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On Nov. 4, 2021, Diwali — a major Indian holiday featuring lights, fireworks, gifts and feasts — begins.
What is Diwali?
Diwali, which is also called Divali or Deepavali, is one of the major holidays in India, celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists. It is a festival of lights, symbolizing the victory of light over darkness, that typically is celebrated over five days.
Diwali also marks a beginning, and so preparations for and gifts celebrating this holiday can have a new year feel to them. Diwali is a time to don your best clothes, gather for meals with friends and family, and exchange gifts. As you might expect from a holiday centered around lights, fireworks and colorful diyas — oil lamps made from clay that represent enlightenment, knowledge and wisdom — are prominent parts of the celebration.
Traditional gifts often include nuts and sweets, clothing — including new socks and underwear! — and anything gold. Gold jewelry and coins are popular gifts, but anything in gold, including and especially anything that would make the recipient’s new year more prosperous and successful, fits the bill.
TheLadduHouse Assorted Laddu Box ($16.99; etsy.com)
Sweets are big business at any time of the year, but this is especially true at Diwali. Laddu, or laddoo, are balls made of flour, sugar and ghee that sometimes include nuts or dried fruits. They are also incredibly delicious.
HandmadeTraditions Indian Sweets Box (starting at $5; etsy.com)
For people who know their way around the kitchen, making homemade sweets is a great way to approach Diwali gift-giving. These sweets boxes come in three sizes and a choice of red, green, pink, cream or maroon, and feature a windowpane on the lid so recipients can see what they’re getting.
Malai Ice Cream Diwali Ice Cream Celebration Pack ($109; goldbelly.com)
Talk about an ice cream party. From New York City-based egg-free ice cream shop Malai Ice Cream, this Diwali celebration pack is filled with flavors inspired by the founder’s childhood. Treats include pints of ice cream flavored with cardamom, carrot halwa ice cream cake, and even some masala chai ice cream sandwiches.
Godiva Assorted Chocolate Gold Gift Box ($49.95; godiva.com)
Indian sweets like laddus, jalebis and burfi are traditional choices, but any sweets are an acceptable Diwali gift. This gift box of 20 dark and milk chocolates features 10 flavors including almond, toffee, mint, espresso, orange and raspberry, individually wrapped in foil and bearing blessings like health, luck and success.
Harry & David Mixed Nuts Crate ($44.99; harryanddavid.com)
As with sweets, nuts are a staple of Diwali celebrations, and they make great gifts — especially for a host or hostess. This gift set includes 4 ounces each of roasted almonds, pistachios, jumbo cashews, pecans and mixed nuts, bundled in a reusable wood crate.
Hickory Farms Savory & Spicy Nut Sampler ($19.99; hickoryfarms.com)
For people who like it hot, a sampler of spiced nuts is a great gift idea. This gift set includes barbecue peanuts, buffalo hot peanuts, everything-seasoned mixed nuts, honey sriracha almonds, sweet ‘n spicy snack mix and traditional mixed nuts.
Underclub Luxe Gift Subscription, 3 Months ($75; underclub.com)
New underwear is a popular Diwali gift, but giving someone unders is tricky. We love a gift subscription that allows the recipient to pick out the styles and colors they like, like the Underclub Luxe Gift Subscription, which offers options to share the gift via email or print and customize a gift card for people who prefer giving a physical gift.
Bombas Men’s Cotton Modal Boxer Brief, 6-Pack ($151.20, originally $168; bombas.com)
Another way to go when it comes to giving the gift of underpants is to pick a gift set from a more high-end brand than the recipient might treat themself to. Reviewers absolutely love the Bombas men’s cotton boxer briefs, which are frequently praised as “expensive but worth it!”
Pinkcityhandlooms Handcrafted Spice Box (starting at $54.99; etsy.com)
Shipping directly from India, this handcrafted gold spice box comes with seven small bowls as well as a spoon for scooping. And while it looks like solid gold, it’s actually made of brass, which makes it much, much more durable.
These Adidas velour track pants have gold piping, making them a perfect choice to give to the loungewear-obsessed person on your Diwali gifting list.
Tipsy Elves Men’s Night Run Performance Ski Socks ($19.95; tipsyelves.com)
Socks are the safest bet when it comes to giving the gift of clothes. These iridescent men’s ski socks are a fun choice for skiers, or for anyone who enjoys outdoor activities in a cold climate — plus, they’re just cool-looking. The same style is also available in women’s sizes.
Anjali Jain Jewellery Gold-Plated Carved Bangles, 6-Pack ($75, originally $100; perniaspopupshop.com)
Gold bangles are a staple of the Indian women’s accessories wardrobe. This set of six gold-plated bangles is carved and inset with small stones, and can be worn together or individually.
Adidas Stan Smith Shoes ($90; adidas.com)
While gifts of gold are traditional, there are lots of ways to flip tradition on its head when it comes to selecting Diwali presents. These gold-accented Stan Smiths are a fun turn on both the traditional gold gifts and gifts of new clothes for a new year.
Another fun way to incorporate gold themes into gift-giving is to choose items for the home in gold tones. This super-luxe 10-piece bar tool set, which comes with a bamboo stand to hold all the pieces when not in use, is perfect for the aspiring home mixologist.
Anthropologie Joyful Glass Candle (starting at $28; anthropologie.com)
Candles are a great gift for any occasion, and Diwali is no exception — it’s a festival of lights, after all! This gold-embellished candle comes in three sizes and scents: The small candle in gilded cassia has a 60-hour burn time; the large white fir and pomelo-scented candle has a 65-hour burn time; and the citrus and cypress-scented extra-large candle has a 105-hour burn time.
Calary Candle Wick Trimmer & Candle Accessory ($15.85; amazon.com)
When it comes to thoughtful gift-giving, we love an “add-on” present — something small that one typically wouldn’t buy for oneself that elevates a gift. This set of three gold candle accessories includes a candle wick trimmer, a candle dipper and a candle snuffer.
CreativeMindsA2Z Henna-Decorated Floating Candles Set, 6-Pack ($11.99; etsy.com)
Lighting small candles and tealights is a popular way for households to decorate during Diwali. This set of henna-decorated floating candles is a lovely hostess gift to give to someone who is hosting a Diwali feast or party.
Little Cook Gold Heavy-Duty Kitchen Shears ($4.99; amazon.com)
Kitchen shears are such a useful thing to own, but they’re a bit on the practical side to give as a gift — unless you elevate the form by picking a luxe-looking style. These gold-handled kitchen shears fit the bill perfectly.