Updated: December 11, 2023

17 Chinese New Year Ideas, Games & Activities for the Office

Here is our list of the best Chinese New Year ideas for work.

Chinese New Year ideas are activities, exercises, and games that employees can engage in at the office during the Chinese New Year Celebration. Examples include Chinese costume competitions, Chinese holiday decorating contests, and Chinese Poker. The purpose of these exercises is to celebrate the Chinese New Year while encouraging employee engagement and interaction.

These events are examples of team celebrations, culture-building activities, and diversity activities, and are in-person versions of virtual Chinese New Year ideas.


This list includes:

  • Chinese New Year activities for work
  • Chinese New Year office games
  • Chinese New Year work event ideas
  • Chinese New Year team building activities
  • Lunar New Year games

Here we go!

List of Chinese New Year Ideas

Here is a list of Chinese New Year games, activities, and ideas employees can engage in at the office.

1. Chinese New Year Decorating Contest

The Chinese New Year is a very colorful holiday celebrated by putting up decorations such as bright red lanterns, flowers, and placemats. Employees can turn these traditions into a contest, with each department decorating a wing of the office. The company can then award a prize to encourage employees to do their best.

Launching the contest at least a week before the holiday gives employees enough time to decorate each department as best as possible, following a Chinese New Year theme. Then, on the day of the celebration, the employees can take a vote, and the decoration with the most votes wins the competition.

2. Chinese Costume Competition

Chinese New Year signals a new cycle in the lunar calendar. The Chinese believe red chases away evil spirits and brings riches to wearers during the celebration. Therefore, employees can wear their best red outfits to mark this occasion.

With every employee dressed their best, a costume competition is ideal. To play, every office department chooses a single representative to enter the contest. Representatives will compete against each other, and the best dressed will win the competition.

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3. Chinese Poker

Chinese poker, or Dou Dizhu, is a popular Chinese card game. Employees can play it in groups of three or more using standard poker decks. Chinese poker is also one of the easiest Chinese New Year team building activities. The game is a breeze if players already know how to play standard poker games.

To play:

  1. The employees will choose a dealer to handle the cards.
  2. The dealer will then separate the employees into groups of three or more.
  3. The players agree on predetermined score points called “units.”
  4. The dealer will track the scores using a pen and paper and tally points at the end of the game.
  5. Each player gets 13 poker starting cards, and they are to divide their cards into one three-card hand and two five-card hands.
  6. Players then try to make the best-ranked hands compared to opponents.
  7. The players will then place their cards face down.
  8. The player will ensure that the strongest hand (five-card hand) is in front of them while the weakest hand with the weakest hand (three-card hand) placed farther away.
  9. Starting from the left of the dealer, the dealer will ask the players if they will play their hand or “surrender.”
  10. Players then turn their cards up, and players with the highest hands will earn points.
  11. After that hand ends, the dealer reshuffles the card and deals another round.
  12. This continues for several hands, and the person with the highest accumulated point wins.

Chinese poker is a beginner-friendly game, but if employees need help understanding the game, then they can sit and watch other teammates play until they learn the ropes.

4. Bai Nian

The Bai Nian is a Chinese New Year tradition where folks greet their elders and offer a pair of oranges and good wishes. The employees get red packets containing “lucky money” in return. Employees can turn Bai Nian into one of many Chinese New Year work event ideas. To carry out this activity in an office, employees can bai nian to their seniors or bosses. The employees do not have to get anything in return, but the gesture alone can bring good fortune.

Employees can also turn this activity into a gift exchange program which may help foster genuine friendships and relationships in the office.

5. Organize a Chinese New Year Buffet

Chinese New Year festivities are a perfect opportunity to enjoy home-cooked meals and snacks in the office. The company can organize this activity, or the employees can bring any home-cooked meal to the office during the Chinese New Year.

You can set up the buffet on a long table in a decorated room. In addition, employees can order Chinese food from local traditional restaurants to support the Chinese community.

6. Office Spring Cleaning

The Chinese New Year symbolizes a fresh start, and cleaning the office is one of the best ways to clear the cluster. The office spring cleaning is a hands-on activity and will need the involvement of every employee.

For this activity, the employees can group themselves into teams of two or three. Each team is responsible for decluttering and cleaning a part of the office.  The employees should discard old files no longer in use, empty pens, and rusted staplers. The teams should also sort files and put them in an orderly manner. This activity will give the office a refreshing new look and set the pace for a smoother experience for employees. The office spring cleaning also allows employees to work together and engage.

