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Chinese New Year 2018 – Year of the Earth Dog

22 Jan

Paper lanterns, firecrackers, and wishes for prosperity in lucky red envelopes? It can only mean that Chinese New Year is coming soon. This year the lunar new year welcomes the Year of the Dog, the Brown Earth Dog to be exact. How are people celebrating? What predictions are there for the Year of the Earth Dog? We’ve got it all here for you.

Dragons are common during Chinese New Year parades

Image by Paul

When is Chinese New Year?

The date of Chinese New Year is determined by a lunar calendar. The holiday always comes between January 21 and February 20th, but this year’s celebration starts February 16, 2018. More than a billion people will ring in the Year of the Earth Dog around the world. The festivities last for two weeks, but the most important celebrations happen within the first three days.

What are Chinese New Year traditions?

Giant festivals will begin in China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, and even in London’s Chinatown. Many such festivals include colorful parades with traditional floats made into lions and dragons. Besides crowded festivals full of fun and street vendors, family and friends often exchange gifts of new clothes and red envelopes of money for luck and prosperity. Many people hang lucky red decorations and paper lanterns around their homes and offices. And there are plenty of fireworks displays to enjoy.

These are only some very broad traditions, though – each region adds its own flair to the celebration. For instance, in Beijing Chinese New Year celebrations emphasize temple fairs and families often attend folk shows. While in Guangzhou, there are flower exhibitions and it is customary to exchange flowers and live plants to encourage growth in the New Year.

Oranges symbolize fortune, essential in the Year of the Earth Dog

Image by Marco Verch

What are the best Chinese New Year Gifts?

Lucky red envelopes with money inside them – to symbolize luck and prosperity – are very popular, especially for children and college students. But one needs to make sure to give the right amount of money. Amounts that include the number 4 should be avoided as its pronunciation is similar to the word that means ‘death’. Besides that, Chinese New Year money should be given in amounts with equal numbers. The number 8 is particularly lucky so any amount including it is considered auspicious.

Of course, money isn’t the only thing to give. Fresh fruit baskets are excellent gifts to give at Chinese New Year, especially if they include apples (for safety) and oranges (for fortune). Tea sets are also a thoughtful and much-appreciated gift, but make sure they include high quality loose teas, and not only pre-measured tea bags.

Year of the Earth Dog Predictions

The Chinese Zodiac assigns each year an animal (rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig) along with an elemental correlation (earth, fire, water, wood, metal). This year, 2018, is an Earth Dog year. Interestingly, Madonna and Michael Jackson are famous Earth Dogs, while Bill Clinton, George Bush, Jr., and Donald Trump are famous Fire Dogs – one can see the difference the element makes.

Planning for Chinese New Year will help give the right start

Image by Marco Verch

This year’s Earth Dog is symbolized by mountains on top of mountains, indicating that 2018 starts with obstacles. Projects may require extra effort to complete. It may be tempting to become lazy, but that is ultimately the worst idea. Pushing to the top of the mountains of 2018 opens a new world of opportunity.

Despite its difficulty, business and finance opportunities will abound in the year of the Earth Dog for those who can manage to claim them. Networking will doubly rewarded, but procrastination will have double the consequences. It will likely be a stressful, but ultimately satisfying, year. But your mileage may vary based on your personal Chinese Zodiac sign. Make the most of this Chinese New Year by taking the time to looking into more specific predictions for the year of the Earth Dog!

You’re an expert on the Year of the Earth Dog. Now what?

 
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5 Easy Ways to Have a Long Distance New Year Celebration

27 Dec

Without having to commit to stupid long drives, dry overcooked dinners, annoying children, or being drunk without your own bed to pass out in.

Celebrating the New Year with all of your friends, family, and loved ones is pretty much impossible in this day and age. With the internet and international travel making long-distance relationships a norm in most people’s lives, it’s a safe bet that you have multiple people you want to see spread across a few continents. So how do you throw long distance New Year bash and celebrate with everyone? How can  you really connect with loved ones this New Year when they’re all so far away? How do you start 2018 with no guilt and no extra stress?

Who needs decor with a long distance New Year celebration?

Image by Shari’s Berries

Okay, so not even we can solve everything. But here are a few tips to help make your long distance New Year a success. We’re giving the advice, all you have to do is pour the drinks. And hey, if you’re looking for liquor we can send that, too!

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5 Kinds of Christmas Gifts to Avoid this Season

14 Dec

The holiday season is full of celebrating and enjoying delicious food, and of course giving gifts! We all prefer great gifts, and no one wants to send a gift that gets sent back. You have to figure out what your friends and family want. Then you have to figure out HOW to get it. Add in wrapping the gift, and getting it to them, and you’re almost ready to break into that holiday wine early. We are only humans, after all, and get easily emotional and on edge during the holidays. And then, there’s the gift choice. That’s why we’re here to help by letting you know which Christmas gifts to avoid this season.

With every gift you should aim for delighted squeals. But what you might see on the recipient’s face is a tight-lipped grimace trying to pass for a smile. Yes, you may have the very best intentions, but sometimes your kindness can be taken the wrong way. Even with the best intentions a gift can send the wrong message. Despite the high-flown notion that all gifts should be received with gratitude, there are too many circumstances in which the exchange falls short of our ideals. What makes gift giving such dangerous territory is that it isn’t just about the gift. It’s also about the perception of how well you understand your recipient’s tastes and needs.

Great holiday gift, or Christmas gift to avoid?

Image by Mulberry24

As a powerful form of communication, gifts can enhance connections between people and bring them closer together. Inappropriate gifts, though, can harm or even ruin a relationship, leaving an emotional impact that’s remembered for years. So without further ado, here’s the list of 5 Christmas gifts you’d better stay away from.

