Chinese New Year Red Envelope Amounts

Hi,

We've been invited to a Chinese New Year dinner at a good friend's house. Two close friends who will be there have sons around 2years old.

If we give them red envelopes, what amount of cash would be expected? Does the amount change with age?

Thanks.

Poll Options

  • 27
    $100
  • 10
    $50
  • 60
    $20
  • 26
    $10
  • 4
    $8
  • 16
    $5
  • 23
    A Lollipop

Comments

  •  

    No idea, would be interested to hear the answer too but I do know that 4 is considered a bad omen as it's pronounced like the word 'death' and 8 is considered lucky so maybe $80?

    • +1 vote

      That's right, if during the course of the conversation you need to say the number "4", say "3A" instead. It's well accepted as a substitute for "4". Heck our lifts have "3A" instead of "4" for the 4th floor.

    • +18 votes

      8 is considered lucky so maybe $80?

      8 bucks it is

    •  

      how does 4 and death sound like in pronounciation?

      • +2 votes

        Depends on the language and dialect. It doesn't really sound alike at all in most languages. Chinese being a tonal language, the word might sound the same but in a different tone have a completely different meaning. No chinese would mistake the two words if heard or written.

        For example, Japan carries the tradition also, but in their language death is pronounced "shi" while 4 is pronounced "yong".

        https://translate.google.com/#view=home&op=translate&sl=en&t...

        It's more a cultural thing, like how western apartments don't have a 13th floor. No one truly believes 13 is unlucky, but it's a tradition that stuck.

        The other superstition of 8 = lucky is even more eggregious. I have not been able to find a language where the two words can even remotely be confused. They at best rhyme, like "fall" and "ball".

        •  

          Ichi ni san shi go roku shichi hachi kyuu juu???
          I have heard of the yon and nana varieties but I was taught that set for Japanese which means 4 is the exact same as death!

  • +7 votes

    Anywhere between $20 to $100. Since you’re giving two, $20 each should be fine.

    If you’re feeling generous, $50 each.

    Also are you guys married? Envelopes are typically only handed out from married couples to the youth.

    Sounds like a fun day regardless, enjoy, and Gong Hei Fat Choy! 🧧

  • -1 vote

    The sons? They're freaking 2, make it $10, or better yet, no envelope and just a lollipop which I'm sure they'd enjoy more. It does change with age, but now that I think of it I haven't asked at what age you stop receiving and start giving lol because I know people get them well into their 20's, maybe into 30's?

    • +2 votes

      just a lollipop

      That is both cheap and rude.

      • +4 votes

        I'm not Asian and don't really understand anything about this. Why is it rude giving a kid lollies? Isn't giving them cash - which they are too young to appreciate, a bit silly. And why is it common to give cash instead of presents? What if you can't afford it?

        • +3 votes

          Doesn't matter what age the kid is. The parents will always keep the money for "safekeeping"

        • +1 vote

          new years is a super big deal to chinese people and most asian cultures that also practice.

          presents are for christmas and birthdays. money is given as a token of good fortune for the coming year. its not meant to be appreciated by the 2 year old toddler. and even if he was older the money would be held onto by to help them save that money till they are old enough to use it.

        •  

          If the kids are too young and dont know the money then actually the money you give to the kids is for their parents. Thats why giving lolly could be rude. Giving a toy is a good idea in this case.

    •  

      at what age you stop receiving and start giving

      https://www.ozbargain.com.au/comment/8267545/redir

  • +1 vote

    $20(RED)*2

  • +1 vote

    888 for each kid

  • +9 votes

    Tradition is that red packets are given only by married couples to kids/single people.

    In your case (assuming you're married), For a 2 year old, I'd give $5. If they were highschool or uni aged, and you know them well, I'd give 20 tops.

    •  

      so defacto couples never have to give and can continue to receive for life. Not a bad perk.

  • +1 vote

    $8.

