In a country of over a billion people, it’s no secret that India loves to celebrate - and across all ages, communities and religions, there’s no shortage of festivities to enjoy. With that comes the inevitable barrage of gift giving and receiving, so much so that the glittering packages moving through your home often start to blur together. With a huge chunk of those festivals falling within the next six months, here are some tips and tricks to make your gestures stand out from the crowd.
Be useful. People will end up with items they simply have no use for, and the response to this is pretty standard: regifting. Totally reliable, not-made-up studies show that nearly half of all holiday hampers are unwrapped, eye-rolled at, rewrapped, and passed on to the next unsuspecting victim. Avoid your gifts being side lined by getting people things they can actually use. Elegant coasters and trivets are always handy, or diversify into items like passport cases. If your friends are anything like us and enjoy baking, even experiment with tools like kitchen scales, bright spatulas and mixing bowls!
Attend exhibitions.The best way to make a change is to get out there and see what’s on offer. Small-scale entrepreneurs are coming up with beautiful, unique products, but don’t always have storefronts to display them. Enter the Exhibitions: a slew of events with scores of cool companies and products to choose from. Explore the city and you’re bound to find something offbeat, and this is the best time to do it. From larger corporate gifting arenas like Giftex to smaller, curated trunk shows, you're bound to find one near you at any given point.
Stand out from the crowd and create your own hampers. We love sweets as much as the next person, but the world does not begin and end with kajukatli (though what a world that would be!). The festival season is not great for either your arteries or your waistline; save your friends a few calories while introducing them to homegrown products that are both delicious and realistic to consume frequently. Obviously, some Gouri’s Goodies are a no-brainer: energy bars, minis, granola, happy ladoos - we’ve got it all! Some of our other favourites: Mo’s Kefir, Blue Tokai Coffee Roasters and The Butternut Co. Alternatively, gift sweetly wrapped parcels of spices like cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves - they’re a welcome break from the usual pedas, last for years, and everyone uses them. If you have your own specialty - maybe you make a cracking mulgapodi or pickles that your friends fawn over - bottle up little jars of those and send them off. Mix it up and put together a few of these tokens, all wrapped up in a beautiful bowl or tray. What’s great about this is that you can customize it to however small or large you’d like, depending on your budget (or level of interest).
Pack smartly. Nothing is more annoying than to be left standing in a sea of wrapping paper, ribbons and unusable cellophane. If you’re handing out hampers, try to ensure that the boxes or packaging they come in can be reused or recycled - your friends will thank you. If that’s not possible, might we suggest local waste-management services to make things even more convenient?
- If none of the above suit your style, try this on for size. Plants make great gifts and are a sure shot way to brighten up any home (so long as the recipient doesn’t kill it within the day). Herbs are another good option, and there’s really nothing like having some freshly plucked mint or basil on hand in your kitchen. And if you’re really done with gifting, consider sponsoring a tree planting instead! Send your friends and family a handwritten note saying that the money you would have otherwise spent on gifting has now been diverted to more eco-friendly initiatives that in the long run, are really the best gift of all. Check out The Pink Tree Project for more!