Gong xi fa cai!
It’s that time of the year again. Chinese New Year is a joyous occasion that’s filled with lively family gatherings, great food and good fortune abound.
But it can also be a hectic period as holiday preparations can overwhelm even most well-prepared of us. If Chinese New Year planning is getting you down, don’t fret. We’ve got some “cheat codes” that can lift your stress and get you ready to take on Chinese New Year!
CNY Cheat Code #1: Why cook when you can cater?
Welcoming family and friends into your home is a significant aspect of Chinese New Year. However, this also comes with the expectation that you will provide an ample supply of delicious food to fill your guests’ tummies with. Cooking for a large number of people is no mean feat. Between planning multiple menus and doing groceries runs, your home (and especially your kitchen) could turn from a happy and prosperous living space into a frantic war zone.
Why put yourself through the hassle, when professional caterers can deliver piping hot, tasty meals directly to your home? With a wide variety of menu selections available, you can pick and choose dishes that suit your guests’ tastes and dietary needs – while still being friendly to your budget.
As a bonus, there are no messy kitchen clean-ups to worry about either. (Also, you wouldn’t even need to tell guests that the food came from a caterer… as long as no one asks!)
Just be sure to book your catering service well in advance, as the Chinese New Year period is a very busy season for caterers. (Booking early also usually means you’ll get access to better discounts and more varied menu selections.)
CNY Cheat Code #2: There’s more than one way of giving ang baos
Ang baos, or red packets, are synonymous with Chinese New Year – and getting new notes is a must. (After all, no one wants to give out ang baos with crumpled money inside.) We recommend getting this done ahead of time to avoid long queues at the banks, or even having banks run out of fresh notes.
Alternatively, you could also send family members digital ang baos. For example, DBS offers a “QR Ang Bao” which allows users to load a cash value onto a QR slip via their mobile wallet DBS PayLah! The recipient of your digital ang bao can then scan this QR code to receive the amount instantly.
Welcome to a modern era of Chinese New Year!
CNY Cheat Code #3: Make spring cleaning a breeze
Before guests arrive, spring cleaning is an absolute must. But the tradition of spring cleaning goes deeper than just aesthetics. It also symbolises doing away with the old and “cleaning away” bad luck – leaving only good luck and prosperity in the home for the year ahead.
There is one item that often gets overlooked during spring cleaning, and it’s perhaps the most important item in your home – your mattress! We understand why many people ignore cleaning their mattresses and choose instead to focus on washing their bed sheets (because it’s troublesome), but it’s crucial to keep your mattress clean as this is where you spend 8 hours every night for approximately 10 years (or more).
If you’re currently look for (or thinking about getting) a new mattress, we highly recommend choosing a mattress with a removable mattress cover. A removable, washable cover protects your mattress from allergens and dirt – and when it’s time to be cleaned, the cover can be easily removed and sent for dry cleaning. No hassle, no fuss, and most importantly, no yucky decade-long accumulation of germs!
As a bonus, using a mattress cover also significantly prolongs the lifespan of your mattress!
CNY Cheat Code #4: Skip the pre-CNY grocery rush by checking out your options
It wasn’t too long ago that people had to stock up on groceries as wet markets and grocery stores would be closed for a few days or even a week over Chinese New Year. Thankfully, supermarkets now have extended opening hours, so Chinese New Year eve no longer feels like a countdown to doomsday.
For example, NTUC FairPrice stores usually open on the second day of Chinese New Year, with some branches even staying open 24/7 throughout the festive period. Alternatively, many online hypermarkets and stores also deliver over Chinese New Year, so you can replenish your food staples and goodies as needed.
Save yourself from the pre-holiday rush by checking out the options that are available for your Chinese New Year grocery needs.
CNY Cheat Code #5: It’s ok to cheat on your diet… in moderation
One of the highlights of Chinese New Year is savouring all our favourite festive snacks. But while it’s alright to indulge (a little) in your favourite treats, remember to so in moderation as most of these goodies are incredibly high in sugar and calories.
If you’re feeling the urge to binge, instead of reaching for another handful of pineapple tarts, grab a mandarin orange – which, at least, is filled with natural sweetness and vitamin C. Snacks like pumpkin seeds are also preferable, as they take a longer time to eat than cookies and fried fish skin, which can be gobbled down in seconds. And of course, rather than refilling your glass with another helping of soda, choose refreshing cold water instead.
When hosting guests, show that you’re concerned about their dietary preferences by offering healthier drinks like liang cha, barley, luo han guo, and other popular herbal beverages.