8 Great Places To Shop For Environmentally Friendly Gifts For Your Guests

Posted: February 12, 2016

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Looking for traditional, yet environmentally friendly gifts to give guests as return favours? Here are 8 great online and offline places to buy responsibly from!

Return gifting has become as important as gifting. Last week an old friend of my son had come over for a play date. When he was about to leave, the little guy asked me, “where is my thank-you-for-coming gift”? Though I was in splits at what he said, I also wondered about this being the reality – return gifts are expected, and kids are no exception!

Let us look at this custom of return gifts. In this article, I shall not be speaking of return gifts for kids’ birthday parties – that is a subject for another day.

Every function and party has its share of gifts. If you really think about it, this has been a tradition in India since ages. Shagun is considered an important part of any occasion with guests, and the celebration isn’t complete without one.

Most traditional functions in India would definitely have at least some form of fruit or sweet as a return favor if not for elaborate gifts. In some places, this is also called as tamboolam, which contain betel nut leaves, betel nut and fruit. While we can easily get some return gifts in any of the city malls, consider the following factors about the gifts before you choose to buy.

  1. Items made out of eco-friendly/natural material
  2. Gifts that have more local flavors/art
  3. Products sold by small businesses/startups
  4. Buy items from businesses which support perishing art/social organizations/orphanages/low income groups etc
  5. Prefer handmade gifts compared to factory made, these are unique and has that special warmth!

If you consider buying these kind of products, it often benefits a cause, a way of giving back to the society and nature at large as you would be promoting the elements related to sustainability.

Let’s take a look at few online stores and some offline stores based in Bangalore, which are good for gifting or return gifts, especially for traditional occasions or even perfect for no reason gifting!

Spastic Society Bangalore

If gifts like paper bags, jute bags, photo frames, gift boxes, textile based products, stationary items etc are on your mind then do consider buying them at the Spastics Society. The proceedings of the sales would go toward supporting this school for differently-abled children, a worthy cause.

Find out more here.

The Postbox

The postbox was conceived with an idea of bringing great product design into existence. It values the artists. If you check their site, you will see categories in shopping as product wise, artist wise and shop wise. They offer handmade terracotta products, which I guess are their most popular products. Other items include bracelets, laptop bags, notebooks, scented candles, wall art, stoles, and lamps, cushion covers etc.

Find out more here

Kavin Crafts

This is a Pondicherry based venture that makes eco-friendly handmade products. They have scented candles, incense sticks, handmade paper products, gift boxes, photo frames, coconut shell products etc. The most striking items are the ones made out of coconut shells in the form of curd bowls, dry fruit bowls, soap cases, pen stands, lamp shades, accessories etc. The coconut shell crafts look extremely adorable, affordable and are sustainable too.

Find out more here. Follow coconut shell crafts here.

Gift a Light

Handmade and hand painted diyas make for some exclusive gifts! Run by Shruti & Suparna, Gift a Light has beautiful diyas decorated in vibrant Indian colours and designs. Though just before and during Diwali is the peak time for her business, these can be conveniently used as return gifts throughout the year.

For orders, follow her facebook page here.

Varnam

Varnam – meaning colors, stands up to its name, showcasing vibrant colors in all their products. Apart from their online store, they do have a quaint colorful store in Bangalore which is delightful. They have many awards and accolades to their credit. They work with artisans from Channapatna, which is famous for its few hundred year old art in wooden toy making. Now Varnam is channeling that talent in producing items in home décor, accessories, stationary, lamps, storage, jewelry etc.

Find out more here.

Silver Lining

“If home is where the heart is, then decorate it well!” says Ipshita of Silver Lining. Her bags and totes are absolutely lovable. Instead of plastic or glitter paper as gift wraps, these bags are perfect as gift bags. Silver Lining also offers items such as river grass mats, bed spreads, pillow covers, table mats and napkins, kitchen towels and cushion covers. It is a passionate effort by Ipshita in reducing the usage of plastic and promoting sustainable living.

Find out more here. For orders, follow her facebook page here.

The Ants Store

ANT stands for Action Northeast Trust and is behind running the Ants Store in Bangalore. They provide a platform for groups in the country’s north-eastern region by selling their products like handicrafts, jewelry, clothing, terracotta items, baskets and other crafts. Their aim is to provide a sustainable living to certain north-eastern communities and to spread the beauty of their lives through these products around the world. The Ants Store also stocks items like organic food, organic toiletries etc. and has a café to relax if not shopping.

Find out more here.

Tambulya

This online return gifts venture is by Bharat Matrimony and has items that cover everyone’s budget and needs – gifts starting from as low as Rs. 7. Return gifts for house warming and baby shower are extremely popular here and they do deliver to your doorstep. This is a one stop destination for all the traditional gifts starting from idols, trays, stationary, organizers, bowls, bags, jewelry boxes, lamps, vases, diyas etc to name a few.

Find out more here.

With the idea of giving sustainable products as a return favor, we are spreading the word that we all need to be cautious of the resources available to us. As per a famous quote – “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children”.

Image source: wooden elephants by Shutterstock.

Loves to click pictures, dance, cook, travel, craft, read and write!

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