Planning that perfect party can be a headache – do you invite foreigners or just Chinese? Do you spike the punch or keep all the booze back for yourself? And how do you stop your neighbor from bringing his own dumplings?
With this handy CDS downloadable, print-cut-out-and-keep guide to planning the perfect week-long Chinese New Year party, though, your troubles may be at an end – but your headache will only just be beginning!
1) It is important not to upstage your host by overdressing. Ditch the black tie. Instead, try turning up in a T-shirt you’ve been wearing all week, tracksuit bottoms and a pair of shoes stolen from a nearby bowling alley. Nothing says “I care” like “I really don’t care at all”
2) Got any famous friends? Some of China’s top foreign stars can be found at a hotel bar near you. Emma, for example, is an award-winning British anchorwoman for Xinhua TV with an audience of nearly 2.4 billion! Look out for her on Match.com
3) Every party has one, some have several – the sad, older man who claims to have been invited. But used correctly, these poorly conversant souls can provide an amusing diversion. Pair him up with an attractive woman a third his age and let the awkwardness commence!
4) Take no chances. Ensure your party is popping long past midnight by hiring a party planner – someone who knows how to get the party started. Many can be found hanging around outside pubs and alleys, making casual conversation
5) Do invite the neighbours. It doesn’t matter that they’ll stand around sheepishly chugging baijiu all night, then leave without anyone noticing. It’s the thought that counts – and there are few gestures more thoughtful than casually inviting a local stranger into one’s home
6) They say it’s not a proper party until the cops get called and in China, the cops always get called. Keep a carton of ciggies by the door, promise to keep the noise down and hope that they think that “funny smell” is just incense
7) Bum everyone out by being on constant stand-by for slips and spills, while holding a wad of kitchen roll and spray. The Chinese like to drink heavily during Spring Festival and they are not afraid to vomit to prove their point
8) Try to make sure all your guests are relaxed and mingling, but bear in mind – there will always be a slighty stooped Scandinavian man creating a conversational vortex all around with him with sad Nordic mannerisms, asking for cheese
9) Everyone knows that only choice for singletons in China is deadbeat foreign men or Chinese guys. So avoid complaints from your gal pals that there aren’t enough eligible bachelors at your parties. Mr. Pei here is 44, divorced, and has a job managing some sort of factory; he says he’s extremely annoyed about Western media bias. All yours, girls!
10) We trust them with our lives and our property… so this year, give something back. Invite your hard-working security guards to enjoy a New Year toast. Then gently remind them that the concierge desk is currently unmanned, should anyone attempt a home invasion
11) Although it is an ancient tradition, letting off fireworks indoors is now considered an unhygienic practice. Instead, Chinese experts suggest you give all fireworks to the children to enjoy – safely – outside
12) There was a time when a young lady was expected to sit demurely, sipping from a cup of tea, while listening to the conversation of the menfolk. But thanks to feminism, it is now entirely acceptable for fun-loving gals to drink as much as they want, vomit where they please, and display underwear to passing strangers. In the march of progress, China is no exception
13) Ensure guests share all photographs with the group – and the world – by uploading pictures onto WeChat, the social-networking app that lets you share pictures of yourself, your food, girlfriends and yourself
14) Pets often get frightened by loud noise and activities at New Year. Keep your furry friend safe by storing them in a small closet for the duration – don’t forget to let them out before you pass out on the floor. In a worst-case scenario, a recently dead pet can make an ideal New Year’s gift for seniors