The joy of unwrapping a present is amazing, but nothing is more disappointing than getting a gift you want get rid of.
If chosen right, a present can spread immense joy and boost your professional life, but research shows that giving a lousy gift could also mar your relationships.
Singer Nick Jonas scored some serious brownie points with wife Priyanka Chopra when he gifted her a snowmobile for Christmas last year. “Santa drove in on my bat mobile!! Aaaah! My husband knows me so well! Thank you baby. I love you!,” she gushed on Instagram, showing-off her present. While PC was thrilled with her hubby’s largesse, are we too happy with what we get?
During birthdays, festivals, weddings, anniversaries, house-warming celebrations and other special occasions people like to give you a small token, but how often are these truly appreciated? Is the person putting in any thought to what they are giving you or is it just a social obligation?
Shabbily wrapped tokens, a box of nuts when you are allergic to them or random perfumes can actually make one feel unloved. The joy of unwrapping a present is amazing, but nothing is more disappointing than getting a gift you want get rid of.
The Art of Gifting
So what is the logic behind getting someone a present? According to Deepti Rupaney Taimni, a Dubai-based freelance graphic designer and consultant for branding, event design, printables, specialised invites and stationary, “The best gifts are those that are a memory and how well the person knows you, keeping also the personality of the person in mind.
Experiences like a vacation, a memorable meal, an exciting challenge, a spiritual journey are things you will never forget.” One of the worst gifts that Deepti never forgets is a bag of hotel toiletries from a friend!
“The worst gifts are the ones that have no thought! It’s just given as a formality to reciprocate an invitation. It’s better not to give than be judged by the receiver,” she says.
While some are guilty of being thoughtless or recycling unwanted gifts, many actually spend time and effort to select something nice. It’s their way of telling you they care, have great taste and sometimes a marketing and networking tool to win you over. In fact for a number of companies gifting is a part of their marketing layout for the whole year.
“Everyone likes to be gifted, it’s a great way to make someone feel special. We send out 60 to 100 hampers to a curated guest list which we feel will add value to the event,” says Nitya Jalan, co-owner of Hyderabad-based event management company Purple Martini Events. “Our hampers mostly consist of healthy eatables — granola, good quality chocolates, nuts... There are events happening every other day in the city, the gift motivates people to make an effort to come and take a look. And the ones who didn’t get anything from us often call and complain. They make an effort to show up at exhibitions and spend money to be included in future,” laughs Nitya.
In Present Company
Some companies like to pamper their loyal customers by sending them thoughtful gifts. For Karishma Manga Bedi, whose family owns Forest Essentials, the skin care, cosmetic and perfumes company, the motive behind sending someone a present is to make them feel special. “Gifting for us is something that is meaningful and special. We like to ensure that when a person receives something from us it is something that he/she will appreciate and enjoy,” says Karishma. She adds that there is a high level of personalisation, attention to detail and experience, which goes into their gifting. Products that are high on innovation, something which would merit the receivers lifestyle and done with thought and care, makes all the difference. “Be it why you selected something for them, how it was wrapped and a personal note that has been well thought out always makes a difference,” says Karishma.
For others the best way they can subtly show off their wealth is via their ability to send “tokens of love” during a special celebration like a family wedding.
A ‘small’ keepsake with the wedding card. “A lot of effort is made by family members in choosing the right gift as it’s the first look of the forthcoming wedding,” according to Minjal Jhaveri, founder and director of Bespoke Home Jewels. She did the gifts for Shloka and Akash Ambani’s wedding. “Currently, the trend is all about understated elegance. No one is wasting money on big boxes or paper. Things are smaller and more compact. Ostentatious cards are also out. People are now concentrating on things which one will use,” says Minjal. Nobody wants to waste money on something which won’t be appreciated. Another thing that is a big waste is mithai. However expensive it is, it goes straight to the staff as people are health conscious. Also by the time mithai, brownies, macrons reach the invitee, they tend to get stale too.
So what’s a safe bet these days? “Most of my clients order silver plated boxes in various sizes with semi-precious stones. I do a lot of photo frames with the invite inside the frame. My Brazilian Agate coasters are also popular. We do a set of four or six and they come in many colours. Cheese platters, tea-cup platters all silver plated with a few precious stones are also a hit. For a recent wedding, we did a rose quartz elephant with a silver carriage that was filled with elaichi,” says Minjal.
People can spend anything from Rs 2,000 per gift to Rs 25,000 — the more expensive the gift, the lesser the quantity.
Sometimes however lovely a gift you still have no need for it. You may realise that five friends have got you the same thing. Unless it’s crockery or cutlery that you can make a larger set of, you might as well recycle. This is definitely the case with children’s birthday parties and even if there is not much repetition there is no space for so much stuff!
Deepti, who has two young kids says, “When you have a birthday party for 50 or more kids, you receive 50 or more gifts. Regardless, kids don’t need or play with all of them. I personally let them open them as they are excited but probably only let them use three things. If something is personalised with their names then I would keep it for them. But kids don’t need so many gifts, so it’s better to recycle.”
Also it’s expensive to keep buying gifts the whole year round, there is really no harm in passing on nice things that others will use or appreciate. Now come the landmark celebrations, what do you get someone for their 18th, 21st, 30th, 40th? Sometimes you are invited for a destination celebration then how you do you show your appreciation without breaking the bank?
Many people decide to buy a joint gift. This way you don’t have to break the bank and still get the person a lovely present, which they will love, and use. Nowadays, 10-15 friends decide a budget, pool in the money and gift their friend a nice piece of jewellery, a designer bag, kurta buttons or a gift card from their favourite store. When it comes to brides and grooms, since the concept of a gift registry has not caught on in India, where the couple list out what they need and send their guests the list, a cheque or cash is not a bad idea. The couple can use the money to invest for their future, splurge a bit on the honeymoon or buy things they actually need. The next time you step out to buy a gift, you know what to keep in mind while choosing it.