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Seeing Red? How to Handle the Upcoming Lunar New Year Season


The Year of the Tiger is rapidly approaching and with any Lunar New Year the pressure to find the perfect first day outfit, pull out all the auspicious decorations, spring clean, fill up all the red packets, find the best mandarins, and prepare for a mountain of pineapple tarts and other decadent treats all threatens to cause anxiety. Amidst all of this, probably the thought that looms largest over our heads is the barrage of questions that intensify during this period of extended family visits, eager and competitive cousins, and well meaning, but comparative parents.

Here are five top boundaries you might want to consider setting this Lunar New Year season:

  • Expectations around wardrobe formality, matching, and quantity especially if you know your family plans on doing a photo shoot or has long-standing traditions around how you should be dressed when visiting throughout the new year period. With extended days of visiting due to safe management measures, don’t feel shy to reuse outfits or wear clothes from previous years. Communicate your intentions so that both you and your hosts can feel respected
  • Agreements around how long you will be visiting for and whether you will be attending certain meals can be discussed in advance. Even if you don’t have anything that requires you to leave, you can advocate for the intensity and length of interactions you feel comfortable with
  • Deciding where you see your family can influence the dynamic of the celebration greatly. If any one person’s home has caused drama in the past due to ‘my house, my rules’ kind of behaviour, consider choosing a neutral place like a park or restaurant for your gathering
  • Prioritizing other financial needs you have when preparing ang paos can help support your mental health for the rest of the year since you will not carry the stress of overinvesting in this single holiday tradition. If you know your packets might be a little lighter than the others, focus on how you pass them out sharing your good wishes for the recipient and letting them know it’s a small token of prosperity from their auntie or uncle. Afterall, the bestowing of ang paos is rooted in the giving of the wishes for the coming year
  • Preparing answers for unwanted questions can give you peace of mind and help you feel less on edge going into any event and when faced with the inevitable questions you receive every year. Practicing in advance will give you the confidence and memory to lean on even if you feel a surge of emotion in the moment

However, wherever, and with whomever you usher in the Year of the Tiger, we hope the coming year brings you and your loved ones prosperity, good physical and mental health, and the happiness that comes from investing in you first.