The joy of gifting is incredibly unique in itself. As much as we love being the centre of attention and receiving gifts, buying gifts for our loved ones, expressing our affection and gratitude to them, is an experience like no other.

The festive season is in full swing and there are countless parties to be thrown, several people to be invited and important gifts to be given. Giving return gifts to friends and family has been practised for decades. However, over the years, there have been changes in the way return gifts are created as well as given. From experiential gifting to re-gifting to alternative gifting, the way we give return gifts and the way we perceive them is totally changing, due to several reasons.


An object may be fascinating but experiences are truly seductive.

With people opting for experiences over objects in every other phase of life, be it food, travel or clothing, the gifting industry, too in catching up.

“When a person turns either 50 or 75, it’s not just that one person who celebrates a birthday, but it is everyone close to him or her that celebrates too,” says Ami Gandhi, founder of Fabrigamie, a bespoke gifting brand based out of Baroda. “I once had a client who wanted to get a custom gift book made for her father’s 75th birthday, but as she started collecting pictures from the rest of the family members, she realized that everyone wanted to be part of the celebration; she ended up getting 15 custom photo books made which she gave as return gifts for the party! When you gift someone something that is personalized, a lot of thought goes into crafting that gift, in a way you become emotionally attached to the gift too.”

People are now valuing the charm of experiential gifts over materialistic gifts. When you give someone an experiential gift, it is completely unique in the sense that it symbolizes your feelings for them and showcases your memories. Several people are opting for photobooks, as return gifts for close friends on birthdays and anniversaries. With the rise of birthday trips and anniversary trips in the age group of 35-55, people also get customized travel photobooks made at the end of the trip which they give as return gifts to the friends who accompanied them. These can be accompanied by a souvenir to create an interesting gift box.

Experiential photobooks also make for great festive gifts. You may opt for a photobook for your close friends circle with pictures from all your previous festive celebrations and get a 6 inch by 6 inch book created which spells love and aesthetics like no other!


While sustainability has been trending in the fashion scene for quite some time, it has now made its way to the gifting space too. Be it because it is the need of the hour or the increased awareness amongst consumers, the result is that people now want to be more conscious in their celebrations too.

Green gifting is an upcoming trend which refers to a gifting process that results in lower environmental impact without compromising on the budget or being able to achieve the same on a lower budget.

Every year, during the wedding season, the bride’s and groom’s family invest is return gifts for all their guests. Gifts are usually wrapped in synthetic materials or plastic and envelopes which go as part of the gift have the giver’s name on it. These gifts are soon discarded, thereby serving little use while adding to the amount of plastic and synthetic waste.

However, people are slowly but steadily understanding the importance of eco-friendly gifts and gifts that are reusable. Ishani Kanani, founder of Lukka Chuppi, a label that crafts sustainable return gifts for weddings and corporates firmly believes in crafting return gifts that can be reused.

“I use fabric for all my gift packages and completely avoid synthetic material. I advise my clients to keep their return gifts extremely user friendly, to the point where their names should not be on the gift; if you get a return gift from a wedding with the bride’s and groom’s name, you might not keep it in your home for long, but if it is a useful gift wrapped in a fabric box with no names written on it, it is of immense use to you and you don’t have the heart to throw it away. I want my return gift boxes to be meaningful and to travel far in terms of use. I also ensure that people get to give more sustainable gifts to their loved ones without going out of their budget.”

If you want to embrace sustainability through your return gifts, you could start with using waste fabric for packaging, by handing out plantable gift tags and plantable wrapping paper. These are affordable ways in which you can make your return gifts personalized yet reusable for the receiver.


When you think of return gifts, one of the first few things that come to mind is birthday parties that you attended as a child. The excitement that every kid has for the return gift is unbeatable!

Every parent wants to make sure that their kid gives his/her friends the best return gift. Hence, it is important to stand out and give a gift that will be loved by kids but at the same time is useful and preferably educative.

Namrata Patel, founder of Covet Craft, a customized gifting label, is a mother herself and thus believes in giving return gifts that serve a purpose. “When it comes to kids’ return gifts, it is important to give something that is beautiful yet useful. I’m a sucker for sustainability as well as aesthetics so I strive to create gifting solutions that score well on both parameters. Pencils that can be planted once they’re used, decorative paper origami, pom-poms and fairy lights on gift hampers and multipurpose cane baskets for hampers- all these make for objects that serve different purposes and can be reused.”

You could opt for an instant photo booth at your kid’s birthday party and get printouts of the photos and put them in mason jars as return gifts. Slates, colouring sets and toy baskets are classics that can be incorporated along with the experiential gifts.

Experiential, travel-themed, reusable or green gifts- What are you opting for you this season?