Me, age 17, preforming YangGui Fei Zui Jiu in TianJin, China.
Basically, I'm one of the hottest consorts of Chinese history,
but I have recently lost favor with the Emperor, and am debating suicide.
LOL! So not me in real life.
So, what's an extra mom like me to do in the year of the dog?! Well, themed informational tchotchkes of course!
Ok, ok. Before I get too far, let me say something here. Since most Midwestern suburbanites like myself are totally oblivious to the Lunar New Year and it's significance, I have made it my goal to "educate" people (when appropriate) about the holiday. In years past, I have sent age appropriate books to teachers, supplied trinket type giveaways for children, and have even donned Chinese Opera garb and makeup to preform live.
Eeek - me sing? Yeah, no wonder why I don't do that anymore. Heh.
This year, since my son is actually old enough to be able to start to absorb the concept of Chinese/Lunar New Year, I decided I may as well send a few fun things to school with him.
That means, first and foremost - costuming. Because, duh, it's me.
Quite honestly, I spent a little more on these mandarin hats for the boys and dresses for the girls than I normally would. But I figured that I would ask the teachers to return the items to me at the end of the day, with the intention of re-using them again for a couple more years (before my son leaves daycare and outgrows the flexibility of being able to encourage these kinds of shenanigans on his entire class).
With costuming down, my next goal was to get a couple of toddler friendly books about the New Year that my son's teachers could read in class. To date, I've settled on these two titles:
A book about traditional celebration practices by Grace Lin
A book highlighting the animals of the zodiac by Joyce Wan
I'm not going to say these are GREAT book options, but I've yet to find anything else. And the nice thing is that these two books cover the celebrations of the new year and the animals of the zodiac, so at least there's a workable amount of information in them. But - FYI - if you have suggestions for me here ... please, I'm all ears!
In addition to sending the costumes and books to school, I printed off a few coloring sheets that I found online for free. I figure, in for a penny, in for a pound ... why not spoon feed a day's worth of themed activities to the teachers?
I also debated sending some decorations in for the classroom (IE fold out paper lanterns and the like) but ... I'm to the point that I don't want to be overbearing to the teachers, and this is already a lot, so I figured for this year I'd let this be enough and see how it goes.
Well, I should say, I'm letting the above be enough ... for IN the classroom. Heh. Because, what is a holiday celebration without a gift?!
Thanks to my nifty Amazon lists, I was able to find a set of 24 of these gift bags for $3.99:
And in the bags, there are one of two offerings.
For the kids, a zodiac animal appropriate finger puppet for 2018 - dogs that were $7 per dozen:
And for the teachers, an assortment of adult appropriate goodies - one each of a lucky red thread knot, dog ring and a chocolate zodiac gold coin from World Market that's seriously the size of my palm (so I hope it's good chocolate):
Oh! One last touch. Each of the faux silk brocade bags will be cinched shut with a tag applied outside, just for extra "informational" measure.
So there you have it. Costume and books aside (as I will use those again over the years), I spent maybe $30 on giftable items for the entire class - teachers included. Not really a major investment when trying to share a little love about a likely unknown holiday for us Midwestern folks.
And as for me ... well, I may just have found a little nod to my YangGui Fei past to wear on New Years Day as well:
I mean, I don't just shop for others on Amazon, you know!