Tips for giving gifts on Roka / Engagement / Weddings in India

Wedding GiftsIf we think of the one thing India is obsessed with; leaving cricket and film stars out, one would surely come up with Indian Weddings as the evergreen topic of interest. It is said to be the one recession-proof industry, which simultaneously provides jobs, brings about family reunions and gives an endless array of topics of conversations (and gossip!)

The one peculiar aspect of Indian culture is that we make Indian Weddings a multi-day (or week) event, and end up turning up on the weddings of even distant cousins, irrespective of work schedules and distances. Every aspect of the occasion, right from clothes, venues, stage-sets, and yes honeymoon destinations of the would-be couples is sliced, diced and benchmarked, to be referred to for posterity.

No wonder then, that giving a gift on the occasion of a wedding, engagement, roka or anniversary is no task for the faint of heart! If you have to do this remotely, using the services of an online gifting company, then be warned – your task ahead is tougher still. We, at Gujarat Gifts, would like to share some tips to help you make this gifting occasion a pleasant one!

    • Know the personality of the Bride & Groom: Chances are, you know only one side of the family, and the bride / groom to be is a big fill-in-the-blank for you. If you want the gift to be a memorable one, and stand out from the heap, you need to invest time in understanding the other person. Without advocating stalking, you may want to check out the person’s social media profile (google plus, facebook, linkedin), whether (s)he is working or not and what the background is. This will help you decide whether you want to go sophisticated or desi, practical or dreamy, and your gift will be appreciated that much better!
    • Avoid Risqué Gifts: Yes, we know bachelor / hen parties are quite the rage abroad, but are you really sure, the as-yet-unknown groom will appreciate that hilarious gag “T-Shirt”? You also have to contend with the possibility of your gift being received by another member of the family, inviting considerable embarrassment on the part of your acquaintance.
    • Personalize it: Most gifting companies allow you to send a free greeting card along with your gift. Make use of that, and pen a nice memorable message for the couple-to-be. Chances are, that’s the gift that they will keep, and look at, years down the line. If you have good photos of the couple, you can even choose from a wide range of personalized gifts, which are sure to be a hit.
    • Avoid Cash / Cheque: Yes, it’s a pretty practical solution to just give money to the newly-weds, but we strongly advocate against it. Unless you are related to the recipients very closely, giving money has a high chance of coming across as crass and thoughtless. If you really must, then a better option is to give commemorative gifts like gold coins, jewellery, which are near-cash, yet much more tasteful, as a gift.
    • When all fails…: If you don’t have the time, energy or the closeness to the recipient that justifies a fine-tuned effort, it might be better to stick to the traditional and opt for flowers, along with classy chocolates. Be sure to research what each type of flower means, and choose accordingly. We have some fun details on that at

So there you have it – we hope you enjoyed our tips to help you make the most of gifting on weddings, and related occasions. If you have any suggestions, do let us know!

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How Mother’s Day has been adopted and localized by Indians!

Being an Indian gifting site does give us certain advantages – we get to see celebrations of both Indian as well as overseas holidays! After all, our roots are always grounded in India, but as we travel and work in foreign countries, we do end up assimilating the local customs there.

Mother’s day is one such curious phenomenon – If you had happened to visit a gift or a card shop about 15-20 years back in India around the second sunday of May, you would have seen no signs of a festival dedicated to mothers! It was simply unheard of in India – Valentine’s Day: Yes, Mother’s Day: what’s that?!

However, 1991 came, and brought along an opening up of our economy, which led to the inevitable movement of professionals abroad, in search of greener pastures. These people quickly took to the local holidays in US and UK, and added these to their holiday list. The 2nd generation kids of the emigrants grew up steeped in these festivals, occasionally wondering why their cousins in India had never heard of such festivals!

Some of these families, when they moved back to India ended up importing these festivals, in addition to exotic celebrations like Halloween!

Thus was born the concept of Mother’s Day celebrations in India. In fact, our country ends up celebrating two versions of this occasion, though the second one is more widely known:

i)   Mothering Day: A holiday originating from UK, and celebrated in March (30th March in 2014)

ii)  Mother’s Day: The US and International version, celebrated on the 2nd Sunday of May (11th May 2014 this year)

The concept does make sense – After all, if you have a day to celebrate your love for your soul mate, shouldn’t there be another dedicated to the other important woman of your life? However, we being Indians, have ended up making Mother’s day celebrations a pretty desi affair. Here’s how the occasion is celebrated in India these days:

  • The bandwagon is led inevitably by retailers, both online and offline, looking for another occasion to sell us more cards, electronics, jewellery, along with flowers, cakes and perfumes.
  • It’s common to see offers in our email boxes as well as in newspapers, reminding us of the need to express our love for our mom “on her special day!” (and here we thought every mom’s special day was simply the day when her child got married!)
  • Many youngsters, loaded with some guilt on not spending enough time with their parents, do make it a point to take their mom (or parents) out for movies and dinner on this day. Some daughters do make this a shopping-day-out-for-the-girls.
  • Spa companies, perhaps looking for an alternate customer base, do make it a point to persuade you to let them pamper your mom on that day, often with steep discounts.

Mom’s being moms are typically more vocal in gently dissuading their children from buying them expensive stuff. However, if you buy her something on this day, you can rest assured that the afterglow of that act will be remembered for years, just because she won’t be expecting a gift from you.

Stay tuned, as we bring you more updates on this festival, along with some unusual gifting ideas for Indian mothers. Mother’s day is next month, on Sunday, the 11th of May 2014.

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