Red Lanterns for Chinese New Year

by ilene on January 30, 2014 · 2 comments

in decor, holidays, new year, party, tutorial


Happy Chinese New Year!!! (Happy regular New Years, for that matter!!!) Gong xi, gong xi!

I’m trying really hard to introduce our Chinese heritage to Zoey now that she is a little bit older.  Passing on our culture has been one of our bigger parenting struggles that Jeff and I face raising our daughter, especially since we were both born in the States and have a marginal grasp of our culture ourselves.  We try to speak to her in our broken Chinese (I should have paid more attention in Chinese School growing up!!), have her listen to Chinese folk songs and watch Chinese cartoons on youtube, but those don’t seem enough.  I hope that she grows up appreciating her heritage and will take pride in her Taiwanese background.

This year, I really wanted to make Chinese New Years a big deal for Zoey.  I don’t know much about a lot of the other Asian holidays, but Chinese New Years is THE big one and I have great memories celebrating it with my relatives.  I’m hoping to create new memories for Zoey to pass on to her children as well.  Last year, she was only three months old when the Lunar New Year rolled around.  This year, she is so much more aware of what is going on and learning so much!   I’ve been preparing her for the big day by reading to her some Chinese New Year books from the library,  teaching her to dance to the song “gong xi gong xi gong xi ni” (she will clasp her hands together and bounce up and down to the chorus) and watching some of the lion dances around San Francisco.  (We are lucky that we live in a city that makes this holiday a pretty big celebration.)   She even has a new red coat to mark the occasion.  Zoey’s been lucky to get a couple red envelopes of money already, too! Lucky girl!

I also decorated our home with a bunch of red lanterns!   I strung a line of these red lanterns diagonally across our living room ceiling and lit them up:

I bought ten of these 16″ red lanterns from the Paper Lantern store as well as a string of white light bulbs:

I used these command strips as hooks to hang the string of lights across the ceiling.  They are made for hanging lights outdoors so I knew they would hold strong on our ceiling. Plus, Jeff has a thing against making holes in our walls/ceilings so these helped hang the lights up without drilling holes all across out ceiling.  We first taped a long piece of ribbon diagonally across our living room ceiling to use as a guide while we stuck the hooks across the ceiling.  Lucky for us, this project was so easy and fast, we avoided a lot of the marital discord from the last time we strung lanterns in our house.    The lanterns hook easily onto the lightbulbs after we hung up the lights.  I was worried that the paper lanterns might move and catch on fire, but you can see how the lightbulb stays in the center of the lantern and isn’t close to touching the sides:

Because I am neurotic though, we make sure to only have these lights plugged in when we are in the living room and to turn them off whenever we go to bed or leave the house.

Look how pretty they are all lit up at night!!

They really make our place look so festive!!  The first time Zoey saw them, she kept pointing to the ceiling and saying “ball! ball!”

I also bought this huge 24″ traditional red lantern to hang above the bar in the kitchen:

These are hung up with fishing line and the command strips again.

I love the look of these lanterns. I plan on keeping them and hanging them up every year.  I like them so much, I may even keep them up for Valentine’s Day!

Happy Chinese New Year!  Happy Lunar New Year!! Happy Tet!  Happy Year of the Horse!!!  However you may call it, Happy New Years, everyone!!!

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