WHEN it comes to the Lunar New Year, there are plenty of preparations that Chinese families carry out to liven up the festivities.
Many of them buy festive cookies, try out new clothes and scour shops for various festive decorations to brighten up their home.
Some even turn to feng shui to decide which decorations would bring extra luck to their family for the coming year.
The Star scouted a few shops to see the new trends in the festive decoration craze for the coming year of the horse.
Gift shop director and feng shui consultant Richard Wong said those who practise the Chinese metaphysics system would be clamouring to buy red items to decorate the south sector of their houses or offices.
“Throughout 2014, the year of the wood horse, the fortune star will be located at the south sector and its power is very strong this year since the star’s earth element complements the south sector’s fire element.
“Houses, shops or offices that face south will have even greater luck in wealth.
“Thus, practitioners should decorate the south sector with auspicious red items such as lanterns, cloths, calligraphy and mystic knots,” he said, adding that horse statues can also be displayed there.
Wong, who has been in the business for over 20 years, said different people with different zodiac signs would have differing luck and feng shui “cures”.
“For 2014, those born in the year of the earth horse are especially lucky.
“They may even have more luck in horse race betting!” he said in jest.
Gift shop supervisor Lee Tin Ting said there was an increase in the prices of almost 80% of Chinese New Year merchandise sold in her shop.
She said it was due to a hike in production cost of the products, which were mostly imported from China, and transportation fees imposed by local distributors.
“We have maintained the price of the remaining 20% of local products, which are handicraft items made by local artists,” she said.
Nonetheless, Lee opined that the product price hike would not dampen consumers’ sentiment, reasoning that patrons were willing to fork out more on goods such as food and decorative items during the festive season.
Lee said fortune cats, known as maneki-neko in Japanese, were among the popular items sold at her shop in Taman Desa Bercham.
House of Hearts gifts and souvenirs shop operator Goh Joon Keat said the sales of fortune cat ceramic figurines in his shop had doubled during the festive season compared to other months.
“I also have replenished the stock to ensure that there is sufficient supply for my customers,” he said.
Goh, whose shop is in Jalan Theatre, said customers who made the purchase would display them in houses and shops to attract good luck and fortune.
He said the price of the China-made fortune cats had increased due to higher currency exchange rate and the hike in transportation fees.
“Nonetheless, I have absorbed the additional costs instead of increasing the retail price,” he said.
Besides ceramic figurines, Goh said he also sold fortune cats mobile phone accessories and curtains, which were priced between RM13 and RM1,988.
SSF Creative Lifestyle Hub branch manager Shelley Chong said flowers like peony, which symbolised prosperity, were among items that sold best.
“Decorative kumquat (lime tree) is also an all-time favourite among customers,” she said, adding that other auspicious potted plants were popular products in the shop.
In conjunction with the Year of the Horse, she said adorable soft toy named the “lucky horse” was also introduced.
Chong said sales on Chinese New Year decorative items at SSF Creative Lifestyle Hub during the festive season were satisfactory.