7. The Yusheng Prosperity Toss

Yusheng is a raw-fish dish consumed during the Chinese New Year celebrations in Malaysia and Singapore. Asian countries make this delicacy with shredded vegetables, strips of raw fish, and various spices and sauces. Folks believe that the Yusheng represents good luck, wealth, and wealth.

To perform the prosperity toss, all employees must stand around the large salad bowl with a pair of chopsticks. Then employees must toss the salad as high as possible with their chopsticks while saying several auspicious wishes. Celebrants believe that higher tosses increase the chances of the wishes coming true. After the toss, the employees can then eat the remains.

The Yusheng Prosperity Toss can get quite messy, so the employees can wrap the table in a plastic sheet or some newspapers to ensure that food particles do not scatter across the floor. Once the prosperity toss finishes, the employees can simply wrap up the newspapers or plastic sheets to remove the mess.

8. Send Out Greeting Cards

Greeting cards are a kind and thoughtful gesture that companies can use to send well wishes to employees during the Chinese New Year. Instead of sending a general message, it is best if the company customizes each greeting card per employee. Sending out greeting cards is a great way to let your employees know that they are in your thoughts and you wish them well in the new lunar year.

You can customize these greeting cards to match the theme of the Chinese New Year by using each employee’s Chinese name instead of having your employees’ Chinese Zodiac animal painted on the greeting cards before you send them.

9. Host a Firework Show

Firework shows are beautiful and exciting Chinese New Year activities for work. The company can schedule the event for the eve of the Chinese New Year’s Celebration and set the fireworks off at midnight. The company may also offer refreshments and snacks after the fireworks have gone off.

The employees may also light some sparklers together after dark, get some glow sticks or shoot some colorful confetti up into the sky with a confetti cannon. These ideas are more budget-friendly than the grand firework and are safer substitutes.

10. Play Chinese New Year Trivia

Chinese New Year trivia is an example of fun Chinese New Year office games that employees can play during the celebrations. This activity helps to educate employees about Chinese culture and gives them insight into the Chinese New Year Traditions.

To play:

  1. The employees must choose a moderator a few days before the Chinese New Year Celebrations.
  2. The Moderator will choose a set of questions following this Chinese New Year quiz sample.
  3. At the Chinese New Year Celebration, the employees will group themselves into teams of two or three.
  4. The moderator will ask the trivia questions, and the team members will answer in turns.
  5. Each team has 30 seconds to answer. If a team fails to respond within the allotted time, the next team can steal and get the points.
  6. Each team will get three points for each correct answer.
  7. At the end of the game, the moderator will sum up the points, and the team with the highest point wins.

You can encourage employees to research the Chinese New Year celebration, Chinese culture, and traditions so that they can answer questions correctly during the trivia.

Check out more trivia games for adults.

11. Throw a Chinese New Year’s Party

Chinese New Year’s party is a Chinese New Year work event idea that employees can use to have fun, engage and get to know each other.

The company can host this event or prompt employees to plan and organize it, allowing coworkers to work in teams and build good work relationships.

For the party:

  1. The employees will decorate a large hall with red lanterns, flowers, and paper cuttings.
  2. Employees should create a playlist filled with traditional Chinese music for the celebrations. Songs from artists such as Lang Lang, Yo Yo Ma, and Yundi Li are a great place to start.
  3. The employees can then organize a wheel of fortune with small gifts that other teammates can win, such as orange lollipops for good luck.
  4. The employees should also order traditional Chinese foods such as spring rolls, egg rolls, dumplings, and lucky fruits like oranges and tangerines, which symbolize good fortune and luck.
  5. The employees can also arrange for Chinese chefs to create a casual but traditional noodle bar where Chinese delicacies are served.

Employees can also make this event more memorable by organizing a Karaoke and encouraging other teammates to participate.

Check out more office party ideas.

12. Face Paint for the Chinese New Year’s Animal

An animal represents every Chinese New Year. The company can hire a face painting artist to paint the animal on each employee. Employees may choose to have the painting on their arms, legs, or faces in different colors or styles.

Painting the Chinese New Year’s animal is a fun and a great way for employees to have a good time. However, employees can also research the current year’s animal and what it means before getting it painted. This step ensures that employees know what these animals symbolize and that they are only associated with good fortune and blessings.

 13. Organize a Chinese New Year’s Art & Craft Event

The Chinese are well known for their beautiful paper cuttings, embroidery, carvings, and paintings. Employees can use this event to showcase their talents and learn more about Chinese art.

