Diwali gifts- How to give and receive gifts mindfully
It's Diwali! The time of year when you clean up your space. You discard all that you have little use for. So that you can make space for the things that you get during Diwali. Yes, yes, it would bedazzle even a superhero to see how quickly the emptied space gets filled up again and also spills over post-Diwali! If you are sighing ‘Been there, done that’ maybe it is time to look at gifting a little differently!
How to choose an appropriate gift
Keep the gift circle small and close – Unless you are thinking of business gifts, you can keep this a small circle. If you extend the circle, chances are the receiver also has to include you, and so it grows. Keep a couple of extras on hand so that you are not caught unawares, especially for kids. A small, inexpensive book or an art set is perfectly acceptable and fun gifts for such occasions.
Set a budget limit between all – You can make it mandatory that the givers in your circle do not exceed a budget that is agreed upon by all. These are tokens of love and affection and not intended to substitute for necessities. If you know that the recipient needs something that exceeds a budget, pool in with the family, for instance, if someone in the extended family could benefit from a new microwave, all cousins or siblings can pool in and get one gift rather than smaller gifts like clothes that may not find as much use.
Think of the person who is getting the gift - Not everyone enjoys clothes, nor does everyone want one more set of Diwali candles. If you are keeping the gift circle small and intimate, you can think of what the person might like. It could be as mundane as a new frying pan (heaped with dry fruits) to a person who likes to experiment in the kitchen or a plant with a book on how to tend to a garden to an avid gardener. The monetary value is not something that makes a gift special; it is the thought behind it and the fact that it suits the taste and interest of the recipient.
Give from the heart – A childhood memory framed and shared is a great gift. Think of what matters to the recipient and share pictures, a favorite home-cooked item, an older heirloom that has special significance to the person. A finely crafted childhood toy may spark smiles each time the person sees it again.
In short, make it mindful gift-giving. Make it count instead of getting some slick item from the mall that anyone can get for themselves. Mindfulness also means avoiding what may set off the wrong signals.
What not to give as gifts
Unless specifically asked for, avoid self-improvement gifts. A subscription to a gym or a book on weight loss is not a great gift for anyone. It is very judgmental and in bad taste.
Do not embarrass others by overspending. You may do it with the best intentions, but extravagant gifts may put the recipient in a difficult spot and feeling that they must gift in return. It may not fit their budget and make it awkward all around.
Re-gifting, if at all, should be thoughtful. If you must gift something you have got, make sure it suits the person you are giving it to. Passing the parcel may look fine, but may result in hurt feelings if the person who originally gifted it comes to know about it.
What are good gifting ideas?
An experience – In this day and age, gift an experience. It could be a play or a movie, a trip close by, a spa treatment, or a nature walk. Look at the interest of the person and gift them what they may enjoy. A workshop on gardening or crafting may be an experience they will never forget.
A gift of knowledge - Books suit everyone of all ages and interests. Picture and storybooks for kids, coffee table, and best sellers for adults, baking, and gardening for enthusiasts. Just ensure that you know a little bit about their reading levels and interests. An intense book may be disappointing to someone who prefers light reading.
Something appropriate - If you are giving gifts to kids, think about what they most enjoy. A board game for a child who loves active play would be disappointing. Also think about their age: often, we tend to give gifts that children can "grow into" - this, while prudent, is a very adult way of thinking. Think about the child who has just received a Diwali gift but cannot play with it right away! This is why we have curated special Diwali Gift Boxes for infants (under 1 year), babies ( 1-2 years), toddlers (2 to 3 years) and preschoolers (3-5 years) separately. Each box contains handpicked toys & games that are super-fun, skill-building, and of course, age-appropriate.
Practical and pretty – do they like scented handmade soaps? It’s a practical and pretty gift they will enjoy. Do they like gardening? Give them a small implement or a new set of tools that will be of use.
Personalized gifts – They like the laddoos you make? Find a pretty jar and fill it up, tie a ribbon and viola – they will appreciate it more than anything else you can buy.
Hobby gifts – Everyone should have a hobby so they can get away from the humdrum routine. You can start with the young ones by giving them activity boxes that encourage exploration or some toys that they can experiment with. For the adults, if they have a hobby, you can cater to that or else give them gifts that help them explore new ones. A gift of time – Offer them IOUs that give them a chance to opt for something. Babysitting for a little niece, so your siblings can go out for dinner one night without worrying. Cook something for the next party they might be having even if you are not on the guest list, so they have less to do and more to enjoy. Help with grocery shopping during a particularly busy week for them.
Charity begins at home – Gratitude is a big part of the celebration, and on occasion like Diwali, it may be a good idea to gift to a good cause so someone less privileged may have something they need too. This Diwali, we at shumee are trying to build a playroom for the 600+ children of migrant workers at Diya Ghar NGO in Bangalore. When you buy a toy or Diwali gift box from us, could you add a little something for the kids at Diya Ghar? We will 100% match your donation!
How to receive gifts?
Yes, there is a way to accept what you get, just like there is a way to gift anything. Diwali is also a teaching moment, and there is an opportunity for teaching kids about how they must accept gifts.
Be gracious – Whether or not you like the gift, be gracious, and accept it with a smile. The giver thought about you, and that is important. They may not know your taste or be able to afford what you like, but grace is not dispensable.
Be grateful – We all need those who like us and love us around us. Someone giving you a gift means they care. Be thankful for that sentiment, if not the gift itself. Say thank you and mean it, so the giver knows you are grateful.
Enjoy the moment- There are so many people in your life who care and want to show that they love you. Enjoy the moment and have fun. All your child will remember later is how much fun it was, the sound of laughter, and the feeling of joy.
Diwali is a time of gifting and getting gifts. Make sure they are thoughtful and chosen mindfully. Try and make them count in terms of the joy they bring. When you get a gift, be grateful that you are loved and cared for.
Share, care, and be safe this Diwali. Happy Diwali!!