Red Envelopes or Licee

As part of Chinese New Year tradition, children receive special attention - new clothes, and new shoes. They also receive gifts of money in red paper envelopes called licee. Parents distribute them on New Year's Eve when children put the licee under their pillows for good luck.

Licee are also given on other happy celebrations and occasions. For example, there are special envelopes for weddings, birthdays, and bon voyage gifts. The red envelopes with their gold designs symbolize happiness and wealth.

In this activity, each student constructs a licee and decorates it with a Chinese symbol of an ancient coin or of tangerines. Instead of filling the envelope with money, they write a message describing a special job they will do at home and insert the note into the licee as a gift for their parent(s).

One red paper with the printed pattern outlines per student (Students can color envelope red if pattern is printed on white paper)
Small pieces of gold or yellow paper for design.
Small strips of yellow paper for writing messages to fit inside the licee.

The ancient coin design
symbolizes wealth.
Tangerines symbolize
abundant happiness.


1. Use pattern to cut out the red envelope along solid lines.
2. Fold on the dotted lines and glue where indicated.
3. Trace ancient coin or tangerine design on a small piece of gold paper.
4. Cut and glue design to the front of the red envelope.
5. Write a message describing the job that you will do as a gift for your parent(s).
6. Insert the message into the red envelope.

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