We are moving to The Orange Gift Bag

Creative gifts, handmade gifts at The Orange Gift Bag

It’s been over a month since I last posted here. In fact, this may well be the last month I post here. When I first started blogging about gifting, it was a hobby. Over the past two years, it has evolved from being a hobby to being a passion, a profession. During that time, I went through a rather learning curve.  I didn’t know much about good blog design, keywords, SEO or even how to take good, high quality photographs . I just wrote. Some months ago, I finally felt ready to take this blog to the next level. To make it bigger, better. So I’ve been working hard on developing a new design, new content and even a new home for my blog.

And that’s how The Orange Gift Bag was born.
The Orange Gift Bag  is about gifts chosen with care, infused with thought, and wrapped in warmth and affection. The new blog will cover the entire gamut of gifting – gift ideas, gift guides, gifting tips and etiquette, DIY gifts, gifting stories from around the world and gift wrapping inspiration.

I’ve been thankful to have many loyal readers who have supported me, encouraged me and gave me the motivation to continue blogging about my passion…gifting. And I hope you will join me in my journey with The Orange Gift Bag. Hop over and visit, explore the blog and subscribe too. I promise you, it will be worth it.

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The gift of a handwritten letter

the gift of handwritten letters

Images and text by Sarita Rajiv

This morning there was a gift package for me in the mail. It was from a friend. I was expecting this package and so it came with the thrill of anticipation. Even as I knew what the package contained (a beautiful wool hat crocheted by my friend), my eyes were searching, my fingers fumbling to find a piece of paper that I hoped was included.

I was looking for a note, but hoping my friend had included a letter.  She had, along with a couple of other gifts for my daughter and me. Aah, the shiny excitement of surprise!  The first time I read the letter, I rushed through it like a child gulping down a piece of chocolate. The second time around, I slowed down, pausing every now and then to savour her handwritten words and the memories those words triggered.

As teens, every time one of us travelled out of our home town Mumbai, we would write letters to each other. We wrote every single week, detailing the simple, the fun and the mundane things happening in our daily lives. This was the India of the nineties; the internet wasn’t a part of everyday lives yet.

The unique gift of a handwritten letter

The gift of a handwritten letter

One of the things my friend wrote in her letter was, “I’m so thankful we can Skype so easily these days; however I have to admit receiving a letter has its charm.” That rings true for me. With my friend in the Americas and me in Europe, the digital world is an ally in our friendship allowing us to remain in touch. Even so, the warmth and intimacy of a personal, handwritten letter is something else, isn’t it?

Handwritten letters are so unusual in our digital lives that they’ve acquired a kind of rarity that makes them special. And that’s why I think a handwritten letter makes a unique gift. It’s a lovely way of showing your appreciation for the people you love and care about. A  handwritten letter is symbolic of the time, effort and feeling you’ve put in to communicate what they mean to you. I think it conveys emotions and feelings in a way the internet can’t. It swallows distances in a jiffy and stays back as a memoir of your intentions, your emotions, your feelings.

What do you think? Do you like receiving handwritten letters and what’s the best one you’ve ever received?

Housewarming Gifts: Salt & Pepper Shakers

Housewarming gifts - salt & pepper shakers

When it comes to housewarming gifts, I think one-of-a-kind salt & pepper shakers are just perfect. They’re small; you know they won’t take up too much space. They’re useful and practical. And they can be gorgeous centre pieces for a dining table or kitchen platform.

I love this Yin &Yang Shaker by Yanko Design. It feels like there is a warm hug or embrace along with the housewarming gift.

Housewarming gifts - Salt & pepper shakers

 

This Bird Salt & Pepper Shaker duo by Keladeco can bring a pop of colour to any home.

Housewarming gifts - Salt & Pepper Shakers

 

Inspired by drinking straws, this Straw Salt & Pepper Shaker set by DesignK looks like it’s walked out from an animation movie.

Housewarming gifts - Straw Salt and pepper shakers

 

We all could do with a lit bit of seasoning to spice up our homes. With these salt & pepper shakers as housewarming gifts, you’ll be helping someone do just that. 

 

The New York Times’ unique gift project

Unique wedding gift ideas

Did you ever think your wedding gifts could make it to The New York Times? Well, here’s your opportunity. The publication is asking readers to send in Instagrams of unique wedding gifts.  They are looking for unique gifts that tell a story. It could be handmade gifts that have a sentimental value, a family heirloom that was passed on to you or even something out of the ordinary you purchased using the money you got as a wedding gift.

Isn’t this is a fun idea? I’d love to send in some Instagrams of my own, but most of our gifts are back home in India. The only things I have here is a set of azure blue coffee mugs, an apron and a kitchen glove!

At our wedding, we received gifts in all shapes and sizes. There was, among others, the ever practical and useful money envelope, a pressure cooker that is an integral part of any Indian kitchen (mine included), a set of gorgeous bed sheets and monogrammed towels and few vases that we never used. In India, gifts of gold are customary and some of my golden gifts included a beautiful bangle, a pair of earrings and a pendant with my initial. Thankfully, we didn’t receive multiple sets of tea cups or clocks. These items seem to have lost their place of pride among common wedding gifts.

Did you get any unique gifts at your wedding? Do you still have them? If yes, they could be a part of The New York Times’ unique gift project. For more details, go here. But hurry, you need to send in your images by Thursday, August 22.

