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Great gift ideas

Instead of a box of sweets, choose from a variety of offbeat gift options this Deepavali



Say it with trendy gifts this Deepavali

WONDERING WHAT to send your friends and relatives this Deepavali? If you thought of that box of sweets, then think again! You can show your near and dear ones that you care for them by giving them a gift of good health or an offbeat lifestyle product that they can actually use. When it comes to novelty, there are innumerable options.

"With greater health awareness, there is a marked change in the way people are choosing gifts. A box of sweets has now been replaced by health foods, dry or fresh fruits," observes Mrs. P. V. Naik, a housewife.

"It is heartening to see folks becoming more health conscious. This is reflected in the gifts they give others on festive occasions," says Dr. Tusna Park, weight management consultant. "During the Deepavali season," she continues, "households are loaded with kilos of sweetmeats, and there is a tendency to store and eat them over a period of time." She suggests that the sweets be given away the same day to those who are deprived and in need of nourishment. "When there are so many options, I wonder why people prefer to gift only sweets," asks Dr. Park. Instead of buying boxes of sweets, she suggests people gift small quantities (50-100 gm) neatly packed, along with a hamper of health foods.

Wide variety

Those on the look-out for varied gift options will find a range — health food, lifestyle products, candles and more — at various stores across the city. The Design Store (ph: 24997157) at C. P. Ramaswami Road, for instance, has a good collection of gift articles. Colourful kundan and beadwork coasters and palm leaf and jute coasters can be acquired at a price of Rs. 50 each. Palm leaf table mats with zari borders in bright hues, cushions (Rs. 200 for a set of two) with bead and zari embroidery, towel and napkin sets and natural fibre baskets in all shapes and sizes are also part of the display. There's plenty for kids too — rattles, tops and pallankuzhi — gifts that they will love.

Eco Nut (ph: 24919592), the health food shop in Besant Nagar, has three different types of gift hampers containing unusual stuff such as nutri-balls (made of dry fruits, nuts and sprouted gram sans sugar, jaggery or honey), sugar-free bran cookies, beaten rice mixture (made of unpolished red rice, channa dal, peanuts, rock salt, raisins and spices), dry fruit toffee, organic sesame and peanut candy, amaranth seed chikki, gram-flour laddus and organic honey. Beauty and aroma packs, priced at Rs. 600, with essential oils such as bath and massage oil, aromatic oil, bath powder, olive oil, neem shampoo, aloe vera moisturiser and a scented candle, make offbeat gifts. Flower based drinks such as lotus, vallarai and hibiscus — all good for the health — are also becoming popular gift options.

Accent on health

Chunky candles (300 gm to 13 kg) in pleasing fragrances (orange, peach, strawberry, vanilla, cherry), gel candles in blazing colours, tapers and pillar candles scented with musk, lily, cedar and lavender, and clay pot candles, with dry flowers (a set of three at Rs. 75), are available at Naturally Auroville Boutique (ph: 28330517), Nungambakkam. Their gift hamper, consisting of a perfume sachet, incense sticks, cup candle and potpourri is priced at Rs. 312. Bath sets comprising bath salts, soap and other accessories, non-fruit health promoting drinks such as Clitoria ternnatea (sanku pushpam), sarasaparilla root syrup and organic kombucha (a beverage made by fermenting common black tea with kombucha) are also available.

Sixth Sense (ph: 24402475) at Adyar, has exotic bath sets and potpourri gift sets have been gift-wrapped to save customers the time and bother. Bath sets contain vegetable-oil based soap, gel, shampoo, bath powder, body scrubber, hairbrush and mirror. The store's range of incense sticks and room fresheners is affordably priced.



A hamper for the health conscious -- Pic. by N. Balaji

To spread its message of `wisdom of well-being', Ahumcaara (ph: 26611828) has come up with some gift sets priced at Rs. 400 to Rs. 2,500. The hamper, set on a bamboo tray, has a health food item, a lifestyle product and candles. One can also make up a hamper by putting together sugar and oil free snacks and sweets available at the store. Date delight, muesli and protein bars, natural Rosella jam, guava jam and passion fruit cordial are some of the options. . Coconut balm for cracked heals, eucalyptus balm for colds and lavender balm perfume (Rs. 200) are not only novel gifts, but also useful ones. Wine bottle holders, candleholders and diffusers add to the range.

Nuts `n' Spices (ph: 28268180) has a variety of dry fruit and nuts, packed innovatively. The prices (Rs. 80-Rs.200) suit everyone's pocket too. Gift vouchers are available for exchange at all outlets.

"A hamper of dry fruit and nuts should contain apricots, figs, almonds and pistachios that are good for the health," says Dr. Park. "Also make sure sunflower seeds, walnuts and amaranth seeds find a place in the hamper," she adds.

Fresh fruits

According to Dr. Uma Ram, gynaecologist, there's nothing like gifting fresh fruits.

For the past four years, she has been placing orders for fresh fruits (an assortment of strawberry, passion fruit, pineapple, apple, kiwi fruit and oranges) from the Fruit Shop on Greams Road (ph: 28293548), neatly packed in cane or bamboo basket and sends it to all her friends and relatives.

Innerlight, the candle shop (ph: 28514934) at Spencer's Plaza is the place to visit if you love to gift candles. They have perfumed candles, floaters and an array of gift sets. Prices range from Rs. 12 to Rs. 800.

Still trying to think of something else? It would be a good idea to drop in at The Agri-horticultural Centre (ph: 28116816, closed on Thursdays) on Cathedral Road and pick up some saplings that could be given as gifts.

Guava and mango saplings (Rs. 40 upwards), hibiscus, marigold, tulsi and portuloca are some plants that are ideal for gifting.

So go ahead and choose a gift — but one that will be packed with health.

A. CHITHRAA DEEPA

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