Chinese Red Envelopes 红包 / 紅包 (Hóngbāo) are very important gifts during Chinese New Year, weddings, birthdays, and other special occasions!
As usual, we are happy to share our free printable 红包 that you can make with your family! The lucky Chinese red envelope printables are available in simplified and traditional Chinese.
The Chinese red envelopes are one of my daughter’s favorite printables, and she loves creating them for our family and friends! We have also done this craft at her school to teach her classmates about Lunar New Year!
In this post, I will cover:
- Why the color red is important in Chinese culture
- Important Chinese vocabulary related to red envelopes
- Red envelopes – what you need for the craft
- Red envelopes – how to make the them
- 6 tips for presenting 红包 / 紅包 as a gift to family and friends
- What to put inside the envelopes besides money
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1. Why is the color red important in Chinese culture?
The color red represents energy, happiness and good luck. Therefore, the gift a red envelope symbolizes the wish for good fortune to the recipient.
2. Chinese Red Envelopes 红包 / 紅包: Important vocabulary
The first 7 pages of the printable red envelopes have the following Chinese 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 hope to share God’s word with friends, 4 Chinese Christian blessings are included:
- 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.
3. Chinese red envelopes 红包 / 紅包: What you need for the craft
- Red Envelope Templates
- 7 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!
- 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.
- For decorations:
- Gold lettering (in order of my personal preference)
- Adhesive rhinestone stickers
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 this is confusing to you, hopefully this analogy will help: Chinese characters can appear differently, just like how letter “a” and number “4” can vary depending on the font.
In addition, KaiTi font mimics the strokes of brush calligraphy, while SongTi font is more block-like.
4. Chinese Red Envelopes 红包 / 紅包: How to make them
- Print template
- Cut along solid line lines
- Fold along dotted lines (Optional tip: use hard edge for a clean fold)
- Tape or glue sides and bottom of envelope
- Color in Chinese character with gold marker
- Have fun embellishing with glitter and rhinestone stickers!!!
Encouraging kids to participate
When my daughter was 4, here is a tray that I set up to encourage independent crafting.
After much practice making red envelopes, I saw her become very neat and independent by age 5!
As she began to learn how to write, she colored each Chinese character according to stroke order and added her own characters.
The photo below also shows the beautiful KaiTi Chinese font!
Chinese Christian Red Envelopes 红包 / 紅包 :
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, and we also put messages on leaves inside the envelopes!
5. Chinese red envelopes 红包 / 紅包 : Tips for giving money
- 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 / 紅包 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, crisp bills!
6. What to put in the Chinese Red Envelopes for kids besides money
If putting bills in the envelopes is too costly, some other ideas include:
- Play money (can use this to teach math!)
Please avoid food items, such as chocolate coins, unless the classmates have no food allergies.
Have you tried making Chinese Red Envelopes yet?
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
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