Forget lamps, sweets, clothes… How about eco-friendly products for gifts this Deepavali?

Stores are decorated, banners put up, and discounts offered to entice shoppers — Deepavali is almost here! And, many are wondering what to gift their loved ones. Will it be lamps, sweets, clothes or firecrackers? Well, sometimes the lamps are never used, sweets become a profusion and are thrown away, clothes are never the perfect colour or design, and as for firecrackers, there’s enough pollution already!

So why not go green on gifting options this year? How about gifting a sapling? There are many places in the city that sell lovely potted plants. Priced from a few hundreds to a couple of thousands, there’s plenty to choose from. There are pots with beautiful designs and decorative holds for tulasi. The likes of orchids and anthuriums too are easily available.

Catching on

Krithika, a staff at T. Nagar shop Harith Tharang that specialises in creating potted plants as gifts, says, “It has been three years since we started this concept, and we have definitely seen this trend catching up, going by the number of orders we get.”

Being eco-friendly doesn’t necessarily mean gifting only plants. How about jute articles? Considering jute has been catching on in a big way as a fashion statement, one has plenty to pick from. Think earrings, necklaces, hair clips, bags, wallets… Priced in the range of a couple of hundreds, jute products are sturdy too.

“Since plastic bags are banned, people use paper bags. But then again, we are still destroying trees and paper bags usually never last. On the other hand, jute is non-toxic, biodegradable, it has tensile strength, and can be made into trendy products. The idea of being eco-friendly is picking up,” says Rajalakshmi Shrikanth of Jute Emporium in the city.

In addition to plants and jute products, hand-made creations also make for great gifts. Further, they help the growth of small-scale industries. Decorative items made from terracotta, cloth wall-hangings, mirrors, jewellery boxes, etc. can be bought from handicraft exhibitions that are being held across the city all-year round. Since these products are bought from across the country, it helps indigenous artisans too.

The best way to ensure an eco-friendly Deepavali is by applying thought. For example, while gift wrapping and creating greeting cards, , plastic bags can be avoided and instead, newspapers and handmade chart papers used.

Most importantly, one can try to consciously bring down the use of firecrackers. Instead of bursting them individually, how about doing it together as a community? After all, aren’t festivals all about the joy of sharing?