throw a Chinese New Year party on a budget

[ 1 ] January 23, 2012 |

Kung Hei Fat Choy! Chinese New Year (or Lunar New Year) is an annual celebration to usher in the new cycle of the lunar-solar Chinese calendar. It’s a time of renewal, well-wishing and best of all, a feast with your family.

Those who are, shall we say, less than familiar with the tradition of Chinese New Year might imagine the parties to be garish and full of people in dragon costumes. But the point isn’t to be extravagant, it’s to reunite family, enjoy a good meal and set the tone for the year to come.

So what can you do to save money while hosting a Chinese New Year Party? Read on for our tips…


One word: potluck. My family does this every year, not to mention for other holidays like birthdays and Christmas. It’s so much less stress on the host, not to mention your pocketbook. For desserts or something to nibble on after tea, buy Chinese almond or fortune cookies from bulk suppliers to get the cheapest price (the earlier the better).

If you’re stuck on what to make, frozen dumplings (or jiaozi) are cheap to buy and super easy to prepare. Not to mention they’re always popular around the dinner table.


Remember the color scheme for Chinese New Year: red for happiness and gold/orange for wealth and fortune. Thankfully, all you really need for a decent decoration setup can be found at your grocery or dollar store. Consider…

  • A fruit bowl of oranges, tangerines or persimmons
  • Flowers in empty tea tins of water
  • String lights
  • Paper lanterns
  • Red & gold banners

Ambiance & Games

Lively conversation at dinner should always be accompanied by great music, and a Chinese New Year party is no different. Ask the elders in your family what type of music they’d enjoy. Don’t own the CD? That’s why we’ve been blessed with YouTube and Grooveshark.

I speak from personal experience, the Nintendo Wii is a life saver. It saves your younger relatives from getting bored and makes you look like the cool aunt, uncle or cousin (which you totally are). If you don’t have one, ask around your family. Considering that Nintendo’s sold 89 million units worldwide, at least someone you’re related to will own it!

No matter how your home looks, your family and their happiness are the most important things on this holiday. Even if you don’t have the budget for a lavish Lunar party, you can still celebrate with style.

Have a happy and healthy Year of the Dragon! What are your wishes for 2012?

Category: new year shopping tips

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  1. Please supply price for 500 Chinese New Year envelopes

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