Embrace the special moments, celebrate the joy of giving – Return Gift Ideas
A gift is pure when it is given from the heart to the right person at the right time and at the right place, and when we expect nothing in return – Bhagavad Gita
How does one return kindness? Show gratitude for the time spent on a special occasion? Show you care? Thank someone for beautiful memories on a special day? The ‘truth’ is none of these can be repaid or returned however the most customary manifestation of thoughtfulness has been in the form of ‘gifts’. Particularly, ‘return gifts’ are symbols of gratitude, courtesy and thankfulness. After all, their presence has made your occasion special and it is through our return gift that we stand a chance to thank them. However choosing return gifts according to occasions is no-mean task. Here we compile some pointers, occasion-wise, to facilitate the task of choosing the appropriate ‘return-gift’.
Wedding return gift ideas
The most frequented occasion for most of us are weddings. Recession or demonetization – wedding halls are somehow never empty. After all, not every day does a couple embark on the sacred journey of marriage.
If you are planning a wedding and have a generous budget, go for gold/silver-plated return gifts. For long, metals have been revered for their spiritual properties and symbolize auspiciousness. Silver, in particular is known for restoring equilibrium and is purifying in nature. There are plenty of options available online – small haldi-kumkum trays, mukhwas sets or even decorative jewellery boxes – each of these symbolize an auspicious beginning of a newly-wedded life and make for ideal return gifts along with tamboolam. In South India, the concept of ‘Tamboolam or Tamboola’ in traditional ceremonies is a mandatory ritual involving the offering of betel leaves, nuts, coconut and more recently, includes small gifts to a guest as a symbol of thanksgiving, in return for their blessings.
If you are on a moderate budget, german-silver return gifts are ideal – they look great, fit your pocket and what’s more-they don’t rust too!
Special tip: Whether you go for sleek silver-plated Radha-Krishna idols symbolizing the divine couple or Ganesha idols to symbolize manifestation of new beginnings, nothing can of course replace the receiver’s blessings to the newly-weds !
Housewarming return gifts
Apartment or villa – ‘There’s no place like home..And nothing like owning one’ – i’m sure we all agree to this. Thanking someone for joining you in celebrating a new address can be fun. If you wish to go the traditional way, small metal-based pooja-thali sets, bowls, trays offer ideal choices.Wish to keep it contemporary? Plenty of options to choose from – metal-plated key-stands, silver-plated coins (laxmijiganeshji) to mini kyaras and kankavatis.
Special tip: Thinking of a unique gift? Gift them greenery – let’s say Organic seeds or self-watering garden-jars. Just remember – sharing the joys of building a ‘new nest’ with your near and dear is joyous and unparalleled. Enliven these moments!!!
Birthday parties return gifts
As much as the concept of birthday parties has evolved, with theme-based parties, Mcdonald parties setting pace for new-age birthday celebrations, it’s the ‘take-away loot bags’ which kids get most excited about. Although DIY art and craft kits are slowly replacing stationery and school essentials as return gifts, why not gift kids something they could nurture and treasure with time – like organic seeds or saplings which they could grow-up with or self-designable name placards or boards they create and hang outside their rooms? Erasable child-friendly wall decals on which kids could write on and cartoon-themed fridge magnets also make for great return gifts. This year – think out-of-the box and let kids take home unique goodies apart from great memories.
NavratriGolu/ Bombe Habba /Kanchika return gifts
South India’s NavratriGolu or Bombe Habba, which literally means Doll Festival ,a 9-day fest wherein homes are decorated with clay idols of gods and goddesses and women and children are invited and offered prasad and tamboolam. Similarly North India’s Kanchikapujan involves offering Prasad to young girls. In contemporary times, it has become customary to offer tamboolam/Kanchika with gifts.
To go with the tradition, gold/silver/german-silver plated Hanuman chalisa/Om, haldi-kumkumboxes,diyas or small pooja plates are ideal choices however if you wish to add a contemporary twist, go for pocket-friendly potli / string bags or saree covers.
Handicrafts return gift ideas
Not just for the grounded and aesthetic, handicraft return gifts are high on elegance and always in vogue. Handcrafted jewel boxes, ornamental spindles or small decorated terracotta pots – these are terrific return gifts which can be matched with any occasion.
Eco friendly return gifts
Eco-friendly return gifts are a nice way to symbolize concern for nature and considered quite cool. Pocket diaries made from recycled paper, plant-based essentials, seed packets and organic user-friendly bandanas – choose from a host of options. In the west, small bird feeders enjoy immense popularity.
Sacred thread/Upanayan/Yajnopavitareturn gifts
The sacred ‘Upanayana’ ceremonymarks a child’s initiation into formal and vedic education. Guests who attend the ceremony and bless the child are customarily offered Tamboolam in South India and what better return gifts than metal-plated scripture verses or gayatri mantra or scripture-based pocket books in testimony of the ceremony attended? Handmade incense sticks or silver-plated coins also make for divine return gifts.
Women’s special return gifts
Whether it’s a contemporary hen’s party or a traditional godhbharai ceremony – there are plenty of return gifts options for women. For the party, we suggest you keep it subtly feminine – terracotta earrings or minimalistic jewellery, jute pouches, potli bags while for the traditional baby shower, keep it conventional – tulsikiaras, metal-plated ‘Bal-Gopal’ (symbolic of the new member-to-be) make for ideal return gifts for women.
Budget friendly return gifts
For traditional occasions, german silver return gifts are perfect. They even look better than silver, finishing-wise and are easy on budget as well. From simple german-silver plated trays to small idols, there are plenty of options available online, to suit every budget.
For informal gatherings – trendy book-marks and pocket calendars made from recycled paper (especially for literary hangouts), handmade or chemical-free soaps (especially for women’s kitty parties), selfie sticks, trendy coffee mugs, designer mouse-pads and organic seed-pouches are some interesting options for ‘economical yet exciting’ return gifts.
“Some gifts are big,others are small. But the ones that come from the heart are the best gifts of all” – TinkuRazoria