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Monday, February 11, 2013

Happy (Chinese) New Year

On Saturday we had a ball hosting a Chinese New Year party.
It was a fun date/theme for a BBQ get together with friends.
It was a real winner with the children of our friends too.
I was rapt when with each arrival of little people, we were greeted with the Cantonese 

"gùng héi faat chōi"

They had been practising with their parents all week and looking forward to the party with so much anticipation. They brought us presents of lolly snakes in honour of the year of the water snake.
We hid some lollies around the garden and had the fairy garden lit with bud lights.
They all played in the cubby house and around the garden and the dogs were beside themselves with so much activity.

Just in case we needed indoor activities, I downloaded these from here but they ended up as going home gifts. I also had cardboard and glue and red cellophane ready for making Chinese lanterns too.

We got out picture books and fairy stories and the bamboo cards for fortune telling.
Mostly everyone was happy mixing outside and when it turned cooler and dinner had finished, we gathered around the fire pot

Made from an old enamelled inner bowl from a washing machine.
Craig's plane that he is building in the garage was also a popular male hangout spot during the hours. (Amazing how men love to congregate in sheds)

I love this photo that a young 13 yr old guest took of the lanterns swinging in the (high) wind as night descended. He has his own page for his photography and works for sale here.

Another reason we enjoyed the party so much was all the help we had with the night.
If someone offered to bring something, I took them up on the offer. 
Some people were allocated a salad, or a dessert, or bread or even just a bag of chips.
In the past I have tried to do everything but allowing people to help when they wanted to really made the party a shared and joyful experience.

If people offered to help with the washing up,
I let them.
It made for some great conversation doing the dishes.
And boy were there dishes! I almost succumbed and bought plastic plates but neither Craig or I could bring ourselves to add to the plastic dilemma of the planet and when all is said and done, after hunting through cupboards I really do have more than fifty plates and bowls that I have bought inexpensively from the local op shop and was happy for them to be used outside. True to Murphy's Law, not a single 20c plate was broken.

I finally got to use "stuff" I had been storing in the cupboard for such a party for about 15 years now! Bits and bobs that had been purchased very inexpensively from China Town in Sydney. The children were rapt with the bundles of Chinese "money" that they got to take home and play with.

Too soon it ended.
Just when I got to sit down with a drink in front of the fire, people were starting to break up and wend their way home. We tend to have a large party every couple of years and the only thing I would love to do if I could afford it would be to hire staff to get the food out and clear away simply so that we could really enjoy every moment with our guests. Our aunty Lettie does that and she really gets to enjoy her time with her guests.
Have you got any great party tips to share? 


  1. What a lovely looking party you had. The decorations all look wonderful. We haven't had a party for soooooo long - it's a bit sad really!!

  2. Happy Chinese Year of the Snake. We celebrated the Chinese Eve with some relaxing Taichi in the park- It was a combined effort of our two local taichi groups. A Chinese Banquet was informally put together (bring a plate) complete with lanterns & lollies, in the park. After drinking Buddha Tears Tea & enjoying the sumptuous food, we opened our fortune cookies & had a session on what's ahead for everyone this year. With our local Chinese speaking-reading specialist, via her Master in Hong Kong. This year it was auspicious to wear Blue, except we all turned up in Red!! The only downside, it was blowing a Southerly in the park & we were huddled together under woollen rugs & shawls. Funnily the nights each side of it were warm & balmy. Not to be deterred, we'll be back for more next year..I loved your celebration, it looked colourful & fun!!

  3. I loved all your themed decorations Tanya - it really makes a party fun to have a theme or dress-up. I love to have dress up parties. Some of our best ones have been when Michael and I went as Zorro & Carmen Miranda and then my 40th was Bollywood... even had indian caterers, indian entertainment and a henna lady. So much fun!!

  4. Oh how beautiful, that looks all so lovely and festive..xx

  5. What a wonderful idea Tanya! Thank you for sharing all those lovely photos.


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