gift-min

Red envelopes with money inside

These vibrant red envelopes contain money and are a popular Chinese gift for any occasion, from Chinese New Year to weddings and birthdays. Children across China eagerly await Chinese New Year for many reasons, including the many hongbao (red envelopes) they'll receive, filled with a mysterious amount of lucky money. 

It's a great idea to stuff the red envelopes with "lucky" denominations, such as 200, 600, 800, or 900. Additionally, avoid back luck numbers, anything with the number 4, the unluckiest of all numbers!

8. Gift cards

Many Chinese businesses offer gift cards as a New Year gift. The recipient can use these gift cards to purchase goods or services at supermarkets, restaurants, cafes, and other entertaining locations.

How to choose the best lunar new year gifts for people around you

Now that you have the basics of the most common Chinese New Year gifts, we'll go into detail about choosing the most suitable gift for particular recipients.

Chinese New Year gifts for seniors

Wellness gifts for parents, parents-in-law, or other senior relatives or friends are good. These can include:

  • Massage chair

  • A foot spa massager

  • A massage pillow

  • Tonic foods (e.g., edible bird's nest ginseng and cordyceps)

Another good gift choice is clothes. As seniors tend to be more averse to the cold, warm clothes, hats, scarves, and gloves are useful.

If the receivers have special hobbies, you can gift them according to their interests. For example, paintings, porcelain for antique collectors, and a tea set for any tea lover.

Chinese New Year gifts for kids

Here are some quick ideas for the kids:

  • Hongbao (red envelopes with money)

  • Sweet treats such as chocolate and candy wrapped in red and gold

  • Books for any young readers

  • Toys and games

Chinese New Year gifts for clients

If you have some Chinese clients and would like to give a gift as a nice gesture and to express your gratitude and well wishes for the new year, here are some appropriate gifts for this special occasion.

Wine and spirits are a perfect gift choice for your Chinese clients. These beverages are widely favored across cultures and often enjoyed during business gatherings. You can choose either Chinese liquor—白酒 (Báijiǔ) or any high-grade wine from your home country.

Additionally, high-quality teas are also great for any setting, and many business executives enjoy teas to combat their stressful lives. You can even choose Chinese calligraphy prints to gift your clients.

These items are timeless and will always be available for your clients. 

Chinese New Year gift for friends, boyfriends, and girlfriends

If you're preparing for the New Year, you can chose any of these gifts for your Chinese hosts or friends.

You can also gift them books, a lucky plant, and cacti—these items are popular, easy to find, and purchase. Additionally, if you know the specific interests of the receiver, a special present or even a handmade item will still do, depending on the intimacy of your relationship.

Though giving a new year's gift to your significant other is not traditional, it still has meaning. You can give them gold jewelry, a symbol of wealth and an indication of financial stability, or jade. In Chinese culture, jade is considered a precious stone and is believed to protect the holder from evil. Lucky jade jewelry is a great appropriate for a lucky new year.

Chinese New Year gifts for relatives, colleagues, and neighbors

Chinese culture is deeply rooted in showing that you care for your family's health and well-being. Many self-care items like teas, massagers, and herbal medicines would fit perfectly.

Otherwise, you can always choose fresh fruits, cakes (especially sticky rice cakes), and hongbao for your relatives, colleagues, or neighbors.

Just keep in mind that giving a relatively practical gift shows your thoughtfulness and that you genuinely care about the happiness and well-being of others.

What are the etiquette guidelines for Chinese New Year gift-giving

Even if you have a nice gift, it can still backfire on you. So it would be best to be familiar with traditional Chinese gift-giving customs.

Here are some key considerations when purchasing Chinese New Year gifts:

1. Avoid overly cheap or expensive gifts

The Chinese culture places a heavy emphasis on 面子 (miànzi or face/outer side reputation). Therefore, it's very important to carefully consider your gift and choose a suitable gift for the recipient's economic status.

Any overly expensive gifts can be deemed inappropriate as they put the receiver in an uncomfortable situation since they may be unable to return the favor with another expensive gift.

On the contrary, you do not want to gift something of low value as you will come across as cheap or stingy. Sometimes, it is not just "the thought that counts," in which case you'll want to be aware of the gift's monetary value.

2. Choose the right color for your gift and its wrapping paper

Color symbolism is an innate part of Chinese culture.

Avoid black and white, as these colors are usually used in funerals.

Go for red (as it means good fortune), yellow (the traditional color reserved for the emperor), and gold (wealth) for gift wrapping and packaging.

3. Avoid unlucky numbers

The number of items matters when choosing and giving Chinese New Year gifts.

You should prepare things in even numbers, like two bottles of wine or two cartons of cigarettes. And, avoid odd numbers as it's extremely impolite to bring three kinds of gifts when visiting a Chinese family.

Additionally, do not send gifts related to the number "4" because "4" 四 sì sounds like the word "death" 死 sǐ in Chinese. While 6, 8, and 9 are considered lucky numbers because their pronunciation in Chinese is similar to lucky words.

4. Avoid certain gifts 

There are certain gifts that you must avoid, especially during the Chinese New Year, which are the following: 

  • Watches or clocks: The Chinese character 送钟 (sòng zhōng)—sends a clock rhymes with the word for "the end." Also, clocks and watches symbolize bad luck or death in Chinese. So, avoid giving anyone these items. 

  • Green hats: In Chinese culture, green hats symbolize infidelity. You wouldn't want the recipient to get the wrong idea, would you? 

  • Umbrellas: In Chinese, the word"umbrella" is 伞" (sǎn)—which has a similar pronunciation to 散" (sàn)—to break up.  

  • Scissors and knives: anything sharp is seen as "cutting ties" with a person

  • Shoes: This word 鞋" (xié)—shoes sounds like "邪" (xié) – evil. 

  • Pears: The word 梨 (lí)—pears, sounds similar to (离 lí), which means leaving or parting.  

5. Give the gifts at the right time

Like any other culture, while visiting family and the community, it would be rude to show up empty-handed.

So, the ideal moment to give someone a gift is upon arrival at one's house or the very moment you meet each other. And make sure to give your gift before the end of a visit.

6. Don't open gifts in front of the giver

Though this is no longer a matter of great importance amongst younger generations, generally, Chinese people do not open gifts in the presence of the gift-giver.

This unspoken rule also applies when you receive gifts from someone. In this case, it's best to wait to open it in front of everyone until later.


What animal is it for this year in 2024?

This time, it is the year of the dragon. Next year, in 2025, it will be the year of the snake.

What is the Chinese zodiac?

It is a classification system for the Chinese calendar that uses animals to represent and attribute themes for each new year. There are 12 animals, and it repeats every 12 years.

In closing

Chinese New Year is a big part of Chinese culture as it's part of getting rid of bad luck and bringing in good fortune and good wishes for yourself and those around you.

No matter which gift you choose to give, you show your thoughtfulness and sensitivity towards the relationships you have with others.

And as we close to the new year, you will mostly see many rabbit-themed decorations as part of the lunar new year collections and gifts.

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