Dragon Dance Through the New Year: 21 Festive Gifts for Globetrotters to Celebrate the Year of the Dragon
Dragon Dance Through the New Year: 21 Festive Gifts for Globetrotters to Celebrate the Year of the Dragon - Lucky Red Envelopes for Prosperity
No Chinese New Year celebration would be complete without the iconic red envelopes, stuffed with cash and passed out as tokens of luck and prosperity. These hóngbāo (红包) have a rich history dating back centuries, representing wishes for a healthy and wealthy year ahead.
Today, red envelopes remain an essential part of ringing in the New Year. Friends and family exchange the envelopes filled with crisp new bills, following traditions like giving money in even numbers and avoiding the unlucky number four. Children especially look forward to receiving these envelopes from elders. Many parents start doling out small amounts in red envelopes when their kids are young, increasing the amount as they get older. This teaches financial responsibility and the value of saving.
With Chinese New Year being the biggest annual holiday for family reunions, red envelopes get passed around in abundance. Those unable to travel home rely on services to send digital red envelopes instead. Venmo, PayPal, WeChat and AliPay all offer electronic options. You can also order customized physical red envelopes online to mail to loved ones across the globe.
If you have globetrotting friends, red envelopes make fun and meaningful gifts. Help them usher in the Year of the Dragon in style by sending red envelopes stuffed with spending money for their next adventure. Include a note sharing your best wishes for good fortune in the new year.
Hardcore travelers will appreciate practical red envelope gifts like multi-currency travel wallets to safely stow foreign bills picked up on their journeys. Hand them an elegant leather travel wallet with a crisp $20 or 50 inside - they can tuck it away for taxi rides in Rome or street food in Bangkok. Or help them protect their passport, cash and cards in a slim RFID-blocking case that fits inside their pocket.
Of course, nothing beats cold hard cash when it comes to stuffing red envelopes. Give $88 for double prosperity or $168 for road to riches. Opt for nice, new bills - crisp Benjamins are best. Take it up a notch by exchanging foreign currency, which carries an exotic, adventurous vibe.
What else is in this post?
- Dragon Dance Through the New Year: 21 Festive Gifts for Globetrotters to Celebrate the Year of the Dragon - Lucky Red Envelopes for Prosperity
- Dragon Dance Through the New Year: 21 Festive Gifts for Globetrotters to Celebrate the Year of the Dragon - Dragon Kites for High-Flying Fun
- Dragon Dance Through the New Year: 21 Festive Gifts for Globetrotters to Celebrate the Year of the Dragon - Roar with Dragon Masks and Costumes
- Dragon Dance Through the New Year: 21 Festive Gifts for Globetrotters to Celebrate the Year of the Dragon - Mythical Dragon Figurines to Display
- Dragon Dance Through the New Year: 21 Festive Gifts for Globetrotters to Celebrate the Year of the Dragon - Cooking Up Feasts with Wok Sets
- Dragon Dance Through the New Year: 21 Festive Gifts for Globetrotters to Celebrate the Year of the Dragon - Tea Sets for Soothing Sippers
- Dragon Dance Through the New Year: 21 Festive Gifts for Globetrotters to Celebrate the Year of the Dragon - Travel Journals for Memorable Musings
- Dragon Dance Through the New Year: 21 Festive Gifts for Globetrotters to Celebrate the Year of the Dragon - Backpacks with Dragon Embroidery
Dragon Dance Through the New Year: 21 Festive Gifts for Globetrotters to Celebrate the Year of the Dragon - Dragon Kites for High-Flying Fun
Soar into the skies and spread good fortune with dragon kites this New Year. These mystical creatures gliding and dancing overhead represent strength, health and longevity for the year ahead. For centuries, flying dragon kites has been an integral part of Chinese New Year festivities.
Dragon kites come in all shapes and sizes, from small kiddie kites to massive showstoppers spanning over 30 feet. Elaborate designs and vibrant colors bring the mythical beasts to life. Watching them swoop and glide fills spectators young and old with a sense of wonder. Jessie, an avid kite enthusiast, recalls her childhood excitement flying dragon kites with her family:
"Some of my fondest memories are going to the park with my parents and grandparents to fly our dragon kites on New Year's Day. My eyes would light up seeing those vibrant dragons circling in the sky. The older folks would try to outdo each other with the biggest, most intricate dragon kites. I just loved watching them spin and dance, almost like they were alive. Those dragons filled me with hope for an adventure-filled year."
