Sharing environmentally responsible gifts

- November 7, 2023
| By : Mohd Shehwaaz Khan |

With the festive season underway, customers are showing interest in making environmentally sustainable choices of gifting experiences instead of giving away material possessions

LOADED WITH SWEETS: Ferns N Petals, a brand that sells environmentally sustainable gift hampers during festivals, aspires for an eco-conscious future of businesses

Come Diwali and then Christmas, New Year and the wedding season, the search for the perfect gift becomes no less than a quest for the Holy Grail. 

After all, it’s not just about exchanging presents, it’s about showing care, positivity and establishing a meaningful connection with your friends and family. 

Moreover, in a world increasingly aware of the environmental impact of our choices, sustainable gifting is gaining momentum among new generation patrons. 

Sustainable gifting begins with a shift in mindset wherein every gift should carry a story, a message or an emotion transcending its physical form. The thought behind such a conscious gift becomes a lasting memory, fostering deeper connections between the giver and receiver.

Responsible gifting is available in diverse options — ranging from recycled materials and bio-degradable packaging to handmade and upcycled souvenirs.

This includes biodegradable and upcycled glass plant pots; greeting cards and bookmarks made of seed paper; upcycled fashion accessories like jewellery, belts, and wallets; wall art, sculpture, décor made of salvaged metals and fabric. 

CALMING INFLUENCE: The Pink Quartz Alampata Ganesha infuses the surroundings with the calming energies of both materials

These items not only reduce waste and promote environmental responsibility but also make as meaningful and thoughtful gifts for eco-conscious individuals. 

Businesses getting hooked to them

Businesses too are becoming conscious of the environmental impact of their choices, tilting more towards ethical and responsible consumption. 

Udyat Gutgutia, one of the directors of the well-known gifting brand, Ferns and Petals, (FNP) says, “We are fully aligned with this sustainable ethos. We are utilising eco-friendly materials such as jute, cotton and hay for packaging while minimising the use of tapes. This ensures that not only the gift items but also the packaging used is of the highest quality.” 

Gutgutia adds that green-gifting is used as a way to reduce the detrimental impact of consumerism like excessive waste and the overflowing land-fills. 

“These days, patrons tend to prioritise quality over quantity. They’d rather receive or give fewer, high-quality items that are built to last rather than a surplus of disposable products. Such gifts which have a unique and thoughtful aspect to them and demonstrate the effort put into choosing something special and purposeful. This personal touch makes the gift more meaningful. Our personalised gifting segment offers customised souvenirs like sippers and travel mugs, stationery items made of bamboo and repurposed wood. These are popular items which are well received.”

Post pandemic, there is a discernible shift towards experiences over material possessions. The advent of digital gifting is one such phenomenon which has ushered in a new era of mindful and low-impact gifting practices. Instead of physical items that often come with a carbon footprint due to manufacturing and shipping, digital gifts such as e-books, gift cards, spa vouchers, concert tickets, online experiences, courses are fast gaining traction. 

TWO TO TANGO: Ruchita Bansal (left) and Anupam Bansal, founders of Izzhaar

These gifts offer the joy of receiving while leaving behind a significantly smaller environmental impact. As more people embrace this trend, it not only simplifies the process of exchanging gifts but also contributes to a more sustainable and eco-conscious future. 

Boosting local economies

Sustainable gifting also involves purchasing from small businesses, local artisans, or eco-conscious brands. This initiative supports local economies, encourages innovation, and allows consumers to connect with the creators of their gifts.

According to Gutgutia, this year FNP is witnessing a 100% rise in the digital gifting category. 

“One such innovative facet which contributed to this increase is our personalised short video messages from celebrities and well-known personalities. Instead of physical gifts, these heart-warming video messages convey cheery greetings for every occasion like birthdays, and weddings, Friendship Day, Mother’s Day, Diwali and other festivities and celebrations.” 

He says that that besides adding a personal touch, this form of gifting significantly reduces the environmental impact associated with traditional gift-giving such as the production and transportation of physical items. 

“Besides, we have recently introduced gift services like Guitarist-On-Call, Violinist-On-Call, Poets-On-Call which are contributing to our growing E-presents portfolio.”  

Ruchita Bansal, founder and Creative Director of Izzhaar, another long-time player on Delhi’s gifting scene, has been working with corporates as well as individuals to help them perfect their gifting choice. 

She says, “The challenge is to come up with a selection of thoughtful, unique and aesthetic gift ideas every season. Today, people want gifts specifically designed to leave a profound and lasting impression on your loved ones while at the same time paying heed to one’s social responsibility. Such exceptional gifts would include idols and figures that are favourites of the receiver or a selection of edibles like gourmet teas or specially created sweets that cater to the palette of the person the gift is intended for.” 

Some of the edibles that are given as gifts, she says, include sugar-free mithai made with special ingredients, exotic beverages and high-protein snacks. There are also artisanal chocolates and gourmet biscuits. 

“Every item is carefully curated to tantalise your taste-buds and elevate your tea-time into a memorable, indulgent ritual. They go beyond the ordinary, embodying the spirit of thoughtfulness and catering to the goal of living a responsible lifestyle.” 

Customers’ favourite items

Art-works or artisanal creations by craftsmen not only from India but from across the world or jewellery items made with traditional hand-crafted techniques too are a favourite choice, according to her. 

“Garments and house-hold linen made with natural fabrics and handwoven, nature-based cosmetics, hand-painted platters and beautifully woven baskets with delectable and healthy goodies too are also appreciated,” adds Ruchita.

One can indeed spot a huge range of gifting options at Izzhaar. Ruchita informs that each of these items can be personalised and customised. 

“After all, the purpose of giving a gift is to show you care and when you put thought and effort into what you are giving to whom, the sentiment goes a long way.”  

Izzhaar’s gifting selection ranges from divine idols made with natural materials to artisanal table accessory collections and indulgent hampers. 

Ruchita elaborates, “Our Rose Quartz art-pieces are a favourite option. This beautiful natural stone is known for fostering love and peace and also purifying an indoor space. For Diwali, Rose Quartz Ganesha and/or Lakshmi idols are an ideal choice. This blend of pink quartz and silver not only elevates its aesthetic appeal but also infuses it with the calming energies of both materials. Artistic pieces are always a joy to gift and receive and are indicative of creative abilities of the human mind.”

Ruchita’s premium items include Milanese Art Deco platters.

TWO TO TANGO: Ruchita Bansal (left) and Anupam Bansal, founders of Izzhaar directors at Ferns N Petals

“These platters and boxes with intricate design are a testament to the craftsmanship that went into their creation. When gifted, they are bound to delight the recipients making it a hard-to-forget gesture. One can also fill the platter or box with a curated selection of delectable treats, luxurious scented candles, and a delightful assortment of sweets to elevate one’s tea-time.” 

Izzhaar also has the Mustang Retro Purse which Ruchita calls “a statement piece that exudes luxurious vintage elegance with a timeless design and classic appeal that make it not just a purse but a fashion accessory that captures the essence of a bygone era”.

The art of sustainable gifting is clearly here to stay since it is a powerful way to express love, gratitude and appreciation. When we embrace this new way of gifting, we are not just giving gifts but also creating a better, more ecologically viable future for the planet. So, this season, stop and think before you gift.