Chinese New Year Gift Ideas for Seniors, Kids and Friends

Chinese New Year, being the most important festival in China, is also a season of giving. Our gift expert shares some great Chinese New Year gift ideas, helping you choose proper gifts for your parents, kids, in-laws, and friends. Gift selection must be done skillfully, based on not only the different status of the receivers, but also the Chinese festival and culture context.

6 Most Popular Chinese New Year Gifts

During Chinese New Year, there are 6 categories of things that will never be out of fashion. When you visit relatives, friends or colleges, red envelopes, cigarettes, alcohol, tea, fruits, and health foods are good choices. You’d better choose four kinds of material gifts, or if you do not have an ideal Chinese New Year gift idea, just give a red envelope, which is the most welcomed and direct way to show your sincerity and affection.

Red Envelopes

Monetary gift is the most straight and practical choice – CNY 200 to 1,000 for kids while CNY 1,000 to 5,000 for parents.




If your host smokes, prepare two cartons of cigarettes in the brands they usually use. A packet of cigarettes is improper.

Alcohol as Chinese New Year Gift

If your friends like drinking, you can get fine wine as the Chinese New Year gift. Liquor is usually given in two bottles.


Tea is the most favored drink in China and widely consumed. Prepare two boxes of tea leaves in a decent package.




Fruits are a safe Chinese New Year gift idea. You can bring apples or oranges in boxes. Pears should be avoided.


Health Food

New Year Gift

Healthcare products are always ideal for the old people, especially tonic foods of high nutritious value.



Chinese New Year Gifts for Seniors

For parents and parents-in-law, or other senior relatives or friends, the proper gifts include fitness equipment, tonic foods, and clothes.

New Year Gifts for Seniors

Fitness Equipment: It is always welcomed by the seniors. A massage chair, a foot spa massager and a massage pillow are all good choices.

Tonic Foods: For seniors in poor health, you can prepare some tonic products, such as edible bird’s nest, ginseng, and cordyceps.

Clothes and accessories: The festival falls in winter. The seniors tend to be more afraid of coldness, so warm clothes, hats, scarfs and gloves are useful.

Crafts: If the receivers have special hobbies, you can choose things according to their interests. For example, paintings and porcelain for antique fans, and tea set for a tea lover.


Chinese New Year Gifts for Kids

For your own kids, or kids of your relatives or friends, the most popular Chinese New year gift idea would be the red envelopes. Candies, toys, clothes, books, and school supplies are also good presents for kids.

New Year Gifts for Kids

Red Envelope: The common amount of lucky money inside a red envelope for a kid ranges from CNY 200 to 1,000. It is better to get some crisp and new notes wrapped in a red envelope.

Snacks: Candies, chocolate and pastries are always a kids' favorite, which can surely win their heart. However, if the kids are teething, sweets should be avoided.

Toys: A funny toy will grasp kids' attention successfully. Barbie dolls are appropriate for little girls and toy cars for boys.

School Supplies: For school age kids, books, schoolbags, pens, dictionaries and palmtops are greatly welcomed.

Chinese New Year Gift Ideas for Friends

To prepare the Chinese New Year gifts for hosts, either your in-laws or friends, you can select from the 6 most popular items - red envelopes, cigarettes, alcohol, tea, fruits, and health foods. In general, for people who are in need, pragmatic things are recommended; for people who are wealthy, the ingeniousness of the present is stressed. If you know the specific interest of your friends, a special present or even a homemade item is okay, based on the intimacy of your relationship.

New Year Gifts for Girlfriend and Boyfriend



Etiquette Guidelines for Gift Giving

1. Follow the above suggestions on proper gifts to different receivers, and avoid the 10 things that should not be given as Chinese New Year gifts.
2. The gifts should be in right colors. Red, yellow and gold are most favorite colors during Chinese New Year, while black and white things should be avoided.
3. Prepare things in even numbers, like two bottles of wine and two cartons of cigarettes. Avoid odd numbers. It is extremely impolite if you take three kinds of gifts when visiting a Chinese family.
4. Give the gifts in the right time, usually upon arrival at one’s house or the very moment you meet each other. Don't give at the end of a visit.

- Last modified on Dec. 06, 2018 -
Questions & Answers on Chinese New Year Gift Ideas
Asked by Dave from UK | May. 17, 2018 12:56Reply
Gift Ideas for a Student Friend
I have a student friend who is much younger than me and studying here in the UK. I took her under my wing a little when she first arrived and we've become quite good friends since that time. She has got me learning mandarin as i'm visiting China in 2019! She has recently won an internship for the summer and i'd like to give her something for her first day, would a decent pen/pencil set be appropriate? Also, would a lucky charm and bracelet be inappropriate for her birthday? I've seen what you have to say about necklaces and boyfriends, and i'm categorically not her boyfriend and she doesn't have one. Any advice much appreciated.
Answers (1)
Answered by Leon from FRANCE | May. 17, 2018 21:40

I think a decent pen/pencil set will be very appropriate for her first day. However, in China, the necklace and bracelet are always gifts sent by boyfriends and husbands. Maybe you need to choose another gift.
Asked by Rosa from USA | Feb. 12, 2018 01:49Reply
When can one give Chinese New Year gifts?
Are gifts given/exchanged only on Chinese New Year? Or can you give it anytime within the 15 days of the festival (for a friend I may try to surprise but need to figure out and coincide schedules, also making sure it’s casually just them as it’s a small humble gesture but don’t want to insult anyone if he were to be accompanied or go to their home, just to casually publicly meet up).
Answers (2)
Answered by Isla from AUSTRALIA | Feb. 12, 2018 21:08

Well, to be honest, I think it will be ok to give Chinese New Year gifts within the 15 days of the festival. But you need to pay attention that there are 10 gifts to be avoided in this festival. They are Sharp Stuff, Clocks, Umbrellas, Mirrors, Pears, Chrysanthemums, Shoes, Belts, Hats, Wallets or Purses.
Answered by Yoyo | Feb. 13, 2018 00:04

In my experience, present your friend gift on lunar new year eve will surprise him/her. Usually, Chinese people give and open red envelope on that night. So it can be a polite and nice gesture to do then.
Asked by Deanna Roberts from UNITED STATES | Feb. 11, 2018 11:58Reply
My friend's birthday is on Chinese New Year what would be a special gift for her? She is from Taiwan
Answers (1)
Answered by Claire from UNITED KINGDOM | Feb. 11, 2018 20:41

You are suggested to prepare some of her favorite foods in Taiwanese style. In addition, sending perfume, watch or lipstick are also good choices.
Asked by Fiona from SCOTLAND | Feb. 11, 2018 09:33Reply
Packaging multiple gifts?
Is it okay to prepare a basket (natural wicker) of cookies, sweets and mandarin oranges in red tissue paper?
Answers (1)
Answered by Maria from UNITED KINGDOM | Feb. 11, 2018 20:30

Yes, the gifts sound great! It will be ok to prepare this kind of basket. :)
Asked by Susan Norris from UNITED STATES | Jan. 03, 2018 14:31Reply
What would be a nice gift for me to give my son's Chinese American girlfriend for Chinese New Year?
Answers (1)
Answered by Audrey from GERMANY | Jan. 04, 2018 20:20

You can prepare some candy, chocolate and pastry in advance. Or you can send a suitable perfume for her. In addition, the red envelope is always popular.
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