Dragon kite battles are another longstanding Chinese tradition. Competitors try to maneuver their kite strings to snag and cut their opponents' strings. Last kite flying wins. Thrill-seekers will enjoy attempting this feat, while those seeking a more relaxing experience can simply launch and maneuver colorful dragon kites at their own pace.
Stunning handmade dragon kites produced by artisans make special keepsakes. Some people frame and display their dragon kites as home decor after the festivities. Travelers can pick up beautifully crafted dragon kites as souvenirs during their Chinese New Year adventures abroad. Jessie purchased a hand-painted silk dragon kite in Shanghai that she now proudly displays:
Dragon Dance Through the New Year: 21 Festive Gifts for Globetrotters to Celebrate the Year of the Dragon - Roar with Dragon Masks and Costumes
Roaring into the new year wearing dragon masks and costumes represents harnessing the mythical creature's power. Donning elaborate dragon costumes has been part of the rich traditions surrounding Chinese New Year for centuries. People believed dressing up as the revered creature would offer protection and good luck for the year ahead.
Today, dragon masks and costumes remain a fun way for revelers around the world to join the celebrations. Adorning yourself as this auspicious beast allows you to embody its attributes like strength, wisdom and longevity. The dragon's fierce face also serves to ward off evil spirits and misfortune.
"When I was little, my favorite part was getting all decked out in our dragon costumes with the whole family. My sisters and I would spend hours picking out the perfect horns, whiskers and scales to create our own unique dragons. I felt so powerful stomping around in that costume, like I could breathe fire and fly! My parents always said our elaborate dragon disguises would protect us in the new year."
Parents can ignite their kids' imagination by helping them create magical homemade dragon costumes using simple materials like cardboard, fabric scraps and paint. Get them excited to celebrate by making it a fun craft project. Hunt for materials like sequins and feathers to make it extra special.
Those wanting ready-made costumes can find high-quality dragon masks and outfits online or at Asian specialty stores. Opt for vibrant colors and details like fur, horns and bushy beards to capture the dragon's otherworldly essence. Go for a classic dragon tunic or full-body inflatable costume for dramatic effects.
Costume parties and street festivals offer the perfect opportunity to break out over-the-top dragon garb. At events like the San Francisco Chinese New Year Parade, you'll spot colorful dragons of all sizes processing down the street amid firecrackers and confetti. Join in the revelry by sporting a sequined dragon robe or opt for a giant dancing dragon puppet operated by several people inside.
Embrace your inner mystic by pairing your dragon costume with props like a magical staff, a fortune cookie treasure chest or a pearl of wisdom to award others. This transforms you from mere mortal to a wise and powerful dragon guardian ushering in the new year.
Dragon Dance Through the New Year: 21 Festive Gifts for Globetrotters to Celebrate the Year of the Dragon - Mythical Dragon Figurines to Display
Displaying dragon figurines represents welcoming good luck and fortune for the new year. In feng shui, dragon statues activate positive chi energy. Placing them around your home or office harmonizes the space and brings prosperity. They also make meaningful holiday gifts.
"My parents would buy my brother and I little jade dragon statues every Chinese New Year," recalls Mei. "We proudly displayed them on our desks at school. To us, those dragons were good luck charms watching over us as we studied."
Dragon motifs date back thousands of years, from ancient dragon bones to revered imperial dragons. Today, you can find dragon figurines crafted from various materials like jade, bronze, porcelain and crystal. Details like scales, whiskers, horns and claws capture their legendary essence.
Jade dragons are especially symbolic, representing power and wisdom. Beautifully carved Chinese jade dragons come in pendants, statues and netsuke. Or pick up an engraved jade bead bracelet during your travels for a subtle, sophisticated souvenir.
Imposing bronze dragons convey strength and longevity. Display one in your entryway or office to imbue your space with its commanding energy. Intricate details like swirling mane and scales echothe figures guarding imperial palaces.
Cloisonné dragons boast colorful enamel scales that shimmer in the light. The ancient Chinese technique creates these unique designs. Find one clutching an orb or pearl to activate prosperity. Vibrant cloisonné dragons make striking holiday gifts.
