Chinese New Year tableI work with a wonderful, creative family who celebrates the Chinese New Year. Mom, who is Chinese, traditionally sets the table using pages of a Chinese newspaper for the tablecloth. She covers the random pages with clear plastic and everyone is entertained by the letters and pictures.

This year, Mom Lisa claims she set the table just for me since I was so fascinated by it last year. She explained her traditional party for families set with the special newspaper cloth and topped with a hanging “family tree” lantern, designed by creative cousin, Eliza. The mobile is supported by chop sticks from which the cards hang, showing off the family members.

When it’s time to eat, Lisa heats up the Mongolian Hot Pot or Chinese Steamboat (much like fondue) and Chinese New Year lanternoffers a variety of meat, fish and vegetables to cook piece by piece in the special rich stock. Lisa cooked a hen for the day to prepare for her stock. Everyone can dip their choice into the broth with a special netted spoon.

Although I am not a believer in horoscopes, that is part of the fun. Lisa slips a few red Chinese Horoscopes for Lovers under the plastic tablecloth for conversation starters. I found out I am a rabbit and my little friend is a monkey. Oops, we aren’t supposed to get along–but wait a minute. We have lots of fun together.

Have a little celebration fun at home and learn something about another culture, or decorate your therapy Chinese New Year Mongolian Hot Potroom for the holiday and make a class tree to reinforce your goals.

Thanks, Lisa, for the fun!