Diwali is the festival of lights and is widely celebrated across the world with the exchange of gifts, wearing new clothes, buying new things for the home, bursting of crackers, and spending quality time with family and friends. While the latter is the ultimate tool to long-lasting joy because it means filling your heart with happy memories, all the other items on the list require some careful introspection before you make the plunge – especially if you are a corporate company buying Diwali gifts.
Diwali spends accelerate the flow of cash in the economy and the flow of trash into the landfills.
While enough videos (from Anmol Garg to Shraddha Jain) are doing the rounds thrashing companies for giving away cheap and useless gifts doused with oodles of sarcasm, none of them are actually offering you a solution or any insight into what could be a good way to go about choosing gifts for the season.
It is time you become aware of the unfortunate fate your gifts meet with, if you are a buyer of hundreds / thousands of gifts each Diwali – for your teams and clients.
Fate 1 – Recycle
Sustainable and eco friendly gifts are on the rise. Here is a word of caution. Seed pencils, seed pens, seed paper, seed bombs, plant kits, plants you send that get damaged in transit – any of this that does not sprout into a plant or last well, usually lands up in a compost bin within a few weeks. Please know that anything that is seed based should be manufactured closer to the usage date. These products don’t have a long shelf life.
Let me explain. It is not like they will get spoiled. But what will actually happen is that the very purpose of the product is compromised. Very old seeds usually don’t germinate. More so, in the case of seed paper that can be printed on, the paper needs to be flat enough for it to be printable.
And how do they flatten the paper? By calendaring it – a process where the paper is passed through two metal rollers with heat, so it comes out flattened. In the process the seeds used in the paper are crushed and therefore dead, even before they reach you or the soil.
While this is a great gift idea – take care to check these points to ensure these seeds qualify well and have a larger probability of actually sprouting into green shoots when the recipients sow them.
Fate 2 – Landfill
Cheap electronics and gadgets pollute our environment in irreversible ways. And if they carry your logo on them, then they deal a terrible blow to your brand instantly. Don’t give products that don’t promise a certain quality and performance.
This is akin to saying, you are giving a gift for the sake of giving one and are not considering factors like usage, quality and durability. They will only add to cheap metal and plastic junk that is piling up all around us. Let alone the gifting budget that also goes down the same path.
Don’t opt for these gifts if your budget does not allow you to invest in a good quality product. Divert that budget to some other category of product that can get you good quality and utility. Eg., buy good quality paper notebooks, t shirts, box of gourmet chocolates and so on.
Fate 3 – Hands me down
This usually happens when there is a mismatch between your recipient’s tastes and what impact you want to create with the gift you are giving. Some gifts while good have no use for the recipient especially if they don’t meet their quality and brand preference.
Especially for companies with Gen Z as their employees, this is a massive challenge. Remember this is a generation that knows a lot about the kind of brands and products they would like to be seen with. So tread this path with some caution, and use surveys to check what it is that they prefer – gourmet goodies, gadgets, apparel, stationery and so on. Plan your gift giving using some great feedback that comes from such internal surveys.
Are your gifts worth a social media click or post? If yes, then chances are your recipients would love using them too. This is when you know your gifting budget has been put to use wisely and is sure to get you some positive brand recall and long term use.
Fate 4 – Reappearance
Preceding the festive season, most homes begin the process of deep cleaning and decluttering before Diwali. Decluttering is more often done to give away the old and useless items and make space for the new. When the gifts you give don’t fall under the first 3 categories, chances are they’ll reappear like a ghost every year from the carton in the attic, which is filled with items that can’t be thrown away and can’t be used either. If you are someone who indulges in Diwali cleaning annually, you know what I mean.
When a gift meets this fate, it makes decluttering an absolute must. If it has no use, give it away, instead of putting it away for another year, allowing it to collect dust and increase the negative energy of your space.
Gift giving can be a fun and meaningful experience, when done thoughtfully. The right kind of gifts strike a happy chord with the recipient, find use in their lives, create great brand recall and bring a smile every time they use the gift. Make your every gifting experience – a one that is worth it.
Co-founder, The Giving Tree