Porcelain and crystal lend an elegant touch. Miniature porcelain dragons painted in fine detail perch gracefully as tabletop accents. Opt for one holding a pearl or coin. Enchanting crystal dragons seem to come alive, refracting rainbow prisms around the room.
"I'll always treasure the crystal dragon figurine my grandmother gave me one New Year's," says Mei. "It sat on my desk through college, med school and beyond. Like my grandmother, it encouraged me to work hard and pursue my dreams."
Look for figurines depicting the nine classical types of dragons described in Chinese culture, like the powerful horned dragon and the noble winged dragon. There are also the panlong river dragon, known for exploration and adventure, and the yellow golden dragon representing emperors.
Dragon boats, kites and eggs are other popular motifs. Intricately carved wooden boats with dragon heads bring voyage and success. Soaring dragon kite figures evoke high hopes. And golden eggs represent potential and new beginnings.
The flowing, serpentine form makes dragons perfectly suited to artistic figurines. Have fun selecting pieces that speak to you or gifting special dragon statues to others. Let them serve as guiding forces and lucky totems in the year ahead.
"Even today, I buy myself a small jade or crystal dragon every New Year's," says Mei. "Displaying these dragons helps me focus on achieving my goals and overcoming challenges in the coming year."
Dragon Dance Through the New Year: 21 Festive Gifts for Globetrotters to Celebrate the Year of the Dragon - Cooking Up Feasts with Wok Sets
Cooking elaborate feasts is central to Chinese New Year celebrations. Woks play an integral role in preparing these auspicious meals packed with symbolic ingredients. Gift a wok set so your globetrotting friends can sizzle up prosperity in their own kitchens.
"Some of my favorite memories are cooking dumplings and stir fries with my family for our New Year's Eve reunion dinner," recalls Lei. "My parents would break out the wok and prep mountains of ingredients like noodles for longevity, fish for surplus and dumplings shaped like gold ingots. The savory aromas of all that food sizzling away in the wok still make my mouth water."
Woks allow quick, high-heat stir-frying that seals in flavors and textures. Their rounded bottom and sloped sides are perfect for tossing and stirring. Home chefs can easily replicate the mouthwatering dishes served up at Chinatown feasts.
Quality woks like cast iron distribute heat evenly. Carbon steel offers similar benefits plus incredible durability. Lodge and Joyce Chen make excellent pre-seasoned cast iron and carbon steel woks with helper handles that stay cool while stir-frying. Opt for 14 inches or larger to handle family feasts.
A lid transforms woks into a steamer for succulent dumplings or buns. Domes with holes allow steam to escape while containing food. Pick up a tempered glass or stainless steel lid.
No wok is complete without the ring-shaped wooden or steel spatula for tossing ingredients. These wok spoons can withstand high heat and come in various sizes. Go for larger 15-inch options.
A mister bottle lets home chefs spritz oil, liquids and sauces. Opt for a high-heat resistant bottle. Lei recommends, "Get a mister to drizzle sauces over stir fries. It helps you evenly coat without overdoing it."
Ultimate wok sets include an array of accessories like spiders for scooping out ingredients, ladles for soups and broths, plus tongs and cooking chopsticks. Go for stainless steel tools that withstand high temperatures.
"I use my wok set from college to this day," says Lei. "It has everything I need to cook up feasts for friends - and impress them with my stir-frying skills!"
Dragon Dance Through the New Year: 21 Festive Gifts for Globetrotters to Celebrate the Year of the Dragon - Tea Sets for Soothing Sippers
Sipping fragrant tea brings calm and connection, transporting us to quiet moments of reflection. Gift globetrotters elegant tea sets to carry on this ritual whether at home or on distant shores.
“As a journalist, my work has taken me all over the world. My portable tea set provides comfort whenever I need a taste of home. Steeping familiar teas helps ground me in new places. The ritual soothes me after chaotic days reporting on the frontlines. And it gives me an activity to share when meeting locals.”
Portable tea sets conveniently tuck away in carry-ons. Opt for petite teapots with built-in infusers that steep loose leaf teas. Mini glass, ceramic or stainless steel teapots brew 1-2 servings. Or pick a small cast iron pot for steeping oolongs. Matcha aficionados will appreciate bamboo whisk sets.
