Red Clothes, a Perfect Chinese New Year Gift for Someone’s Zodiac Year

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:

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!

7 Favorite Chinese Brands for Chinese New Year Gifts

As Chinese New Year will light up homes and skies around the world at the end of this month starting Jan 24 (the eve of Chinese New Year), many of have already begun the annual shopping “shuffle” to find those perfect Chinese New Year gifts. And many Chinese brands you might not know happen to shine as splendid gift choices for Chinese New Year.

Here are 7 favorite Chinese brands – featuring foods and supplements — that you should consider while shopping for Chinese New Year, along with links to online stores in China and also around the world, including Amazon (where your purchases help support this site).

Three Squirrels (三只松鼠)

Chinese have gone nuts (pun intended!) over this label, which reigns as one of China’s best-selling snack brands and boasts an adorable trio of squirrels as its mascots. Naturally, things such as pecans, macadamias, pistachios, almonds and more stand out as favorites, but Three Squirrels also sells dried fruits, fruit and nut combos, plus a wide array of products that cover practically every snack category in China (from cookies, crackers and cakes to smoked/dried tofu and, yes, even potato chips). If you live in China, buy from the official Three Squirrels online stores on Alibaba’s Tmall or JD; you can also find Three Squirrels on Amazon.

Prince of Peace (太子牌)

This Hong Kong brand has won fans across the world and become one of the most ubiquitous ginseng brands in Chinese supermarkets across America for its quality and potent American ginseng products. While Westerners tend to like the convenience of the teas, capsules and powders, most Chinese will prefer whole root ginseng or ginseng slices. In China, you can buy on JD’s online marketplace. Otherwise, visit the Prince of Peace online store or Amazon.

Honey West (楼兰蜜语)

This brand name captures the sweet allure of the many popular snack foods of western China that have enchanted peoples’ tastebuds. Unlike Three Squirrels, Honey West specializes in western Chinese snacks such as large Chinese jujube dates, walnuts, raisins, figs and much more. As much as I love Three Squirrels, Honey West has become my go-to choice for Chinese New Year gifts for the family – their boxed Chinese jujube date/walnut combos always bring a delicious helping of joy (and good fortune, thanks to their clever packaging design) to the table at the holidays. You can find Honey West on Alibaba’s Tmall or on JD.

By-Health (汤臣倍健)

As vitamin brands from abroad have multiplied in the Chinese market, the domestic brand By-Health still flexes its muscles as one of the top choices for Chinese consumers looking for quality supplements at a good price. And since By-Health imports many of its key ingredients, buying from them can be like opting for an overseas brand. Even better – By-Health offers a selection of nearly every major vitamin, from vitamin B and C to multivitamins and calcium to even specialty supplements such as spirulina and garlic oil. You can purchase By-Health online at their Alibaba Tmall official store or their JD official store, and also visit its English website.

Olivoila (欧丽薇兰)

For years I’ve watched olive oil pour into supermarket shelves – and kitchens – across China, to the point where the country has risen to become one of the world’s major importers of this product. While Spanish and Italian imports vie for customers, the Chinese brand Olivoila, which promotes its own blend of imported olive oils tailored to the Chinese market, continues to sizzle among leading choices. In fact, my employer even gave a special boxed set of Olivoila olive oil for Chinese New Year. Here in China, you can purchase Olivoila at the Alibaba Tmall official store or its JD store.

Great Wall (长城葡萄酒)

The Alibaba Tmall supermarket listed a gift box of Great Wall red wine among its hottest selling products for Chinese New Year, a testament to how beloved this time-honored brand remains, despite the diverse range of imported wines that have flooded the Chinese market. For Chinese New Year, choose wines in red, the most festive color of the season. You can purchase Great Wall at the Alibaba Tmall official store or its JD official store.

White Rabbit (大白兔)

For many Chinese, White Rabbit candies, which date back to 1959 and represent one of the first treats in modern China, recall the sweet taste of nostalgia with every bite. And since generous bowls of candies always feature in Chinese New Year celebrations, consider surprising your Chinese loved ones with a box or some bags of these. They come in the traditional white milk candies as well as some newer and more innovative flavors (such as wasabi!). You can buy White Rabbit candies at the Alibaba Tmall official store or the JD official store, as well as on Amazon.

Photo credit: By David290 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=77127042

What do you think? What are some other favorite Chinese brands you would recommend for Chinese New Year gifts?

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:

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!

Gift Ideas for Chinese Loved Ones from Singles Day Shopping Trends

As the holiday shopping season is fast approaching, gifts once again emerge as that perennial to-do on many of our lists. But with Singles Day kicking things off in China, it offers a great opportunity to sift through the data and get some gift inspiration for your Chinese loved ones this holiday season. Here are some major trends to consider, based on purchases Chinese consumers made during or around Singles Day in 2019:

Travel a hot ticket this year

This year, a growing number of Chinese have opted for experiences over things by choosing travel products on Singles Day, as China Daily reported in the Nov 14 article Chinese buying more travel products:

In the past five years, the number of travel product orders on Nov 11 has seen a compound annual growth rate of nearly 60 percent. Each year, the number of new consumers who bought travel products grew by more than 30 percent over the previous year, according to Fliggy, the online travel arm of internet giant Alibaba Group.

On Monday, more than 5 million people booked overseas trips on Fliggy. The total transaction volume of international flight tickets jumped 50 percent over last year. The platform has also seen over 900,000 visa orders and 1 million nights of hotel bookings, the travel arm of Alibaba added.

So for your holiday gift-giving, why not hop on that bandwagon and opt for a little traveling fun this holiday season or in the coming year?

Besides splurging on planes, trains or automobiles and hotel and resort stays, think about those travel must-haves or comfort items that make the journey even more pleasant. Suitcases and luggage sets, bag tags, comfy pillows, luggage trackers, travel-friendly apparel and much more could go on your list.

Services surging

In a China where lightning-fast shopping delivery services and takeout reign, it’s no surprise then that many shoppers this year gravitated toward more service-oriented purchases, as the China Daily article Shifting trends behind China’s record shopping spree notes:

Services consumption is also rising. Door-to-door beauty care, luxury product maintenance and other services were popular on e-commerce platforms during this period.

So why not order your special someone some good service this year? Or consider providing a little something yourself (hint, hint)? 😉

The latest electronics still shine

A recent report from China Daily on 5G handset sales — 5G phone shipments quadrupled in Oct – delivered some eye-popping numbers, and the fact that it came ahead of Singles Day makes it even more astounding:

Shipments of 5G mobile phones in China witnessed a sharp 401.81 percent surge month-on-month in October, according to data from the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology on Monday.

Overall domestic mobile phone shipments in China reached 35.97 million units in October, down 6.7 percent year-on-year and 0.7 percent compared with September. 5G mobile phone shipments sent out 2.49 million units, compared with 497,000 units a month earlier, data showed.

As 5G networks emerge around the world, you can bet 5G devices – and other trendy electronics – will certainly light up this holiday season, and make for great gifts for your loved ones as well.

P.S.: Looking for more gift ideas for your loved ones? Peruse all my advice on holiday gift-giving at the Holiday Gift Roundup post, which includes 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 and Gifts to Buy Abroad for Chinese Family and Relatives.