One of the Lunar New Year decorating highlights for our family is decorating the tree! The Chinese New Year ornaments go up the same day our Christmas ornaments come down. We love this tradition! As adoptive parents, my husband and I want to share Chinese culture with our children while they are young and still figuring out their identity. Blending Chinese holidays with our American traditions is one of the ways we try to celebrate our children’s birth heritage.
Our tree ornaments have multiplied over the years, but they started out very simply with some strung red envelopes, paper cuttings that I laminated and then hole punched, Chinese coins, fun dragon toothpicks (Party City and Oriental Trading) stretched around the tree, several treasures from China, and a few crafts from the children. I’ve since been to China twice and had the opportunity to purchase many small ornaments to fill the tree. They are very affordable and plentiful in-country, so I tried to find different treasures in each store for a nice variety. I had so much fun hunting for the perfect additions, and the children enjoyed helping too! They can look at the ornaments now and remember the stores and their shopping experiences in China.
I’ve purchased a few ornaments and small lanterns from China Sprout, but they can get a little pricey. I also have wired Chinese character ornaments from Scarlet Threads (pictured on the right, below the tree) that I adore. I still haven’t found the perfect tree topper, but the stretched dragon toothpicks do the trick for now.
If you’d like to start a Chinese New Year tree, my suggestion is to start simply and then slowly add ornaments over time. Red envelopes look so nice and are inexpensive. Simple red and gold ribbons or garland would add a nice, festive touch too. Your children could spend an afternoon creating some pretty paper lanterns to decorate the tree! Or if you’re really crafty, you could try to make your own Chinese knots. And if you have a China trip coming up soon, shop for as many ornaments as you can in-country!