红包 (Hóngbāo / Red Envelopes) are very important gifts during Chinese New Year, weddings, birthdays, and other special occasions! The color red represents energy, happiness and good luck. Therefore, the gift a red envelope symbolizes the wish for good fortune to the recipient. As usual, we are happy to share our free printable 红包 that you can make with your kids! The lucky Chinese red envelope printables are available in simplified and traditional Chinese. At the end of the post, you can find 6 tips for presenting 红包 as a gift to family and friends.
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Important vocabulary about Chinese Red Envelopes 红包:
The first 7 pages of the printable red envelopes have the following characters:
- 福 (Fú / Blessing, fortune)
- 囍 (Xǐ / Double Happiness)
- 寿 or 壽 (Shòu / Longevity)
- 家 (Jiā / Family)
- 春 (Chūn / Spring)
- 好 (Hǎo / Good)
- 恩 (Ēn / Grace)
Since we are a Christian family, and I have thus included 4 Chinese Christian blessings:
- 福杯滿溢 / 福杯满溢 (Fú bēi mǎn yì / May your cup overflow with blessings)
- 主賜平安 / 主赐平安 (Zhǔ cì píng’ān / Lord gives peace)
- 十架之光 (Shí jià zhī guāng / Light of the Cross)
- 主恩常在 (Zhǔ ēn cháng zài / The Lord is Always Here)
The design is simple so your child has room to add his or her own decorations! In addition, the last page (page 8) is blank page so can write your own characters on the envelope.
What you need to make Chinese red envelopes 红包:
- Red Envelope Template
- 7 auspicious Chinese characters, free printable download in the following font options:
- Chinese Christian phrases, free printable in simplified and traditional Chinese, KaiTi font
- Red printer paper or cardstock. We used red 8″ x 11″ printer paper, but other parents have mentioned that they preferred the thickness of cardstock due to wet glue!
- Gold Sharpie marker
- Double-sided tape or glue stick; we tried both types of glue and recommend using glue stick to seal the envelope edges. We do not recommend liquid glue as the paper may wrinkle as it dries.
- Real or play money
- For decorations:
Chinese Red Envelopes – 2 font options
Here is a side by side comparison of 福 in KaiTi font (left) and SongTi font (right). 福 is the same in simplified and traditional Chinese, but as you can see, the stroke arrangement may differ depending on the chosen font. If that is confusing to you, a native speaker explained to me that characters can appear differently just like how letter “a” and number “4” can vary depending on font. In addition, KaiTi font mimics the strokes of brush calligraphy, while SongTi font is more block-like.
How to make Chinese Red Envelopes 红包:
- Print template
- Cut along solid line lines
- Fold along dotted lines
- Tape or glue sides and bottom of envelope
- Color in Chinese character with gold marker
- Have fun embellishing with glitter and rhinestone stickers!!!
It’s fun to see how my daughter’s artwork changes with age. Here is how her Chinese red envelopes looked at age 4:
Note: Elmer’s classic glitter glue is too dull on red paper.
This year at age 5, my daughter can fold the Chinese red envelopes neatly and independently! She also loves to doodle on the envelopes. Now that she is learning to write Chinese, she colored each Chinese character according to stroke order. In addition, she asked me to print a blank envelope so that she could draw 恩 plus 耶稣 in a heart! The photo below also shows the beautiful KaiTi Chinese font!
Chinese Christian Red Envelopes 红包:
Since we ran out of red paper and my daughter loves rainbows, we printed and decorated our Chinese Christian packets with rainbow colors, gold glitter, and gold pens! We are not superstitious about color, but my kids have learned that red is the traditional color used for these celebrations. Also to save paper, we wrote messages on pretty leaves from our yard that fit perfectly inside the envelopes!
Tips for giving money in Chinese red envelopes 红包:
- Use new crisp bills (avoid wrinkles).
- Do not give coins.
- Do not put in amounts that start with the number 四 (sì / four). 四is an unlucky number in Chinese culture because its pronunciation sounds like 死 (sǐ / death).
- Give even amounts, preferably with the lucky number 八 (bā / eight). 八 is a lucky number because it sounds like 发 (fā / fortune).
- Traditionally, children would kneel to receive their 红包 from older relatives.
- Give and receive 红包 with both hands.
The envelope is the perfect size for gifting real money. We don’t usually have much cash at home, but wrinkled bills do not look good as shown in the below photo! I remember my relatives would often go to the bank specifically for the reason of withdrawing fresh, crsip bills!
In addition to gifting money, you can also use these as play money! My kids have had so much fun playing pretend shopping, birthday, and wedding with play money and lucky Chinese Red Envelopes. For the parents who love to teach, you can also turn this into a math learning opportunity!
Given the number of red envelopes in these photos, you can probably tell that this is my daughter’s favorite Chinese new year activity! I am going to be preparing these for my daughter’s preschool classroom, and I think they would be a fun Chinese New Year activity for Kindergartners and elementary school students!
Other Chinese New Year resources for children
- 20+ Fun Chinese New Year Activities for Kids!
- Chinese Zodiac Wheel – Educational Chinese New Year Printable
- 恭喜发财 Chinese New Year Craft Stick Puzzle
- Free Happy New Year Coloring Pages
- Chinese New Year books and audiobooks
- Chinese New Year YouTube videos
Advice on how to teach kids Chinese
- Tips on creating a Chinese learning environment at home
- Teach Your Child a Second Language at Home with 5 Key Steps
- Raising Multilingual Children as a Non-Fluent Parent: 7 Lessons Learned in 2018
- How To Get Your Child To Speak the Minority Language
- Encourage A Child to Love and Speak the Minority Language with 5 Strategies
- How to Find a Foreign Language Teacher for Your Child
- 5 Reasons Books are the Best Gifts for Multilingual Kids
- Teaching kids how to read Chinese
Happy Lunar New Year, friends!