The Creative Side of Chinese New Year with Apple

We’ve all heard that saying “you learn something new every day.” In our culture, we have a philosophy of always being students in life. We’re constantly discovering at every age and sometimes our learning takes us by surprise.

This past week I decided to join in an Apple Creative Workshop.  Many of us already know that when you’re a customer of this brand you also have access to the many hands-on free workshops offered. There are many topics to choose from including iPhone Photography, Apple Watch Basics, Creating Great-Looking Documents withe Pages, Editing Movies on Mac and more.  When I had learned there were special one-hour workshops for Chinese New Year to create special greetings, I thought it would be fun to check out.

In an intimate setting I joined in with 7 others who had pre-registered for the morning in-store. most of the participants were older but I didn’t mind. At this morning time-slot I would imagine that this is the crowd they would attract anyway.

Each person, fresh and eager, came with their own iPads and laptops…except for me. But if you didn’t bring one, Apple provides each person with an iPad to use during the workshop. We were greeted by Vicky who was ready to lead the group.


Vicky asked if anyone spoke cantonese or mandarin. I assumed those were the two dialects she could converse with. To my surprise most of them spoke both…plus a couple of them also spoke Hakka. Okay, put me to shame already and they can spot the “jook sing” now. They accepted me into their creative circle anyway.

Vicky mostly lead the workshop in English and responded back in Cantonese if anyone started conversing in the dialect which happened a few times. All I could think about was how great this would be for my parents who sometimes say they don’t understand how quickly things change in technology and how they could ask for help. I also thought how much of our culture values and respects our older generation.

The CNY themed workshop that day was to make personalized greetings. The group had a choice of creating a quick iMovie greeting or an illustrated one. One older lady perked up and said “Oh, we did iMovies last week, so let’s do illustrations.”

Okay! WOW!

On that note, we started working on our illustrations using iPads and a creative app called FiftyThree. Here our instructor explained how to navigate the tools to create something special. Sitting around a table we each had a device to use and everyone got busy with about a half hour to create our illustrations. Vicky handed out a Pencil stylus – a great tool created by FiftyThree that works well and responds to the app. I had fun playing with the stylus as it’s ability to respond to pressure (hello calligraphy lovers!) and ability to blend, smudge and erase for creative needs.


When we had completed our projects, Vicky uploaded into our little workshop gallery so we could all see what we made. Then each were given a special Chinese New Year USB to download our creations to take home and share with our friends and family.

As it was time to wrap up, the participants eagerly asked when the next workshop was going to be held. One pulled out her iPad again and checked immediately online and registered on the spot and others followed suit. It was so sweet and inspiring to see how interested they were in learning more.

“Vicky you are so good to us,” said one lady. She turned to me and continued, “you know, she’s so patient and so is everyone here. They are so helpful.”

I nodded in agreement and asked if she had taken any other workshops.

With a big smile she responded, “I’ve been coming to Apple for six years now. They are so helpful when I have questions and I like to come to these classes. I can even make an iMovie but I want to learn more because you know, these iPads can do more than just reading email and play games? I can impress my grandchildren now.”



Sonya is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of She is also a well-established contributing lifestyle writer to other sites and magazines sharing her passion for arts & culture, fashion, beauty, travel and food. Sonya is based in Toronto, Canada. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @theculturepearl

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