Insulated tumblers keep tea steaming hot for hours. Add a second tumbler or collapsible silicone cups that nest together. Tea lovers savoring the process prefer petite porcelain teacups. Look for thin, lightweight sets.
Quality travel cases protect tea ware and contain messes. Handcrafted wood cases offer classic style. Quirky options include birdcage- and book-shaped cases. For trekking, pick lightweight nylon or canvas cases with backpack straps.
Dragon Dance Through the New Year: 21 Festive Gifts for Globetrotters to Celebrate the Year of the Dragon - Travel Journals for Memorable Musings
Travel journals allow us to capture and crystallize our experiences exploring the world. Setting thoughts, sights and feelings down on paper creates an indelible memento. Flipping through journal pages lets us relive meaningful moments from our journeys.
Avid journaler Becca remarks, “My travel journals are my most treasured souvenirs. I pour my heart into those pages, documenting each place I visit. When I reread a journal, vivid memories come flooding back - the tastes, the smells, emotions I felt half a world away. My journals transport me right back in time.”
Journaling fosters reflection, helping us process experiences long after returning home. It documents not just where we went, but how each place impacted us. Diligent journaling captures those little moments that would otherwise fade.
Becca recounts, “I try to journal every night of my trips, no matter how tired I am. I know how easy it is to forget little details that seemed insignificant at the time. But those passing moments often have the power to transport me back when I read my journals years later - the sound of a crowded market, an interaction with a local, a mood that overcame me.”
Journals also provide a space to get creative. You can include photos, tickets, brochures and other memorabilia. Draw sketches of street scenes or press flowers picked on hikes. Diary-style entries capturing daily events mesh with reflective musings and imaginative doodles.
“I love unleashing my creative side in my travel journal,” Becca shares. “I use colorful pens and highlighters, stickers, washi tape. It’s become an art project documenting each trip. And it slows me down, making sure I soak up every experience.”
Globetrotters will appreciate travel journals as gifts for documenting future escapades. Opt for bound notebooks with richly printed covers evoking vintage luggage labels. Leather journals gain character as they age. Pick one with pockets to stow keepsakes.
Jetsetters embracing analog can pair journals with luxurious fountain pens crafted specially for writing on the go. Or gift a set of pens in different colors to capture every mood. Pencil cases keep writing tools organized. Include adhesive photo corners for capturing moments.
“My most recent trip to Thailand was incredibly chaotic,” recalls Becca. “But taking time to journal each day, sipping coffee in a quiet cafe, brought stillness. Now reading those pages takes me right back to the temples, the flavors, connections made.”
Dragon Dance Through the New Year: 21 Festive Gifts for Globetrotters to Celebrate the Year of the Dragon - Backpacks with Dragon Embroidery
Mary fondly recalls receiving a dragon backpack from her grandmother one Chinese New Year. “I took it on every school field trip and summer adventure. That hand-embroidered crimson dragon made me feel brave, ready to explore the world. It's one of my most cherished gifts from childhood.”
Backpacks make great canvases for embroidered dragons. Opt for a durable canvas or nylon backpack that will withstand years of adventure. Red and gold dragons framed by clouds and fire make classic combinations. Black backpacks beautifully offset vibrantly colored dragons in embroidered silks. Gold metallic thread adds regal flair.
Look for backpacks handmade by artisans that exhibit fine craftsmanship. Hand-embroidered dragons have an organic, lively quality. Expect to pay $50 or more for high-quality pieces. Well-made backpacks with extensive, professional embroidery are worth the investment.
Mary remarks, "That handmade backpack saw me through elementary, high school, college. Two decades later, it remains one of my most-used bags for work and travel. The embroidery still looks fantastic."
Adventurous types might prefer rough, earthy dragon designs reminiscent of cave paintings. These embody the dragon's free spirit. Go for thickly threaded, textured embroidery in muted tones on natural jute or unbleached cotton.
Kids adore backpacks with friendly looking dragons. Whimsical cartoon dragons in vibrant hues ignite their imagination. Embroidered eyes and whiskers make them pop. Little ones will want to take their new dragon buddy everywhere.
Embroidered backpacks also make great souvenirs from trips to China and throughout Asia. Hunt for handmade pieces at markets and specialty shops. Haggle to get the best deal on quality embroidery. DIYers can try their hand at embroidering their own dragon backpack.