  • +7 votes

    About tree fiddy

  •  

    $20 each

  • +5 votes

    $20 is fine, plus the $20 note is almost a redish colour which is also the chinese colour. To top it off, use brand new crisp notes for added luck.

  •  

    2 x $20 for a couple

  • +11 votes

    Seems like there must be a lot of "rich" kids out there, $20 seems to have been thrown around as a common number. For a 2 year old??

    For me, if its an acquaintance's child that young, I would be giving $5 a child, maybe $8, with a couple of extra gold coins in there so they jingle a bit, seems to keep the kiddies happy. $20 would only be for close family and/or older kids.

    •  

      $20 would only be for close family and/or older kids.

      From OP:

      Two close friends who will be there have sons around 2years old.

      $20 for close friends kids seems reasonable.

      • +1 vote

        I think they meant older kids, like 5-6+ and have some concept of money and buying stuff.

        Personally I thought $20 seemed reasonable until I read that they were 2 years old! A 2 year old is not going to understand IMO.

        I wonder if $20 is just being thrown around because it's the smallest note you can get out of an ATM?

    •  

      Serious question. Have you ever given someone a red packet with coins in it?

      I’m now a middle aged man and I’ve actually never seen this in my entire life.

      •  

        Yep definitely have, when I started giving red packets out a few years ago, I popped some gold coins in it for the little kids so it would jingle when they got it and it was a hit. I remember getting them sometimes when I was young too(back in Malaysia in the 80s) so it's not unheard of.

        •  

          Any traditionalist would hit you for giving coins in a red packet. My grandfather gave someone a whole earful for trying to joke around with red pocket by putting coins in.

          •  

            @ATangk: Good thing I don't hang out with traditionalists then hey? No one has ever complained to me yet since I've started giving out red packets with coins it it for the little kids. $8 red packet=$5 note+$2 coin+$1 coin, nice lucky number, jingles when the kiddies get it, they're happy, that's good enough for me,

            I've seen some guides and other commenters who advocate against giving coins in red packets, but whatever…I'm pretty sure I never complained when I got them as a kid either, Money is money, all ozbargainers should know this!

            Maybe there's a lot more relaxing of the rules amongst either my family or Malaysian Chinese in general, don't really know, don't particularly care either to be honest.

      •  

        you will see this at weddings commonly.

    •  

      $20 is because the note is red. Its an amount which is not insulting but not too high either. Close friends may give $50, Family may also give $50 or $100.

      Btw these are amounts for just one red pocket. You usually give two red pockets unless you are widowed/divorced.

      •  

        This two red packet thing….pretty sure that's not that common in Malaysia, have only ever gotten one red packet from each set of aunt/uncle pairing as a child. It's only once we had some Chinese friends from Hong Kong here that we noticed they gave two red packets instead of one.

  • +1 vote

    All you have to worry about is your friend, 2 years old don't know about the value of money yet but their parent does. so give appropriately i'd say $20 as well, not too cheap and not too much just about right considering that you'll be dining in their home as well, remember the parent is the one counting :)

  • +2 votes

    I think OP should start a poll!

  • +1 vote

    2 x $10. $5 is a smallest denomination of (not coin) money. So $10 will be a good compromised amount.

  • +2 votes

    give what you feel comfortable giving.

    if this is not part of your tradition or culture, I suggest to buy a toy,

    and bring something for the house, something sweet will suffice

  • +3 votes

    I would give a 20 piece feed and a zinger burger each.

  • +2 votes

    You know it is symbolic. At 2 years old it is just good fun. Put a $10 in each red pocket as $5 just seems a bit stingy. Don't give away pineapples ($50) because it is just setting a bad precedent. $20 tops per red pocket I would say.

  •  

    I guess $80, but it depends how close you are.

