Yes its that time of the year again!
For most of the people I know, this is one of their least favorite holidays. Let’s face it, no one really likes doing house visiting marathons in bad traffic, making weather conversations with relatives they haven’t met in a year, and dodging the dreaded interrogation of when we are getting a girlfriend/boyfriend/married/kid (or if you already have one kid- more children). Of course, this is just a stereotypical statement and I am sure there are many out there who cherishes this time of the year.
I used to absolutely dread Chinese New Year, because I always felt that if anyone truly cares about you, they will make the effort to see you more than once a year, and vice versa. But of late I have come to notice my relatives aging, or them leaving us altogether. Time is catching up on us, and I sometimes wonder if this Chinese New Year may possibly be the last one that I will get to see them.
So how do we make the most of the time we spend during visiting so that we all have a good time? I have put together 5 tips of how we can liven up the Chinese New Year atmosphere with more than just bad music.
1) Bring Your Pet Visiting!
For those of us with pets, leaving them at home while we disappear for the entire day will be traumatic for both our little furkid, as well as us when we come back to a house smelling of pee and poo. This Chinese New Year, bring the little baby out to experience the festivities, and spend some quality time with it on your lap at your relatives’ place.
They also serve as a great distraction as they create new conversation topics that defray people from focusing on private question about you and your love life. And who knows, they may even pick up an angbao or two for you to buy their next treat! PS: Don’t forget to get permission from the host prior in case anyone has any phobias or allergies!
2) Angbao Lucky Draw
Not sure how much to give so-and-so without offending someone else? Put together a box of pre-packed angbaos with varying amounts and have the kids do a lucky dip! That way, the season of giving will be a lot less stressful and a lot more fun! After all, gifts are meant to a privilege, not an entitlement, and the focus should be about the joy of giving and receiving rather than the money.
3) Get To Know Your Relatives – For REAL
Instead of asking awkward questions that no one really wants to answer, you can play a game, like speed dating where everyone sits in a circle and has 1 minute to ask each other questions like:
- If you could do any 3 things in the world right now, and money and time was no object, what would it be?
- If you could date any celebrity in the world, who would it be? (discretion should be practiced as this question may be a little sensitive for attached couples)
- What was your childhood ambition?
Just think out of the box and go as unconventional as you want! This is great way to get to know them on another level, and if Chinese New Year is supposed to bring the family closer, we might as well make the most of it.
4) Make Your Own Chinese New Year Goodies!
For some of us whose family has a tradition of gathering at one place, this is fun activity to consider. Choose a few simple goodies to make as a family, and break into groups to make the different cookies. This is a great way to spend time and promote bonding, as well as to help everyone save money! I made pineapple tarts and Kueh Bangkit last year and I can see why Chinese New Year Goodies cost an arm and a leg for the homemade ones. It took us 5 people and almost 2 days to make just a few boxes! Its definitely more cost, effort and time efficient do this in a group, and you can even get creative and add your own personal touches!
5) Secret God of Wealth
Think Secret Santa, except Santa would be rather out of place for this context. Traditionally angbaos are only given to kids and those who have yet to be married, hence it becomes seen as more of an occasion for them. However, bonding should be for everyone, and this year, make it special for your relatives (even the married ones!) by writing cards and placing them in angbaos to let them know how special they are to you. Everyone loves to be appreciated, and this sweet gesture will definitely make your angbao more memorable than those just containing money.
Reflections Organics wishes everyone a spectacular Chinese New Year filled with LOVE!