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, and 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, 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.
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Diyas are small lamps symbolizing goodness and purity that are lit on Diwali to drive out darkness and welcome in light. Traditional diyas were lit using ghee, but in modern times tea lights are used as diyas for Diwali celebrations.
$49.99 at Target
Kulture Khazana was founded by Akruti Babaria as a way to share cultural stories with families after the birth of her son. She developed a product line that helps families make heritage and culture accessible and shareable, including this Diwali Celebration Kit that she says is “a Diwali party in a box!”
$29.99 at Target
Babaria created this Rangoli puzzle because, she explains, “The product was born out of my need to create Rangolis for festivals, but the homes and weather weren’t conducive to traditional powder Rangolis.”
$49 $24.50 at Fable & Mane
Fable & Main’s HoliRoots Hair Oil is a cult favorite, in large part because people love its incredible scent. The brand created a limited edition candle made with the same fresh, floral jasmine sambac and champaca notes as their signature hair oil, that evokes temple offerings and which can be used as part of a meditation ritual.
$17.99 at Amazon
For those seeking a religious Diwali gift, this handmade Bhagwan is a versatile charm that can be displayed in cars or on backpacks, or used as a gift tag.
$60 at Our Place
Our Place, makers of the super-trendy Always Pan, created a Diwali collection, including this fry set. The fry set includes a perforated skimmer spoon designed by Lekha and a decorative wire cooling rack designed by Manjit Thapp as well as two clay diyas.
$35 at Etsy
Gazal Kothari’s interest in handcrafted jewelry led her to start her own line of fashion jewelry, called Hyperbole Accessories, which features jewelry like these pink lotus earrings, hand-painted by artisans in India.
$17.99 at Target
This book, written by journalist and activist Raakhee Mirchandani, shares Diwali traditions through the eyes of a little girl named Devi. A charming holiday story following one girl’s family as they celebrate their Diwali traditions with the ones they love.
$14.99 at Amazon
If you’re looking for a way to keep kids occupied at a family Diwali party, check out this Festival of Lights Bingo set. The classic game has been reimagined for the holiday with Happy Diwali playing cards and related words instead of numbers.
$118 at Hara Clean Beauty
Natural, clean and plant-based formulations like these are a staple in ayurvedic skin care regimens dating back thousands of years. For every purchase, Soma Ayurvedic donates a set of school supplies to deserving children in orphanages and a hygiene kit to women who don’t have access to these necessities.
$135 at Sephora
An award-winning, lightweight, brightening facial serum for all skin types, made by Michelle Ranavat, a first-generation Indian American.
$30 at Uncommon Goods
Tea is a staple in Indian households, and this colorful tea latte kit makes a really fun turn on traditional gifts of tea that’s absolutely perfect for Diwali, with its focus on color.
From $34.19 at Etsy
Because gold is associated with Diwali, picking up on the gold theme is an easy way to select gifts. We love this blinged-out personalized water bottle in black and gold.
$69.99 at Amazon
Fire is another way to incorporate the color gold and lights into a modern Diwali celebration, like this cast-iron fire bowl in bronze.
$8.99 at Amazon
These flame color changers are a fun way to add extra flair to a night around the fire, making the gathering feel extra festive — the perfect thing for Diwali!
$50 at UncommonGoods
Nuts are a traditional Diwali gift, so looking for items that compliment or elevate serving and eating nuts is a surprising way to approach gifting. We love this pistachio server, which is stylish and functional.
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Journals are wonderful gifts for any occasion, and we like this gold blank journal for jotting down goals and wishes for the new year.
$14.99 at Amazon
If you’ll be attending a Diwali party, packing homemade (or store bought, we won’t tell) sweets in a pretty gold serving bowl is a pretty way to elevate a gift of food.
$22.99 at Etsy
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.
From $5.50 at Etsy
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.
$99.95 at Goldbelly
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.
$59 at Godiva
Indian sweets like laddus, jalebis and burfi are traditional choices, but any sweets are an acceptable Diwali gift. This gift box has 36 dark, milk and white chocolates with fillings that include ganache, praline, caramel and even some crunchy nuts, which are also a Diwali tradition.
$54.99 at Harry & David
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.
$21.99 at Hickory Farms
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.
From $9.99 at Etsy
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.
$60 at Pernia’s Pop-up Shop
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.
$100 at Adidas
While gifts of gold are traditional, there are lots of ways to flip tradition on its head when it comes to selecting Diwali presents, like these gold-accented Stan Smiths.
$21.37 at Amazon
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.
$38 at Anthropologie
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.
$11.99 at Amazon
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.
From $13.90 at Etsy
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.
$12.99 at Amazon
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. See more of our favorite practical gifts here.