    Business partners or just a neighbourhood friend? It's actually quite hard to determine, but whatever you do should be fine. Possibly avoid anything with a 4, but having a 2 is usually only used to denote a really helpful friend. So I would avoid the $20, or $200 unless it was someone who really helped me.

  • +1 vote

    OP's said they're close friends, so I'd think $20 is the base amount.

  • +1 vote

    This 4 thing may explain why Chinese don't play cricket.

  • +4 votes

    My rule
    1. No coins. Forget the $8 crap. That is just an embarrassment.
    2. $20 under 18yo.
    3. $50 over 18yo. If there are mutilple kids in this age bracket at the same party, then OK drop to $20 each if that helps your wallet.

  •  

    $50 per packet :)

  • +1 vote

    I always put as much cash as I can stuff in a red envelope. Yeeeaahhhh I'm popular at parties!

  • +3 votes

    We grew up with not alot of money so we got a few coins (about $2 or $3 depending on the relatives). Wifes family gives increments of $20, $50 and $100.

  • +8 votes

    I read eneloops.

    2X AA each should be fine.

  • +2 votes

    How does one get invited to a dinner like this? I'd be happy to get given red envelopes.

    • +1 vote

      can always do the hosting

    •  

      but you gotta give them too.. I wonder does everyone come out even at the end of the night?

      here's $20!
      Thanks! and here's your $20.

      •  
        • the more kids you have, the better
        • the wealthier your relatives are, the better
        • the more people that know you are poorer or how frugal you are, the better
      •  

        I wonder does everyone come out even at the end of the night?

        That’s how my family does it: before I got married my mum would give $20 to each of her sisters grandkids and my aunt would give $50 each to me & my brother. Then I got married before my brother (who is 5 years older than me): also gave out $20 to each of the kids and my 34 year old, un-married brother got $200 red packet from my aunt.

        The maths stopped working when he got married and neither of us have kids yet

  •  

    Damn socialists.

  • -1 vote

    Can’t say forskin then?

  • -2 votes

    20 will be fine for 2 year olds and even for friends.

    50s and 100s are from relatives, grandparents etc.

    Main rule I always follow is usually one note per packet.

  •  

    It's not about the age of the children. Red pockets are about exchanging money/value between families. Giving it to the children just makes it harder for the other party to be polite and deny it. If it's a good friend I'd give more

  •  

    Im half Chinese and half Cambo, but born in Australia. Really depends on the family, tradition and relationship. From when I was young ( 4 or 5 ) I was getting Red Pocket or lai se. I would generally get $50 per family above me (Uncle, Aunt, Grandparent and parents) Close friends generally give 50 too. When i hit my 16th birthday. I got 150 per family above me that were married or a senior to me. I guess it provides a significance depending on your culture.

    Red and Yellow represents wealth and prosperity, no 4's, 8 is a lucky number. Keep in mind, it is most grateful if you were to give the lai se in person, showing full importance and gratitude to the person.

  •  

    do not give any coins

    $50 each child is fine and make sure its a single $50 note and not made up of multiple notes

  •  

    If red is the colour of superstition, pair it up with a $20 and it's a double whammy!

  •  

    If OP was also bringing their 2 year old to this dinner party, what would be the go when they hand out $20 and their kid gets $50 back? This sort of thing would cause my wife nightmares.

  •  

    2x $5 (smallest note, x2 packets keeps it even)
    They are 2yr old FFS.

    Scale up to 2x10 when say primary school, then 20.

    If your good friend gets offended at the amount they ain't your friend. You need to build up a resistance to this saving face BS because there will always be some other friend or relo out there that gives more.

  • +2 votes

    A sheet of Hungry Jacks coupons each.

  •  

    Are you serious? They're 10 and not related to you by blood. I wouldn't be giving them any money I am sorry. Maybe a $2 coin and lollipop would suffice if you're really wanting to be generous?

  • +1 vote

    It seems the majority of people think around $20. So we gave $20 to each kid.

    Thanks OzBargainers!

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