8 unique gift items you can buy on a budget for the New Year

(And they do not harm the environment!) 

Since Christmas has just passed and burned a hole in our pockets, New Year’s Eve is a cherry on top of the cake. With all the festivals lined up, it is socially acceptable to spend a little more in heat of the moment and to regret it the next morning. Talking about heat, let’s not ignore the fact how tough it was to breathe post Diwali because of polluted air from all those crackers. So, just to balance it all, we took a resolution to go Eco-Friendly from 2019, can you? 
Here are some gift ideas that you need to buy for your loved ones (or yourself, because why the hell not?) instead of clichés. And hey, you can be a superhero and make your contribution towards saving the environment as well while being on a budget. 

1) Vegetable plant pot: If you’re getting this for someone who cooks or likes to eat organic, a vegetable plant would be a heaven and help on a lazy day when they’re out of some common veggie. It could be a Vegan’s boon as well. The easiest and most low maintenance vegetable plants to grow in pots are mentioned below: 

  • Tomatoes 
  • Chillies 
  • Lemon 
  • Spinach 
  • Cucumber 

2) Flowers in a pot: Bouquets are extremely common for people to gift, we’d also see a price hike around Valentine’s. So how about you find a flower for your dear one but instead of buying it on 14th Feb, you buy it right now and keep it alive till the event? That way you’d toss the price hike like a boss and your loved one could keep the flowers happy and blooming as a token of appreciation. 

3) Dried flowers or Potpourri: We’ve always wondered how our neighbours’ house smells like garden flowers with a twist of spices. That’s because they use potpourri, a mix of dried flowers and whole spices. An amazing way to keep your home swell right. Natural fragrance of potpourri’s can last from 2 months to upto one year. It depends on the quality of flowers and spices. They places it is used in and how it is use in. When you gift a potpourri to someone and if you are buying it for yourself, avoid placing them in direct sunlight to get the maximum out of their dried flowers. Smells good right?

4) Unprocessed honey: Buy it for people on diet or just people that don’t like their food processed. It is attained directly from the beehive and there’s a very less chance for it to contain added sugars. Processing the precious honey destroys most of the beneficial nutrients it has to offer. Raw honey is rich in antibacterial properties and is a heavy source of antioxidants which slows down the process of skin ageing.

5) Leaf Painting: We all fancy a little décor in our houses, but how about we switch from synthetic paints on a textured paper to organic dyes on a dried-up leaf? A bunch of painted leaves would give your house a really ethnic touch and they’re also very economical and beautiful. Don’t blame us if you feel you’re in an expensive holiday home located in the middle of some Jungle. You can either hang them on your walls for raw aesthetics or you can buy framed ones for a posh gift.

6) Solar light: This one is for a fellow traveller. Although phone torch does a wonderful job, sometimes it’s crucial to have a flashlight with you while travelling. So, if you are a traveller or you know a fellow traveller, then you need a solar light in your bag pack immediately before your next trip to tackle unforeseen circumstances. 

7) Herbal perfume/ essential oils: Everyone loves a good scent. By putting some fragrance on yourself, you’re 100% more appealing to people, given its subtle. There’s a reason why girls are attracted to guys in perfume ads and follow them, that reason is fiction. It never happens in real life but we humans do like nice smelling people. As tricky as it can be to find a perfume to gift and trickier to find one for yourself, you can never really go wrong with a natural scent or essential oil. 

8) Cruelty-free makeup: We all know how brutally makeup is tested on animals. So, if you like to apply make-up, go for the cruelty-free one. Animals are not harmed in the process of making it and you can wear it guilt free. Chances are, it’ll be a little more expensive but at least you won’t have innocent animal’s blood on your face. 

How far do you have to drive, to find a florist in any Indian city?

I want to start with asking you a question.
When was the last time you bought flowers for someone? I guess the most common answer would be never, it’s been a long time, don’t really remember, Valentine’s day or Mother’s day. Mostly in that order.
Gifting flowers is still not an in-thing in India – yet. We would rather spend hours on our phone, and do our research to find what should we gift our friends, family members or loved ones. More often than not, we would not consider flowers as a gift.

Businesses always try to meet the demands of the market. The Indian flower market is worth $230 million (INR 1600 Crores). Out of which Rs. 600 Crores accounts for the exports. And it is safe for us to assume that the domestic consumption of flowers in India is around Rs. 1000 Crores. But since most of the floral market is in the unorganised sector, we do not have enough data to prove this. Another data shows that the per capita consumption of flowers in India is much lower when compared to countries like Norway, which has to highest per capita consumption at $146, followed by Switzerland at $126 and Germany at $88.

Flowers have always been an integral part of Indian culture. But now, it is only limited to decors for grand celebrations like a wedding, parties and festivals. But people like you and me buying flowers for our personal use or gifting is a rare scene in Indian cities. Compare that to people living in developed countries likes the United States or Europe. And in countries like China, more than 90% per cent of the cut flowers produced are consumed within China. In India, we do not collect enough data to determine our flower consumption. Remember, this is a market that makes more than 1600 crores. And most of the trade happens in the unorganised sector.

