From hurricanes that battered the Gulf Coast region to the earthquake that rocked South Asia, the damage inflicted by Mother Nature has made the past few months extremely trying for many people. With the holidays on the horizon—be it Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanza, or Ramadan—we can only hope that a new year will bring more good luck than bad for everyone. Wish someone you care about the very best with one of our many charms known in Asian cultures for fostering fortune.
In these wallet-tightening times, take advantage of our many low-budget choices. The items singled out in our guide are divided by price range. From inexpensive stocking stuffers to more sophisticated gems, there’s something for all your shopping needs.
Your shopping list keeps inflating as you think of extra people to buy gifts for like your boss, co-workers, or that aunt who rarely visits. Let us save you that fifth trip to the mall. For under $10, you can buy more than one good luck charm to give as a meaningful present or stocking surprise. They say good things come in small packages.
For those worried about evil spirits, get them reassurance in the form of incense. Rooted in Buddhism, these sticks, made from aromatic gums, are thought to purify the air when burned. In feudal times, both the rich and poor could afford them. Among the many scents we offer in our incense section— pine, jasmine, rose, and amber. Incense also facilitates mediation which is helpful during moments of stress. For under $3, you can get a box of 50 sticks. Furthermore, our affordable incense burners, made from either ceramics or Korean celadon, make ideal complementing gifts.
Whether shopping for an elderly relative or a friend fascinated by Asian cuisine, you can pleasantly surprise them with a well-crafted pair of chopsticks that also sends a thoughtful message. We have slender and smooth chopsticks that are adorned with the Chinese character for longevity in a shiny gold hue. Pick from red or white. In keeping with the optimism theme, you can throw in a black pair of embossed with the Chinese word for fortune in gold. They are only sold by individual pairs.
If you plan to buy one pair of chopsticks, it is only natural to match it with a chopstick rest. Chopstick rests make charming and handy tokens of affection for people who enjoy hosting dinner parties. You can articulate good luck blessings with our Welcome Cat Chopstick Rest. Available in both black and white, each rest is shaped like Japan’s notorious Maneki Neko cat. More iconic than Hello Kitty, the calico kitty’s ever-raised left paw is thought to bring in good business, while the right paw supposedly summons financial rewards. We also have rests inscribed with Asian characters representing long life—something everyone wants. For just a few more dollars, you can get a five-pair set of Maneki Neko chopsticks made with wood or bamboo.
Giving a present that is based on their date of birth always shows careful thought on the part of the giver. Demonstrate the fun of Chinese astrology by giving someone one of our Chinese zodiac charms in our specialty gifts section. A festive red cord threads a jade image of the zodiac animal, as well as three traditional Chinese coins. These dangling charms are said to bring good luck. They are perfect for a keychain or a rearview mirror decoration. Our product descriptions offer brief explanations about the significance and qualities associated with each zodiac creature.
A girl can never have too many accessories. If you want to lift the spirits of a fashion-conscious friend, check out our versatile pewter jewelry. Each silver-colored pendant is shaped perfectly like a Chinese character. You will find a necklace that stands for prosperity, success, fortune, love, peace, and other goodwill thoughts. Tied to black string, every pendant arrives ready-to-wear. The neutral color tones mean they match with just about any outfit. And the recipient will feel a little better carrying a positive message around.
Sometimes, a kind note is enough. Try our Prosperity Paper Cutting Card set . Five handmade cards exhibit the Chinese word for prosperity caught in a colorful whirlwind of peacock feathers and blossoming flowers. These ivory cards are bound by amber-colored frames and come with matching envelopes. They make a lovely forum to say “season’s greetings” and “best of luck.”
In Japan, the New Year typically brings gifts of Daruma dolls as symbols of good luck. According to legend, Daruma was born when the Indian Buddhist monk, Bodhidharma, spent nine years meditating in a cave. In the process, his arms and legs withered away—which explains why most Daruma figures are constructed without limbs. The beliefs in Daruma permeated into Japanese and Chinese culture. Our papier-mâché Daruma dolls make excellent holiday presents for people starting new businesses or ventures. They are available in different dimensions and colors. They also bear different characters for words like fortune, luck, and prosperity. Anyone on the receiving end of this gift will enjoy the cultural significance and the satisfaction of customarily painting on eyes when their wishes finally come true.
Similar in purpose to the Daruma, our Maneki Neko dolls also make attractive and sentimental gifts. We have them in white, red, black, and pink. For less than $20, you can get a feline figurine for as tall as seven inches. People can put them on their desk, night stand, or by the door and hope for the best. The bright-colored dolls will surely captivate children.
