HOT OR NOT: Hong baos of CNY 2016

The Year of the Monkey's best and worst hong baos 

Crabtree & Evelyn
Crabtree & Evelyn
02 Feb 2016

Crabtree & Evelyn

Crabtree & Evelyn's opulent floral design makes this envelope one of our favourites (wouldn’t it be lovely to give as a wedding hong bao as well?)

Verdict: HOT

DBS
DBS
02 Feb 2016

DBS

The children? Cute. The squirrel envelopes – uh, no, too noisy.

Verdict: LUKEWARM

Etude House
Etude House
02 Feb 2016

Etude House

True to its brand DNA, Etude House had to come out with something adorable, and their Cinderella-themed hong bao is perfect for anyone with princess-loving nieces.

Verdict: HOT 

Wheelock Place
Wheelock Place
02 Feb 2016

Wheelock Place

Look at those colours! Wheelock Place’s envelope is a work of art.

Verdict: HOT

Guardian
Guardian
02 Feb 2016

Guardian

A surprisingly “atas” design for everyone and their mother’s go-to pharmacy.

Verdict: HOT

innisfree
innisfree
02 Feb 2016

innisfree

While we’re not keen on the “Happy New Year!” font, we do enjoy the playful illustrations and minimal branding.

Verdict: HOT

Jaguar
Jaguar
02 Feb 2016

Jaguar

We’re getting some major Jungle Book vibes from this design.

Verdict: HOT

Kandie Network
Kandie Network
02 Feb 2016

Kandie Network

Oh, how whimsical. We’ll take it.

Verdict: HOT

Kipling
Kipling
02 Feb 2016

Kipling

Since Kipling can only incorporate their iconic gorilla every 12 years, you’d better believe they’d pull all the stops to produce a hot hong bao.

Verdict: HOT

Koi
Koi
02 Feb 2016

Koi

The juxtaposition of Chinese New Year and bubble tea is a little too random.

Verdict: NOT

Lexus
Lexus
02 Feb 2016

Lexus

A classy car brand deserves a classy hong bao. No surprises here.

Verdict: HOT

Gaviscon
Gaviscon
02 Feb 2016

Gaviscon

More like, you’ll need a serving of Gaviscon after gazing upon this atrociously cheap-looking envelope design.

Verdict: NOT

Itacho Sushi
Itacho Sushi
02 Feb 2016

Itacho Sushi

That's it. We've found our personal fave. Is this print available on bags/clothing/literally anything else?!

Verdict: HOT

MaxMara
MaxMara
02 Feb 2016

MaxMara

The bamboo shoots and cherry blossoms give this envelope a gentle, artistic flair.

Verdict: HOT

McDonald’s
McDonald’s
02 Feb 2016

McDonald’s

Ugh, these look like refurbished Happy Meal boxes. At least the fries are in line with the CNY colour scheme?

Verdict: NOT

Monsters of the Sea
Monsters of the Sea
02 Feb 2016

Monsters of the Sea

As much as we want to give this a NOT (The Loch Ness monster? Really?), we just know that our young nieces and nephews would be delighted to receive such a fantastical envelope.

Verdict: HOT (if you’re under the age of 12). 

Monsters of the Sea is held at Annexe Hall of the Science Centre Singapore until February 28, 2016. Tickets are priced at $20 for adults and $16 for children for Singapore citizens and PRs, and $25 and $20 respectively for all other visitors.

Lifebuoy
Lifebuoy
02 Feb 2016

Lifebuoy

Effort: 0. Or perhaps budget: minimal. 

Verdict: NOT

Nando’s
Nando’s
02 Feb 2016

Nando’s

We were fully expecting the Nando’s hong bao to be covered with chicken wings, so imagine our surprise upon seeing this understated design (with minimal branding – take notes, Koi!).

Verdict: HOT

Nespresso
Nespresso
02 Feb 2016

Nespresso

While this design was a little weird at first sight, the more we stared at it, its 3-D illustrations certainly sets it apart from the rest. 

Verdict: HOT

OCBC
OCBC
02 Feb 2016

OCBC

OCBC struck gold with their simple illustrations, which might as well have come straight out of a children’s book.

Verdict: HOT

VivoCity
VivoCity
02 Feb 2016

VivoCity

VivoCity’s elegant red envelopes, which shoppers can redeem after spending a minimum of $80 nett, are perfect for grandparents or anyone else you would want to impress. 

Verdict: HOT 

Scotts Square
Scotts Square
02 Feb 2016

Scotts Square

This sophisticated, geometric design will surely be a hit with your in-laws.

Verdict: HOT

Sheng Siong
Sheng Siong
02 Feb 2016

Sheng Siong

Not the most inventive hong bao on the list, but nothing that makes you scream, MY EYES, either. 

Verdict: LUKEWARM

Singtel
Singtel
02 Feb 2016

Singtel

Don’t be deceived by the simplicity of Singtel’s envelope – the material feels less like paper and more like fine fabric.

Verdict: HOT

UOB
UOB
02 Feb 2016

UOB

Why does this envelope look like it was designed in the worst part of the '80s? 

Verdict: NOT 

Suntec City
Suntec City
02 Feb 2016

Suntec City

Suntec’s flower design is one of the most ornate we’ve seen this year.

Verdict: HOT

Swarovski, part one
Swarovski, part one
02 Feb 2016

Swarovski, part one

We can’t quite convey the quality of this envelope in photos, but its luxe, simple design, as well as its high-quality material, ensure its longevity beyond the Chinese New Year.

Verdict: HOT

Swarovski, again
Swarovski, again
02 Feb 2016

Swarovski, again

One word: BALLER. (And while this envelope’s material isn’t as nice as the other Swarovski envelope’s, it’s made up for it with three crystal instead of one.)

Verdict: HOT

Furla
Furla
05 Feb 2016

Furla

The monkeys around our office are notorious bag-snatchers (but they don't look half as cute in real life). A+++ realism. 

Verdict: HOT

W Hotel
W Hotel
05 Feb 2016

W Hotel

We'll give the W Hotel's hong bao major points for cleverness: look at how they worked the Chinese New Year theme into their logo!

Verdict: HOT 

Related: 
Festive pieces you can still rock after CNY
Chinese New Year 2016's best reunion dinners
How to survive Chinese New Year when you're unmarried

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