“The pandemic saw a major reduction, if not end, to physical celebrations, making the idea of physical gifts also an impossibility. Further, the economic instability that followed made people value money and gifting a lot more. So for instance, at weddings, couples started creating gift registries with things they need to start their new lives, so no gift goes to waste. The idea was to use and love every gift, not re-gift it. For guests, the option of gifting online was very useful as most were attending ceremonies virtually. It also removed the risk of going out and shopping, making it the safer option. The pandemic has seen a huge rise in gift registries, online gifting and making sure every gift is used not wasted,” says Kanika Subbiah, founder of WeddingWishlist.com.
She points out that with people spending a significant time at home, gifts that add comfort to the home have become most popular in the past year. “It includes a home theatre system, robo cleaner, home appliances, loungers, air purifiers, home workout solutions like gym equipment, yoga mats, etc. Art is another popular choice, as it is considered an investment buy and home beautification has gained priority. Other gifts that became popular included honeymoons and travel experiences. Since the pandemic has hit people’s income, a lot of couples are opting for cash gifts as well. For couples who didn’t want gifts, charity registries have seen a huge rise. In the strained environment that we’ve been living in for the past two years, people have found a lot more meaning in helping the needy. Health and wellness have become central to the way most people live their life post-pandemic. So by simple virtue of these services and products being used more, they’re also gifted more. But the categories that have seen a rising trend are gifts that are more relaxation-oriented than wellness,” she explains.
Though it might sound unconventional, heritage rice gifting for weddings and engagement, gained more popularity after the pandemic. Jayanthi Somasundaram of Spirit Of The Earth, says, “Rice is considered auspicious, it’s a sign of abundance. We offer 250 gms of heritage rice and create hampers. Gifting rice is always a part of our culture and is incorporated in many aspects of rituals, especially, weddings. People want to give gifts with meaning. When one gives gifts that support causes, both the giver and receiver are happy: They prefer fragrant grains - rare grains that have beautiful stories around them. Some put together a hamper of a variety of grains, red, brown and black. For one wedding, we suggested rice of Tamil Nadu and one of Karnataka, since the bride and groom were from those regions.”