Let’s look at major cities in India; New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Chennai & Bengaluru and how many flower shops do we find when we drive across the streets of these metro cities? I’m sure everyone in India knows, “jo dikhta hai, woh bikta hai” (People buy what they see). But, we don’t see much investment in this regard. we hardly see florists across our city streets. And if they are not there, we can’t blame Indians of not buying natural fresh flowers as gifts. Former Union Minister for Agriculture, Shri Sharad Pawar and Former Chief Minister of Delhi NCR, Smt. Sheila Dixit had voiced their opinion about setting up a state-of-the-art flower market in Delhi NCR with retail outlets. They had a vision to have quality flower shops across the city at important landmarks like, hospitals, Malls, Business Centres, Airports, etc. But it has been more than 10 years, but there is not required infrastructure set up for this cause. Former President of India, Shri. A.P.J. Abdul Kamal, in his speech while inaugurating the International Flora Expo 2006 in Delhi, had voiced his vision that floriculture should be a Billion dollar industry in India and should create a million jobs for Indians. Media Today, an organiser of Agro Exhibitions in India has been conducting International Flora Expo in India for a decade now, they bring the industry together and create a platform for people to network and grow their business opportunities. The next International Flora Expo will be held from 22nd – 24th February, 2019 in Pune.

In the end, I would like to close my argument by saying, that every one of us should make an attempt to go green and buy more and more natural product. And the government of the day should encourage small businesses to invest in horticulture, landscaping and floriculture so create favourable conditions for businesses like these flourish. 

Here’s a beautiful line to end with – She bought herself flowers for no darned good reason – except they were beautiful and she deserved more beauty in her life.

Why should you gift Natural flowers and potted plants instead of chocolates and other kind of sweets?

Every gift from a friend or a relative is a wish for your happiness. Similarly, when you give a gift to someone, it makes their day. Your gift, whatever it may be, makes them feel special. It is said that it is not the actual gift, but the thought that counts. And it may be true to some extent. Now, think about the last time you had to spend a few minutes in front of a computer or on your mobile phone to scan through hundreds of gift suggestions that showed up on your google search results. We always put in our thoughts and spend our time to decide the perfect gift for our friends and loved ones. Today, we would like to talk about those beautiful gifts that you received and the ones you have given to someone special.

We have been made to believe that chocolates the safest bet. I mean, who doesn’t like chocolates? Everyone does, right? The answer to that simple question is a big NO! Not everyone likes chocolates, candies or some other form of sweets. And definitely, you shouldn’t encourage this concept of gifting chocolates. So, what’s the alternative?

Traditionally, flowers are presented on occasions such as Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day. In India, whenever you meet a Government official or high ranking officers, we always present them fresh flowers. When you’re not quite sure what to send a family member to congratulate him/her on a promotion, send flowers. When you need to bring a hostess gift but aren’t sure of the household tastes, stick with flowers. These are some of the most common perceptions we have. But, it’s time to change those perceptions about fresh flowers and potted plants.

The beauty of nature’s bounty brings comfort and warmth into an environment. Whether the flower recipient is celebrating an important day or celebrating an achievement, flowers boost morale and lift the moods of the parties. Flowers stand out among the many gifts and greetings. They last for days or weeks, reminding the recipient of your thoughtful consideration. Flowers aren’t as effective as acknowledging the emotional side of the event. Flowers are symbols of thoughtfulness, filling an emotional role in the scheme of the event. Sure, they are not permanent, as is not most of the gift that we send to our friends. But we should definitely switch to more eco-friendly gifts.

Fresh flowers and potted plants can be a perfect gift for any occasion even for men. There is another misconception that flowers can be only gifted to women. Flowers are an inexpensive way of bestowing your love and expressing emotions. And hence there is no such reason that flowers are solely reserved for women. When men send a woman flowers, it is to express their love and earnest emotions towards her, to brighten her day and make her smile. It is the thought that makes the difference! So, the next time you wish to surprise your special man or congratulate him, be it your Father, your brother, friend or lover, send him some flowers!

Here’s a cheat sheet with a kind of flowers that can be gifted to men.

  • Men prefer darker shades over pastel colours in bouquets.
  • Orchid’s bouquets white or purple, or Crimson Red Roses are often good flowers for guys.
  • You can also gift Anthurium bouquets a.k.a the Flamingo Flower, or Boy Flowers because of their distinctive shape and colour.
  • Birds of Paradise, also known as Crane flowers owing to their shape of a bird and striking colours, are a good choice for men as they have a strong appearance.
  • Bamboo plants are known to bring good fortune also form a nice present for men.

Finally, we would like to leave you with some important takeaways.

  • Flowers and potted plants are a beautiful, inexpensive and thoughtful gift for both men and women.
  • A bouquet of Colourful fresh flowers can be gifted to your brother/sister or a close friend, relative or your office colleague.
  • Chocolates and other sweets are unhealthy gifts, switch to eco-friendly gifts for your loved ones.

Flowers are a forever charm and therefore, there isn’t a need for a special occasion to gift flowers, but if you are really looking for a specific occasion then here are some: Anniversary, Birthdays, Achievements, Apologies, Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Rakshabandhan or just as a reminder that you miss someone or care about them, send them flowers!