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Is It Time to Adopt Gender-Neutral Gifting?

22 November, 2021


With Christmas and New Year around the corner, it is soon the season to buy gifts for your grandchildren. Some of them may be visiting you, or you may be travelling to see them after many months of separation. Gifting is an easy and fun activity, and nowadays, you are spoilt for choices.  It can leave you wondering just that little bit more about what to get for whom. What does your grandchild enjoy now?

Gifting is getting tougher not just because of more choices but also because of the high awareness in kids and their parents. They usually have a clear idea about what they want. They also are more aware of the changes in the world and how it impacts them as individuals. Unlike earlier times, they are also more gender-sensitive. You might already have noticed why stereotype gifts are not as welcome.

Yes, the world is slowly changing, and perhaps some things are for the better, and we need to accept them. One such thing is gender-neutral approaches to parenting and gifting. It means that while gifting the kids, we do not go with the ‘obvious’ choices as in earlier days. So, it may not be ok, to always give flowers, kitchen sets, jewellery, and dolls to girls. The same is the case of gifting cycles, automobile models, and tool kits for boys. Perhaps, you are now getting the drift and thinking about what may suit the new trend of gender-neutral gifts for the kids in your family.

Why does gender-neutral gifting help?

Why should we give some thought to gifting and focus on being gender-neutral? Can’t we continue to do what we have done all these years? In a changing world, we find gender sensitivity an essential lesson that kids need to learn. The kids need to be brought up in a gender-neutral environment that does not stereotype or discriminate against them based on their gender. 

This is essential in today’s scenario, where many sections of the society predominantly continue to display a patriarchal tendency. So, perhaps, the slogan ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padao’ makes sense as we acknowledge that there is an issue of discrimination against the female child. However, it is not just that and goes much beyond the pink and blue colour choices.

Kids need to grow up as individuals who can express their character and creativity without any inhibitions. We, the older generation, are their role models, and they look up to us to shape their lives, thoughts, and behaviours. 

Grandparents are always special, and the kids pay more attention to what they say or do. Hence, we must adopt a gender-neutral approach to life, and this includes gifts. We unknowingly aid the set narrative if we continue to gift kitchen sets to girls and cars to boys. Girls can love cars and bikes too, and boys may well love cooking. So why not encourage a free-thinking individuality in the kids rather than forcing the societal notions on them? And this becomes especially important if your kids are adopting gender-neutral parenting. Not conflicting with this progressive approach is a good change.

Most parents encourage kids to do all household chores, irrespective of their gender. In addition, kids are allowed to choose their hobbies and careers without gender playing a role in it. If you follow the sport, you may have noticed that recently, cricket has adopted the term batter as against the batsman used earlier. This is a gender-neutral approach that aids in breaking stereotypes. Some brands are also trying to bring in this approach through their ads by having both partners participate in household chores or driving a delivery truck. 

Some gender-neutral gifting ideas

Among the advantages of going gender-neutral in gifting is that it provides you with a wide range of choices. In addition, it allows you to make the gifts more personal and acceptable. Some of the best gender-neutral gifting ideas are books, T-shirts, sweatshirts, mugs, water bottles, stationery, electronics, building blocks, puzzles, backpacks, watches, art kits, board games, plants, etc.

Some of these gifts, like attire and stationery, are easily personalized with the photos and messages of their choices. Most accessories can be customized to suit their likes and not gender. Eco-friendly gifts are a great choice as most kids nowadays are highly aware of climate change, etc. Some kids may be onto the vegan bandwagon as well. Hence, it is essential to look at their choices. With every such action of ours, we contribute to their open thinking and inclusive nature. The bottom line is to ensure that these kids grow up to be strong individuals who make life choices of their own, not based on societal stereotypes.

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