For the event:

  1. Each employee will get a pencil, scissors, thread, paper, cloth, and paint.
  2. Employees will get one hour to create anything from the materials provided.
  3. Employees may also group themselves into teams of two or three to make the event more competitive.
  4. Each employee or team will showcase their craft at the end of the allotted time.
  5. A judge will vote for the best craft, and the top three employees or teams will get a prize.

The best crafts can decorate the office space for Chinese New Year celebrations.

Here is a list of online art classes for inspiration.

14. Host a Chinese New Year Sip and Paint Event

Painting is a calming and relaxing activity that employees may enjoy during the Chinese New Year’s celebration.

For this event, employees will need to set up a free space with drawing boards and stools for all the teammates. The employees will ensure that each station has the necessary drawing equipment, such as pencils, charcoal, brushes, watercolors, drawing papers, and paint. The employees will then create a New-year themed art with any materials provided. For example, the paintings could be of Chinese symbols, decorations, art, and cultural and historical artifacts centered around the Chinese New Year. The employees can get a glass of wine to enliven the event as they paint. Note that this is not a competition, and as such, there is no pressure to outdo anyone. Employees should simply relax, enjoy and draw what comes to mind.

Here is a list of virtual paint and sip night companies.

15. Organize a Movie Day

A movie day is a chance for employees to reflect, learn and enjoy movies centered around Chinese culture. For example, Mulan, The Last Emperor, and Hero are great Chinese movie ideas.

The employees will need a projector and a large hall to project the movie for this event. It is also important to ensure that the hall has enough seats to accommodate the audience. Before the film begins, the employees can get some spring rolls, peanuts, and sweets as refreshments.

16. Create Name Tags With Chinese Names

Creating name tags is a fun way for employees to enjoy the office’s Chinese New Year’s Celebration. For this activity, employees will need to research the Chinese versions of their names. Team members will then print these Chinese names on name tags to wear to the office.

Employees will have their colleagues address them by their Chinese names throughout the Chinese New Year’s celebration. This activity will be fun as employees attempt to remember the correct pronunciation for each of their names. In addition, creating name tags is a great way to familiarize your employees with Chinese words and improve employee relationships.

17. Perform a Chinese New Year’s Dragon Dance

The dragon is a symbol of China’s culture and traditions. The Chinese dragon dance is believed to be a symbol of good fortune. The Chinese believe that the more celebrants dance, the more good luck they get.

The dragon dance is performed using a fabric dragon thrust high up in the air by dancers using poles. Employees can get the fabric dragon from a local Chinese market and perform this dance during the Chinese New Year’s Celebration. If the employees find this activity hard, they can hire performers to teach them and even participate in the dance.

Employees can also have fun creating their very own dragon at the office. The employees will need to work as a team, using materials such as cardboard, paint, glue, fabric, and glitter.


Chinese New Year celebrations are a fun way for employees to bond and learn at the office. These gatherings help officemates enjoy the celebrations, learn about Chinese culture and traditions, and also engage and interact with each other.

The Chinese New Year celebration is a great way of building employee relationships and helps ease work-related stress. Games and events such as the Chinese New Year Trivia, the Chinese New Year’s Celebration party, and the Chinese New Year Costume Party will encourage employees to work well together and develop better relationships.

Read about Valentine’s Day ideas for the office and more ways to have fun at work.

FAQ: Chinese New Year ideas

Here are answers to some common questions about Chinese New Year ideas.

What is Chinese New Year?

The Chinese New Year is an annual 15-day celebration in China and all Chinese communities worldwide. The holiday is also called the spring festival because it signals the onset of spring. The Chinese  New Year is the biggest celebration in Chinese culture and is celebrated sometime between the 21st of January and the 20th of February every year.

What are some good Chinese New Year ideas for the workplace?

Some good Chinese New Year ideas for the workplace include a  Firework Show, Chinese New Year trivia, and the Yu Sheng prosperity toss.

How do you celebrate the Chinese New Year at work?

Employees can celebrate the Chinese New Year at work by hosting different events, games, and parties. These activities can include events such as the Yu Sheng prosperity toss, Chinese poker, and the Chinese costume competition.

These activities help employees learn about Chinese customs and traditions, relieve stress, and encourage healthy work relationships.

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People & Culture Director at teambuilding.com.
Grace is the Director of People & Culture at TeamBuilding. She studied Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University, Information Science at East China Normal University and earned an MBA at Washington State University.

LinkedIn Grace He

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