Moom Health red packet 2022
Photograph: @thebodgedgallery via Moom

The ultimate hongbao guide for Chinese New Year

When it comes to parting with money, it's no joke. Here's our very practical guide to the art and strategy of hongbao-giving on Chinese New Year

Delfina Utomo
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There's no rule as to how much you should give in a red packet – or hongbao – on Chinese New Year, as long as it is within the means. Or is it? Traditionally the hongbao is handed out by married couples to their parents, single adults and children as a token of good fortune and new year blessings. And it's also a big deal.

We're in no authority to be dictating how many notes to stuff in that embossed red packet you selected so carefully for the special day, just remember to keep the amount even. But since you're unfortunately married and the burden of hongbao-giving befalls you, we'll try to keep it real – in this economy and all. 

RECOMMENDED: 10 pretty and unique red packets we want this Lunar New Year

Parents (and in-laws)

If you're still wondering who should get the biggest cut of your ang pao shares, it's your parents. No question about it, no argument there and shame on you for even having to think about it. They say any amount you can afford will do, but sorry to break to you, Mom and Dad are probably looking at the $200 and more range. Of course, if you're well loaded, feel free to be fancy with the amounts whether it is $288 or $888(8). Your parents definitely deserve it. 

Siblings

Love em' or hate 'em, siblings are a very important part of your lives and on Chinese New Year, you best pay up. Or perhaps surprise them with a thick (or not) red packet. Of course you don't actually need to give them the the "market rate" but if their happiness matters to you, then put aside about $50 as a "hey there, I appreciate you" gesture.

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Employees

You should totally be generous to this lot. These people spent the most time with you in the whole entire Lunar Year and Gregorian calendar year so cherish them dearly (and reward them handsomely). 

 

Your own kids

Your kids, your rules. You are probably the only one who know them best so it's really up to you. Do they deserve to be rewarded for being exceptional young men and women? Have they helped around the house a lot? Are they brats? Do you have to clean up after them? Were there any instances of teenage rebellion? Take this chance to serve justice – whether it's $100 or $50.

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Nieces and nephews

You like them because they're your siblings' kids, but not quite as much as you love your own. Give them slightly less than your kids because we don't want to hear, "Why does cousin X have more than me?". Awkward, awkward. 

Kids of good friends

Pick a number from one to ten and stick with it. We suggest $8 for the luck number eight brings us and that it is going to be so much better than giving $2. We know some of you want to...

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Some random children

See Point 5 and apply – or give them the the WiFi password instead and get back to attacking the snacks.

Get in the CNY mood

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