What special do you gift on Diwali to those who almost have everything in life?

In its special Diwali gifting series, The Mint focused on families giving away some unique Diwali gifts for friends and relatives. Anindita Ghose in an essay made mention of such off-beat gifting ideas. 

“What do you gift those who almost have everything they might need?” the writer asked, referring to the Sharmas – Jyotsana and Arjun – who decided to buy potted basil plants in lemon, camphor and tulsi varieties as Diwali gifts.

Their festive gifting plans reflect the austerity debate. But for them it’s more a practical option since the two increasingly find extravagant gifting a pointless exercise. Jyotsana testifies to the undesirable phenomenon of gift recycling. One gift she would though, never pass on is an orchid a friend gifted her. Nurturing it has become an engaging experience, which is why she chose to the green gifting idea.

She approached a local herb store to source their plants from a wide range of medicinal and exotic herbs. The couple opted for basil for its sociological ties with Indian tradition. In fact, the family has almost done away with the whole concept of gifting since the last couple of years. Instead it donates to charitable foundation.

Diwali is an occasion that prompts more donations, which would go to each family member’s chosen charity. Arjun supports Chintan, an NGO that is part of Project Arman. His mother, a doctor by profession, manages a charitable dispensary. Wife Jyotsana supports two animal shelters. A foundation named after Arjun’s father funds a hospital, temple and school in their native village. Every year, the dotting donors throw a party for the rag picking children after Diwali.

Instead of lavish gifting, the family tries to revive the tradition of get-togethers to strengthen the bonds of love. The message here is that, you can celebrate Diwali not just by splurging, but also by donating to charities, and going green. 

Picking a perfect plant to gift

In the previous blog, we checked how plans can make a perfect idea on eve of the International Plant Appreciation Day on April 13. In this article, we try to find out how to pick a perfect plant for gifting.

You may be considering annuals, biennials, bulbous plants, cacti, bonsai, succulents, climbers, ferns and creepers, grasses, bamboos, palms, cycads, or flowers’ hanging baskets. Whichever type you go for, you need to be meticulous in your selection. Here are some tips for picking a perfect plant to gift:

You should invariably get healthy, fresh plants while considering them for gifting either to your client, business friend or colleague, or else the ‘green’ gift would turn meaningless. Healthy perennials or shimmering shrubs grow fast, and seem pleasing to the eyes.

Knock the plant you select gently out of its pot. Also, check the roots. A healthy plant will give a filling look to the pot, but it won’t be ‘pot bound’. Avoid those with circling roots or are densely packed and no compost being visible. Leaves of the plant you choose need to be lush green. Watch for pests and infections. Warning signs are discolored leaves, ragged edges or holes in leaves. Avoid plants that carry broken branches or stems.

Ornamental shrubs won’t flower. They are for attractive outlay. Because of their evergreen foliage and ornamental look, they draw visitors. They can be trimmed into various attractive shapes and sizes. Among the popular varieties are Juniperus, Eranthemum, Tuja compacta, Crotons and Aralia.

Hybridized rose plants also make a good gift. Their varieties are miniatures (just a foot or so tall), climbing types (can climb well up to 50 feet), standard tree roses, yellow roses (tapered buds, spicy fragrance) and pink roses (glossy, dark green foliage). White and reds roses are also a visual delight!

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Apt gifts for International Plant Appreciation Day

In the previous blog, we found out how imparting a ‘green’ hue can make a perfect gifting. The idea is to add natural touch to the indoor environ so that your friend or colleague feels fresh and rejuvenated at home or office.

This indeed makes a great gift! To make your task easier, we suggested you a few nurseries that are now innovating to meet your demands. There is ample choice to enhance the green quotient. Indeed is a wide choice is available when it comes to your ‘gift a plant’ plan for fortifying personal and professional relationships.

In fact, this will be a perfect idea since the International Plant Appreciation Day is not far away. Incidentally, it falls on April 13 every year. In this blog, we try to acquaint you with interesting plant types that sure can be considered for gifting.

• Consider annuals, biennials, bulbous plants, cacti and bonsai
• Think of succulents, climbers, ferns and creepers
• Give a thought to grasses and bamboos, palms and cycads
• Why not think of seasonal flowers’ hanging baskets?
• You can try out medicinal plants, helpful herbs and spices for their immense utility value.

There’s so many options for selecting indoor & outdoor plants! Also, as we advised last time, landscaping will help in accentuating the plants. Seeking help of a landscape consultant is a good idea to understand how to do it. Do tell your gift recipient about this. 

Flowering shrubs flower almost right through the year so they are pleasing to look at; they are bushy in shape and size. The fabulous flowering shrubs can provide for a long-lasting and eye-catching framework in any interior design. They come in a wide array of foliage, flowers and form. They are perfect for bringing natural joy. Among the popular varieties are Ixora, Pentas, Hibiscus, Mosanda and Lantana.

‘Ethical gifting’ catches fancy

The gesture of gifting has now taken a whole new context and meaning. Ethical gifting seems to be the buzzword, not restricted to the corporate sector alone. The trend now encompasses a range of actions like raising funds for a noble cause or pledging your wonderful wedding gift, supporting and helping an NGO, etc.

A DNA India news report by Sanghamitra Bhowmik points out that gifting has taken on an entirely new dimension with the internet. GiveIndia’s is one among the noteworthy innovations. The site has a webpage titled ‘iGive’, which can be used by visitors to raise funds for a specific cause or mission that they support or espouse.

