Monday, January 23, 2012

Gong Hey Fat Choy

Or as Seth will be happy to tell you, "Happy New Year in Chinese!"

We celebrated Chinese New Year tonight and boy was it fun. Actually it was a good excuse to get take-out for dinner, but in a way that never let them suspect that Mom just didn't want to cook tonight.

The local party store had a pretty decent selection of Chinese New Year decorations (considering that the local Chinese population is about 0.0001%), so with a couple of Google searches under my belt, I hung up red lanterns and paper dragons and hid the brooms so our good luck wouldn't get swept away. Hiding the brooms was definitely good luck for Carden and Seth, since sweeping is one of their nightly tasks.

I remembered I had a roll of tablecloth-size clear plastic, so for our table decorations I swiped an idea I read somewhere. I made color copies of pictures and factoids about China from a kids encyclopedia. I cut them out and laid them on the table under the plastic. It does have a bit of a white-trash aesthetic, but considering a full glass of water spilled during dinner, plus the usual assortment of dropped food (especially with four kids handling chopsticks), all my stuff was protected.

While we struggled with our chopsticks, we read the factoids and talked about China and discussed the animal zodiac and which animals we were. Despite all our emphasis on the positive qualities of each animal, Charlotte could not recover from being born in the year of the pig.

After dinner we handed out red envelopes with actual dollar bills inside and watched a great documentary, "Wild China," that was perfect for the kids, with lots of interesting animals and landscapes.

We wish everyone happiness, wealth, and longevity!