Things You Should Never Give as a New Year Gift
Etiquette is quite important in China. In the Spring Festival which is the most important festival in China, there are particular rules to send gifts. Then, what are the taboos for Chinese New Year gifts? Following things shall be avoided when you choose the gifts of Chinese New Year.
Do not give a wallet randomly. As a private item, wallet is only suitable for an intimate friend or partner. From the perspective of Feng Shui, a purse is the treasury of your family. Once you give it to someone else, your fortune will be affected.
Fish tank, similar with the God of Wealth, cannot be sent or received as a gift at liberty. What's more, it is a taboo for someone to keep fish, so do not choose a fish tank randomly.
Do not choose shoes as gifts. In Chinese language, shoe (鞋xié) is homophonic to evil spirit (邪xié). Giving shoes to someone (excluding relatives) means bringing evil spirits to him/her.
Watch and Clock
Do not choose watch or clock for the aged because 'giving a clock' (送钟 sòng zhōng) is homophonic to the Chinese words 'attending a funeral ritual' (送终 sòng zhōng). A clock for someone will be interpreted as the intention for his/her death.
Pears or Plums
Do not choose pears or plums because the Chinese word for 'pears' (梨 lí /lee/) or 'plums'（李子lǐ zi）is homophonic to the word 'separation' (离 lí).
Do not choose umbrella because the Chinese word for 'umbrella' (伞 sǎn) is homophonic to the word for 'breaking up' (散 sàn) (excluding sending an umbrella in the rain to others). If you send an umbrella to your friend, you may break up with him/her in the future.
Do not choose an antique randomly. Some antiques are dug out from the tomb and contain a lot of evil spirits. If you send such a gift to your friend, you will bring him/her bad luck, even misfortune.
Do not choose the stone of unknown origin which may bring evil spirits, even though seemingly ornamental. Therefore, it is quite ominous to send a stone of unknown origin.
Do not choose the thorny plants, such as cactus, which contain a lot of evil spirits. If you choose such a plant for someone, he or she will be affected by the evil and framed up, getting less and less wealth.
Pillow is a necessity for everyone at night. If you send a pillow to someone as a gift, you will have less careless days and more troubles. So, be careful when you choose a pillow for gift but it doesn't matter as a gift for your lover.
Quilt is homophonic to 'bad luck' and giving a quilt as gift will bring bad luck to others.
Do not choose dolls because in China, doll is equal to vile character that will bring evil spirits (excluding the dolls for the kids of your relatives or girlfriend).
Do not choose sharp objects like scissors, knife and sword, because they will cut off good fortune and it means breakup with someone! Some people sent the 'peach blossom sword' to their friend for the meaning of cutting off bad luck with the opposite sex but finally found it ruined their own good luck. Some choose kitchen knives and forks and suffered a disastrous decline of their own luck.
Do not choose a green hat as gift, as it means cuckold and implies a love affair. Since it is quite a shame for someone who is cuckolded, the green hat shall be avoided when you choose a Chinese New Year gift!