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Gifting ideas that pack a punch!
Susan Mathen
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November 19, 2007

"I believe in a give and take relationship; You give I take, you give I take."

-- Pankaj Agrawal, talking in jest about gifting

Jokes apart, gifting is sure to make somebody happy. And there's no better time than now to gift your loved one something special. And that's a standing rule for every moment of the year.

Gifting today has adopted a whole new avatar, with increasing disposable income amongst every age band. With a pinch of creativity and customisation, the perfect gift is born. High-end fragrances, sports fashion apparel, branded accessories, expensive gadgets, bouquets and mouthwatering chocolates still remain safe options for any occasion even though these don't have the surprise element any more.

Interesting gifts
Youngsters unleash their creative juices and go all out to make the most interesting gifts.

Aakanksha Gupta, a 24-year-old chartered accountant has a relaxing birthday gift for her boyfriend -- a visit to an exotic spa and a chance for him to unwind and shrug off all the office tensions and worries as the aromatic oils and soothing massage provide him an all-new experience -- all for Rs 5,000. She has just started working, but she saved well in advance in order to gift him an exotic and expensive gift, since he had also splurged on her birthday.

A very thoughtful gift to one's girlfriend would be a gold package at a salon -- pedicure, manicure, haircut, face cleanup and massage. Sachin Kurien, account director at an advertising firm, remembers the Rs 4,000 salon visit he gifted his wife when they were dating; he explains how it's more important to do such things while one is dating, or in other words still trying to impress the girl.

However, there are a few youngsters who believe it's the thought that counts and don't spend thousands on extravagant presents. Writing out birthday messages in sand in the lonely beach in Diu and capturing the same in a photograph --Sandhya Balakrishnan sends it as an addition to the birthday gift to her friend who could not make it for the trip. Amateur guitar strumming gets a whole new twist when you self record a music video for someone and send it to them by mail.

Remembering family
On receiving her first salary Divya Joseph, a 23-year-old media professional in Mumbai, gifted her mother a ring from Tanishq worth Rs 7,000. Having exhausted all possible birthday gifts the previous years, Sridhar R.V., (28 years, project head at an analytics firm in New Delhi) gifted his father a tour of Europe on his sixtieth birthday.

He also narrates how his sister was elated when he got her the entire Calvin 'n' Hobbes collection for her birthday. He said he got the idea from his friend Dhanush who gifted his sister a CD collection of the seasons of Friends. For Sridhar, the cost of the gift is the least of his concerns. He says he's well settled, and earning enough to not worry about such things any more -- most of his purchases are through his credit card, and he makes it a point to clear his credit card balance every month before his due date so as to avoid penalties.

Carving a moment in life
Shipra Srivastav, 26, banker, narrates the most romantic evening one could ever gift someone -- dinner for two in candlelight, wine and quiet, aboard a ferry near Gateway of India in Mumbai. Ferry ride per hour costs around Rs 2,000 and the rest of the dinner and decoration according to personal preference, in addition.

Self written poetry twined around a slender metal watch strap talking about "our hearts beating together, and your time and my time becoming one" made Rihaan Akhtar's girlfriend cry and smile at the same time. Akhtar is a marketing professional at an event management company in Bangalore.

He pointed out how he does not buy gifts for everyone, only to those who really matter to him, and for those people he would go all out, and would spend as much as he possibly could.

Swati Shekhar, smiles as she talks about reenacting their favourite scene from their favourite sitcom (Chandler and Monica getting engaged in Friends), lighting up hoards of candles in a cottage in Manali to propose to her boyfriend. She believes in adding a personal touch to everything, and hates giving expensive gifts which do not have a memory attached to it, or in her words -- "a story behind it, for them to reread each time they remember the gift".

Customising and making it memorable
Adding a personal touch is a must for some people. There are many who say they rather not give a gift if it's not personal. This results in people making customised notebooks with favourite bands, celebrities and other such things printed in certain pages as section breaks.

Mehek Taneja, a college student, remembers how time consuming it was to get good pictures of Bob Dylan, The Doors, Jim Morrison and the like for her music crazy friend, but it was sure worth the effort as the gift was wowed and admired by one and all. She also got personalised badges with Naruto characters on them for her friend who was almost addicted to this Japanese anime series.

On their last day of college, the hostel mates gifted Dipti Sivadas (she just would not be caught without kaajal (kohl), be it early in the morning or late at night) a huge box of kaajal to last her a lifetime. Writing favourite songs on CDs, making a collage of memorable snaps, and personalising cups, t-shirts and posters are other such treasured gifting ideas.

Brands matter
Twenty-four-year-old software engineer, Karan Goel, talks about how he would not mind spending up to half his salary to get a swanky mobile phone for his girlfriend on her birthday. Ties, sports shoes, wallets, watches, perfumes and shirts are all in the consideration set while shopping for a gift for men, while the same for women would include all kinds of clothes, handbags, stuffed toys, chocolates, flowers and jewellery.

The extra thousands that are shelled out are for the brand name. Gifting a branded item is not just cool, but is also an assurance of style and quality. Satya [Images] Paul and other designer ties are picked up along with Jimmy Choos for women.

Knowing what is needed
Air tickets to the destination your loved one wants to go to, is a sure hit.

Candles in their favourite colours, scrubs, foams and body washes for those who love indulging themselves in the same. Vibha Chandan made it a point to gift her friend who was living alone in a flat, a WorldSpace connection with a full year's subscription. Nandit Jain, a 26-year-old entrepreneur got his mom Nike shoes as per the doctor's specifications for the frequent pains in her feet.

Being aware of what they really need or what they are really craving for helps a lot in zeroing in on a gift that will be cherished. Of course, deciding one's budget for the gift should be the precondition for coming up with gifting options.

Price not a constraint
If it creates the right ambience, the right impact, and the best possible gift, memory or moments, then most youngsters today do not think twice about the costs involved. Putting together the perfect gift for loved ones, be it family, friends or lovers, is something for which you cannot put a price limit.

Swiping the credit cards at five-star restaurants, fighting to pay the entry charges at pubs, 'you like it then take it' attitude are all becoming part of having arrived in life today. Diamonds, gaming consoles, laptops and bikes are swarming the gifting sphere.

It is not about hurriedly purchasing a gift, it's about the trouble one went through to put it together, or else the amount of money one is willing to part with to purchase the right gift, that is the sign of caring enough for someone.

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