Usually when we send anything for Chinese New Year to my husband’s parents here in China, it invariably elicits a very standard response that shouldn’t surprise anyone familiar with Chinese culture: “You shouldn’t have spent that money!” In fact, Jun’s parents already used this phrase on us twice – once after receiving the Chinese New Year gift boxes of Chinese jujube dates and walnuts, and then again after sending some whole root ginseng.
But when Jun told his father in a phone conversation that a gift box of auspicious red socks were also headed his way, he perked up with an uncharacteristic note of excitement in his voice. “Eh, your mother told me to buy some red socks and underwear!”
(That was my father-in-law’s way of saying: I love it, thank you!)
Those who know something about Chinese New Year culture and superstitions won’t find it surprising that he embraced this delivery more than the others.
First of all, wearing red in your Chinese zodiac year supposedly wards off the potential bad luck that might threaten anyone born under that zodiac sign. And second, people say the red clothing offers stronger protection if someone else buys it for you.
So since I bought him pairs of red socks, that could make these an especially propitious and welcome way to ring in this Chinese New Year, his own zodiac year.
Red socks or underwear (from actual briefs, boxers or panties to long johns) can present easy options to buy for your friends and family, provided you know their sizes. But when in doubt, go for anything painted in brilliant red: hats, scarves, gloves, wraps and even necklaces or bracelets.
Have any Chinese family or friends about to enter their zodiac year? Don’t forget them on your Chinese New Year shopping list – and remember, this is one time that someone might actually cheer to receive underwear or socks! For ideas, visit my post Great Gifts For Your Chinese Zodiac Year (Ben Ming Nian).
Need more Chinese New Year gift ideas for your Chinese loved ones? I’ve written extensively on the subject of gift-giving and recommend the following posts:
- 7 Great Chinese New Year Gifts Sure to Impress Friends, Family and Coworkers
- Giving Gifts to Your Chinese Family – A Modest Guide
- 4 Tips for Giving Gift Baskets in China
- Gifts to Buy Abroad for Chinese Family and Relatives
- Birthday Gifts for Chinese Men
P.S.: If you’re shopping this Chinese New Year on Amazon.com, you can actually support Speaking of China — at no additional cost to you — by making a purchase through one of my affiliate links. Thanks!