Gift in a jar: The thought counts

I’m a big fan of gifts in a jar because of how versatile jars are and, the potential to create a thoughtful gift.  Gifts in a jar are also quick and easy to create. More importantly, they are the perfect choice when you want to gift something ‘just like that’; when you aren’t are gifting for a specific occasion or event.

Gift in a jar

Gift in a jar: Jar of happy thoughts

When it comes to gifting, the common, underlying premise is that ‘it’s the thought that counts’ . I would say, if done the right way, yes. I’ve taken this basic premise and coupled it with the gifts in a jar concept for this ‘Jar of happy thoughts‘. It’s a variation of the  ‘A dåse of love’ and ‘Jar of self-esteem‘ gift ideas I’ve shared earlier.

This gift in a jar is a sure-shot pick-me-up for friends, family members or colleagues going through tough times and, who need all the love and support they can get. It’s the perfect way to help them remain positive and let them know, you’re thinking of them.

All you have to do is, find a ceramic or glass jar and label it Jar of happy thoughts for X‘. Then write down as many happy and positive thoughts you can think of, on small scrolls of paper and fill jar with them. Voila, your simple, but thoughtful, gift in a jar is ready.

Here are some happy thoughts to get you started.

Gift in a jar is a perfect gift

Gift in a jar is a perfect gift

A gift in a jar is a perfect gift for friends

A Gift in a jar is a perfect gift for friends and colleaguesA Gift in a jar is a perfect gift for friends and colleagues

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Go on, create your version of a thoughtful gift in a jar; your own jar of happy thoughts.

Why I’ve never given my mother a gift on Mother’s Day

Why I've never given my mother a gift for Mother's Day

I am a passionate gifter. I dive head first into anything that involves celebrating milestones. I spend time, effort and thought doing what a lot of people consider a chore – getting gifts. My blog goes by the tagline — the gift of love and life and gifts for all the happy occasions the duo entail. And yet, I’ve never given my mother a gift on Mother’s Day…not even a card.

Growing up in Mumbai in the eighties and nineties, I wasn’t even aware that such days existed. I was 12 when I first heard of Valentine’s Day (yes, we managed to escape the commercialisation for a long time). It’s only in recent years that concepts such as Mother’s Day have sneaked in on the tails of their successful leader, Valentine’s Day. Even so, the trend is restricted mainly to cities and large towns.

But, the more fundamental reason for not celebrating Mother’s Day, though I’ve been aware of its existence for a few years now, is because I’m not entirely at ease with the concept ( Strangely, I don’t have such a strong sense of discomfort with Valentine’s Day). Because for me, the math just doesn’t add up.

Being a mother, it’s not just for a day, is it? It’s an entire lifetime from the moment your child is conceived inside you. It’s an eternity of loving and nurturing your children, worrying about them, praying for them and, trying your darndest best to mould them into your version of what the ideal is. An aeon that is faithfully shadowed by self-doubt about your parenting skills and wondering, why you were a better mother before you had kids. You just can’t fold a celebration of that lifetime or salute all that work to fit in neatly in a boxed up, gift wrapped day. It has to appreciated, cherished and acknowledged a lot more often.

Like my mother and several others I know, I don’t expect a gift on Mother’s Day. Our rewards are random, our gifts come in unrecognisable avatars and our work is acknowledged in peculiar ways. It happens when, out of the blue, our child utters something incredibly intelligent or perceptive and we think, “Hey, I’m doing a good job, after all” or, when our tiny tot, who has embraced the ‘terrible 3s’ phase with alarming alacrity, realises that the tantrum has gone too far and offers up conciliatory wet kisses and an apologetic, “BUT, I love you”. It hits us with an unexpected thud when our rebellious teenager, in the throes of adolescence, decides to end the conversational cold war with a casual funny remark aimed to say, “Maybe you’re right and you have my best interests at heart”. It props up in the form of our partner in (parenting) crime who pitches in with gusto without assuming that raising a child is the sole obligation of the mother.

Unless our lives are peppered with these and several other such affirmations that make the hard spots in mothering worthwhile; unless we stop believing our mothers should be ‘selfless paragons of virtue, who paradoxically don’t need to have a say in their own homes’; unless we recognise them as individuals with their own quirks and qualities, anything we give or receive on Mother’s Day would be an empty gesture.   

I say a little prayer for you

the gift of lifeImage source

This is not the kind of post you normally read on I Love Gifting. But then, today is no normal day and this is no normal world we are living in.

This morning, the first piece of news I read was about a five-year old girl raped by her neighbour in Delhi, India’s capital city. As I write this, she’s fighting for life in a hospital because not only was she raped; a glass bottle and pieces of a candle were inserted into her private parts. The police initially refused to lodge a FIR, telling the family to be happy that the child was alive. 

Reading about it felt like being punched in the gut…repeatedly. Her innocence lost forever, is there any chance that she will celebrate the gift of life, the gift of being a woman? That is if she survives, if she gets the chance to grow up at all.

As I say a little prayer for this little girl — as many others are doing, perhaps the people in power (read the police, the judiciary) will be benevolent enough to give her the gift of justice. Because it is becoming increasingly apparent that in India and several other places, justice is not a given, it is a whim, a fancy — where these stories repeat themselves in an infinite loop, the horror never-ending.

I say a little prayer for you little one.