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A Brief History Of The Hanukkah Menorah

01 Dec

The Hanukkah menorah is a bit of a mystery to some, even though it’s instantly recognizable. You might not know what Hanukkah is all about, but a nine-branched candelabrum is something we are all familiar with. Known as a Menorah, the famous lamp stand among the most recognized symbols of the Jewish culture and an emblem of Israel. It is also an ancient symbol of peace, light, and the Jewish faith. It appears on mosaic floors of ancient synagogues in Israel. But why do some have 7 candles and others 9? Where did the menorah even come from? Is it important to know the difference? And finally, why should you care?

Let’s start with that last question. You likely know someone who celebrates Hanukkah. They aren’t going to quiz you on this, but knowing the symbolism of their holiday will help you become closer. It may seem like a small detail, but the menorah is a crucial part of the Jewish holiday. Understanding the history of the Menorah helps you understand why there are multiple days in Hanukkah. More days to celebrate means more days to get your Hanukkah gift to them. It will also will make your gift choice easier and more meaningful.

A Menorah is a very personal Hanukkah gift

Photo by Robert Couse-Baker

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Celebrating an Employee Milestone with Chocolate Covered Strawberries

18 Nov

How do you celebrate a 4-year anniversary at work?

We think such an important employee milestone deserves a delicious corporate gift, so when the time came to celebrate our Social Media Manager’s 4th year with the company, we sent something we knew she’d love: Chocolate Covered Strawberries. Sempronia was kind enough to film the unboxing and taste the first one one camera for us. Check it out!

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Choosing Gluten Free Gifts & Foods

03 Nov

For 1 in every 100 people around the world, living without gluten isn’t a fad, it’s a necessity, which is why every season we receive more requests for gluten free gifts. Tragically, celiac disease – an autoimmune disorder – causes damage to its sufferers when they eat foods and products that contain gluten. For family members, friends, and colleagues who enjoy spoiling others with gourmet gifts for the holidays, the mystery of which gifts you can safely send to people with celiac disease can be intimidating.

Navigating this dietary restriction isn’t as difficult as it sounds, though, even for people who only have to worry about gluten free gifts for Christmas, New Year, or the occasional birthday. A lot of items are gluten free already, without having to take steps, make substitutions, or jump through hoops. Other things should always be avoided. Here’s your quick guide to shopping for gourmet foods and gifts without gluten.


Gluten Free Gifts & Foods | Fresh Fruits & Vegetables
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5 Day of the Dead Facts You Should Know

23 Oct

Day of the Dead (or Dia de los Muertos) is one Mexican and Central American festival that’s become very popular around the world. While the holiday is primarily viewed as a Mexican celebration, it is widely observed in Mexican-American communities and acknowledged internationally in many other cultures. Variations of the festival are celebrated in Ecuador, Brazil (Finados), and Belize (Day of the Skulls), where locals have a tradition of adorning the skulls of their dead relatives with fresh flowers.

But those who don’t traditionally celebrate it often don’t know much about Day of the Dead, or think it’s something like Halloween. We’re here to make sure you’ve got the basics on this holiday that’s meant to help celebrate life.

5 Day of the Dead Facts You Should Know

Image by David Boté Estrada

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10 Tips for Leftover Halloween Candy With a Cultural Twist

09 Oct

Let’s be honest, when it comes to Halloween we’re only in it for the candy and it’s never enough. Halloween may not be traditional in every part of the world, but the custom has certainly caught on. From Ireland (where Halloween originated as All Hallow’s Eve) to The United States (where the custom was brought over by the first settlers), and even to Japan! Halloween has become a global phenomenon that is famous as the one night where you have permission to dress up as your favorite fantasy character. And sure, the costumes, parties, and trick-or-treating are all fun, but at the end of the day it’s all about the Halloween loot, and there’s tons of it. That leaves families all over the world with the same situation every year: Wondering what to do with extra Halloween candy. So here’s a list of 10 smart candy-packed ideas for your leftover Halloween candy to try.

10 Tips for Leftover Halloween Candy With a Cultural Twist

Image by Karla

 

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Just Moved to the USA? Here’s How To Be A Good Neighbor

25 Sep

It’s a little known fact that September 28th is National Good Neighbor Day in the US. This day is set aside to remind us all what it is to be a good neighbor. Such a day is also a good excuse to go say hello to those people across the way you haven’t managed to introduce yourself to yet.  Maybe you’ve recently immigrated to the US from another country, and need to know: What is a good neighbor? How can you be a good neighbor? How do you deal with bad neighbors? How do you balance being a good neighbor with not being a nosy neighbor?

These are hard questions, and you aren’t alone in asking them. Maintaining a good relationship with your neighbors can be tricky, especially if you’re not familiar with their cultural norms, and your results will vary. Here are some of our tips on learning to be a better neighbor (even if you aren’t a huge fan of the guy next door).

How To Be A Good Neighbor

Image by Ron Reiring

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Your Guide to Unique Rosh Hashanah Gifts

11 Sep

Rosh Hashanah is on its way. Yes – New Year at the end of summer! Many of us don’t think much about this holiday unless your family, friends or business associates observe Jewish New Year, but it’s one of the holiest days of the year in the Hebrew calendar. So, more of your friends than you think are celebrating. Starting on September 20th this year, Rosh Hashanah is the perfect time to reflect on mistakes, and ask for forgiveness – which means it’s a great time to send an apology gift. If you’re not sure what to send, keep reading: This is your cheat sheet to the best Rosh Hashanah gifts you can send this season.

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Image by Ron Almog

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