Chances are that you know people who are carefully watching what they spend. Well, start them off on the right foot with a coin bank. Our Lucky Doggy Coin Bank expresses wishes for success and comes in white and gold. On his belly are the characters for good luck and fortune. This is also a timely gift as the next Lunar New Year is the year of the dog. This bank makes a great Christmas money-holder for children.
Stonesoap chops are an elegant way to send someone positive thoughts. Carved in China’s Fu Jian Province, each stone stamp has been etched with a Chinese character. Some of the words immortalized as chops include fortune, love, and double happiness. Stamp greeting cards, letters, or any stationery to pass along optimism. In addition, every set already comes with a red ink pad and wooden stand. Packaged in a red, silk-lined box, the whole thing is practically almost gift-wrapped.
Our line of lucky dishware is also teeming with gift possibilities. Bring good things to the table in the form of our Fortune, Prosperity, and Longevity tableware set. These sleek, black rice bowls are made from stone. Each one sports a Chinese character in white strokes signifying one of these values. Wooden chopsticks come with the four-bowl set. Being black and white, the rice bowls go with just about any tableware.
Another luminous dish that extols wishes for success is our seven-inch Lime Crackle Stone Bowl. Buffed with a lime-green, crackle glaze and made from genuine stone, this serving bowl’s interior has been etched with the Chinese characters for fortune, prosperity, longevity, and happiness. The symbols are neatly and symmetrically placed. To spice it up as a gift, stuff the bowl with a favorite Asian snack or tea canisters like those available in our grocery section.
The prosperity-fortune-longevity threesome also makes appearances on our sake ware. Several of our sets have the Chinese character for at least one of these virtues etched on either the ceramic sake jug or cups. All our jugs and accompanying cups have a smooth or matte finish. The serving jugs are uniquely curved and, apart from serving sake, make superb table and kitchen decorations. If you desire a sake set that encompasses all these values simultaneously, look at our Four-Character Sake Set. Slightly costlier than $20, this polished, purple set has each quality inscribed in Chinese on each side of the matching bottle. And there’s no better occasion than the holidays or the New Year to toast fortune and success. In the spirit of wooing luck, also consider our Lucky Cat Sake Set. If you can spare another dollar, look at our Gold Maneki Neko Black Sake Set.
If you’re looking to take a walk on the extravagant side, one of our classier table runners just may do the trick. Dripping in burgundy and dark brown, our Chrysanthemum Longevity Table Cloth will dress up the plainest table. The Chinese symbol for long-life and blooming ivory chrysanthemums subtly pepper the middle. Royal purple tassels dangle from both ends, giving the cloth a regal touch. No dinner party host would hesitate to unfurl this table cloth.
Some of our elegant tea sets beautifully reflect themes of hope and optimism. Choose from a deep purple or cinnamon color for our Fortunes Tea Set. In both assortments, the Chinese words for fortune and longevity grace the teapots and their matching cups. For full functionality, the teapots have built-in infusers. If you want something with a little more subtle color, consider our Fortune, Prosperity & Happiness Tea Set. This special earthenware tea set has been hand-glazed and fired. The Chinese symbols for fortune, prosperity, and happiness are depicted in black calligraphy. Any of these sets would be a well-received surprise under a layer of wrapping paper.
Anyone will feel golden when they get their hands on one of our most elaborate pieces of Yixing tea ware. A decorative and functional gem, our Treasure Chest Yixing Teapot is made from clay. But few could guess that from the incredible craftsmanship of the wood-colored exterior and attached gold emblems. Like a real chest, the lid has a rectangular shape and a handle emblazoned with the Chinese word for fortune. What makes Yixing teapots a special treasure is how the unglazed clay surface absorbs flavor with each brew.
Hopefully, Mrs. Lin can help you check off at least a few people from your list and stress less. But remember, as the news of the past few months has reminded us, it’s the thought that counts.
OUR 2005 NEWSLETTERS
Fortune Cookies: The Real San Fransisco Treat
Full Of Fortune
All About Sushi (part II)
Secret Lives Of Geisha
Specialty Japanese Cookware
Rice The Golden Grain
Summer Wedding Gift Guide
Washi Paper Production and Uses
Symbols of Happiness and Longevity in Asian Culture
Bamboo – A Versatile Plant
Symbolism in Asian Motifs and Patterns