Our fast-paced lives have made the art of considerate gifting a challenge of epic proportions. In a slower time, the entire process of driving to stores to browse and chance upon interesting and unexpected things that make for great gifts was both enjoyable and immersive as an experience. Urban living, however, has taken some of the joys out of this, leaving us browsing online and wondering what would make good gifts for friends, families, colleagues, and spouses. And while the formal festive season of gifting is behind us in the year gone by, a whole new calendar of birthdays, anniversaries, and occasions like mother's and father's day lie ahead. So whether it is Valentine's, Holi or your best friend's birthday, here is your ready reckoner for gifting ideas that are thoughtful and considerate to both the receiver and the planet.

Depending on the receiver and occasion, we typically gift to individuals and families either on formal occasions or at a personal level.

While giving a gift to a family, consider possible options under the categories of Decor, Utility, and Experience. Eco-friendly objects of decor like a handwoven rug made of upcycled fabric or natural material like reed and cane make for great gifts for families that can be used in a plethora of ways. If you are thinking of gifting something utilitarian, consider handmade ceramic cups or a handspun throw for a sofa or a kitschy ottoman. A guided city walk, a picnic in a park or an organic meal experience also make for memorable experiential gifts for families and groups.

When it comes to individuals, it is helpful to build gifting around broad categories like Work, Food, Travel, Home, Hobbies and Personal gifts. Let us give you some ready reckoners and ideas on what to, or where to -

Work

From artisan made laptop bags to bamboo mouse pads and copper waterbottles, work accessories present a large gifting possibility. Personalized eco-friendly notebooks/ stationery, a woven cane photo frame for their desk or a compilation of music to play while working are all considerate workplace gifts for friends and colleagues. Choosing consciously made products that are built to last and reduce the use of plastic are a great way to gift both thoughtfully and considerately.

Food

Home bakers and individual-run patisseries can help you gift something that is both personal and a custom made. Something as simple as a batch of muffins or freshly baked oatmeal cookies (for the health-conscious) are gifts that have an almost universal appeal. Taking people fruits while visiting them has always been a common unspoken Indian ritual and even today, a box of organic mangoes or produce from a local farmer's market still makes for an uncommon gift.

Travel

Given that most people travel in some form or the other, there are a whole range of travel-friendly gifts to consider. Books based on destinations they are traveling to, a hand-knit or woven scarf or stole for chilly airport lounges, oversize tote bags made of upcycled plastic, jewelry and trinket pouches made by organizations that work with or support NGOs. Gifting your loved one a quick getaway to a wildlife retreat is an alternative way of showing your love. Or if they lean towards an active, wellness led lifestyle, what about a yoga-based holiday? Something for the heart and the soul.

Home

From handcrafted windchimes to a wooden newspaper stand or a potted plant, people who love and tend to their homes with imagination and care are easy to gift. Artisanal fairs like Renegade Craft Fair are great places to hunt for gifts for them that add great value and bring joy. 

 

Hobbies

Gifting something that contributes to a hobby or a specific area of interest is a great way to say you notice and you care. Something as simple as a great pair of knitting needles or handspun wool or yarn for someone who loves tactile activities likes knitting or crocheting is an unusually thoughtful gift. A book on the subject, a subscription to a magazine that talks about it or even a compilation of audio and video guides on the subject are gifts likely to be appreciated.

Personal gifts

While most of us have gifted an article of clothing or a perfume at some point of time, in making more aware and sustainable choices in this area, we can introduce people to the idea of doing the same. Found a perfume that's made by a local perfumery? Gift someone a sampler. Handmade soaps, organic skincare, bath salts, massage oils are all examples of sustainable gifting that we adopt while looking for personalized gifts. 

Something quirky ?-

Natural, distinctive, and something different perhaps.

So, what are you waiting for? Valentine's is just around the corner and holds out the possibility of gifting everyone who touches your life and you love. And if there is a chance that you will be gifting in person, take 5 minutes out of your day to wrap the gift with anything from newspaper to reused gift wrapping, tie it with a twine and add a handwritten note. Because no matter how fast-paced our lives, gifting should still be an act that slows us down to savor the sheer joy of giving.

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