Amita Chauhan of GiveIndia has been quoted as saying: “We once had a couple that donated the money they had received in gift during their wedding to an NGO of their choice.” 

Gifting eco-friendly products also has caught the fancy of the socially conscious class.
The proprietor of eco-friendly gift shop Eco Corner, Urvashi Mody has been in the business for over two and a half years. They already have several repeat customers for such gifts. Mody sources these eco-friendly products from across the country, as she claims. Her shop displays a variety of them including jute items, stationary, craft products designed by the tribal people and the underprivileged.

Nyassa in the western suburbs of Mumbai is another body that has on offer its line of nourishing natural body & beauty products that it produces and distributes. It was launched in 2007 by Ishwin Anand. The products are manufactured with essential oils and entirely natural materials.

Eco-friendly packaging is also becoming popular.

Consumers turn eco-chic, spotlight turns on jute

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The new trend is to be eco-chic. Green is in as people get more environmentally friendly and aware. Concern about adverse climate changes, rising energy costs and environmental degradation are among the main factors that are driving consumers towards clothes, fashion and other products made from environmentally sustainable materials.

Green is at a substantial crossroads, observe marketing experts who survey consumers’ shopping habits. The eco-friendly virtue of a product is a big incentive for consumers to buy it for its green connection. No surprise, more customers now like the idea of lifestyle products and accessories made from environmentally sustainable jute.

Jute is natural fibre and cheapest of all, and among the most environmentally friendly natural fibres owing to inherent unique properties. It scores over man-made fibre products on many counts like:

• Dimensional Stability: It extends merely 0.5% under stress to stable form.
• Capacity to Grip: Owing to its hairy strands of fabric that grips to any surface it cuts down risk of slippage.
• Physical Stability: It is stable up to ignition point at 193 Degree Celsius.
• Reparability, reusability, and biodegradability make it environmentally friendly. Burning emits same fumes as burning wood that have no adverse effects.

If you are really intent on being eco-chic, remember the ‘four Rs.’
• Reuse what you already have;
• Reclaim items to create something novel out of an existing item;
• Recycle to ensure an item is passed on to someone else, or has multiple uses.
• Revert to Jute.

Charming jute jewelry

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Jute jewelry is a novel accessory for women. Jute bags, fabrics, mats and wall hangings are already popular. Jute jewelry is also riding a wave of popularity. Jute is catching fancy of customers who are getting attracted by it’s qualities like durability and and eco-friendly nature. More importantly, it is cost effective.

Well-crafted jute jewelry looks magnificent. Pieces designed to enhance the beauty and elegance of the wearer boast superior finish and enchanting look. The unmatched quality of jute jewelry makes it a coveted possession. Jute jewellery is attracting buyers who earlier preferred imitation jewelry as the cost-affordable substitute for precious stones and metals. The deft designs and catchy colors of jute jewelry look superb.

Customers often find it unbelievable that such fantastic jewelry pieces can be crafted out of jute. Gold and silver jewelry retains it luster. But unconventional, eco-friendly pieces like danglers, rings and necklaces made of jute are catching up fast. Hokers, bracelets and bangles are also available to match every outfit. Jute jewelry has many takers because it fits buyers’ budget and indeed looks cool.

With gold and silver prices touching a new high, jute jewelry has emerged as a viable option. You can acquire a wide variety of trendy creations, said a visitor to the just-concluded Giftex 2008 in Mumbai where many fancy jute jewelry stalls were put up that showcased pieces with fine craftsmanship. Wooden beads, crystals, stones, pearls and stones are used to create lovely motifs on jute.

Layers of jute fabric are often cut in varied sizes and shapes. Jute jewelry is lightweight. It does not cause irritation to the skin. No surprise, exquisite jute jewelry is a favorite of eclectic buyers.

Jute: a lifestyle statement

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There is a wide array of lifestyle jute products, which you can use and gift like attractive terracotta embedded items and wall decorative pieces. Jute craft is quite unique in terms of functionality, originality and looks. Popular items like decorative bags, lamp shades and flower pots part from handmade jute wall hanging make perfect gifts for people with unconventional, albeit classy tastes. You can get many more interesting and attractive jute products for gifting this festive season.

Jute products are noteworthy for perfection in design and dexterity in finishing. The jute handicraft represents skilled craftsmanship that transforms the natural jute into perfect gifting products with immense aesthetic appeal. Luxurious home décor products made of jute like cushion covers, tablemats, tea cosies and table covers go well with eclectic lifestyles.

Jute garments come in a spectrum of styles especially for festive occasions in embroidered, hand printed and dyed features.  Jute woven fabrics are used for attractive stuffed toys. Decorative pieces blended with spectacular embroidery made from jute look fabulous. Jute is a perfect medium to keep your household lively and luxurious. No surprise, cost-effective jute articles make catchy gifts.

Customized jute pouches bear a sign of individuality. Designer jute pouches are getting popular as a lifestyle product. They offer versatility in terms of designs, colors, sizes and styles, so you can get one to suit your style quotient. For instance, richly designed striped pouches in jute might fancy someone with a bold fashion sense and who loves looking look glamorous. These pouches make a bold style statement.

Jute lifestyle products lead one into an enchanting realm of unimagined opulence, and fill one’s life with color and joy. They accentuate the home décor through their exhilarating look and fine finish. They are bound to make a mark with their captivating look and high utility value.

Check attractive jute products’ range…

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