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This year at Eid, less is more; huge tokras of mithai, fruit baskets, and cream cakes are passé (and expensive). This is the year to give small, yet tasteful Eid gifts that carry your personal touch.

Create your own Eid gift platter by decorating it with dainty portions of gourmet chocolate or bite-sized sweetmeats like cashew nuts or almond barfi.

Or, create a gift hamper filled with interesting goodies such as roasted and spiced almonds, cashews and pistachios; these are generally pricey but you can save on cost by preparing them at home (recipes easily available on the internet). Candied or dry fruits, homemade nimko, and even homemade fennel and coconut mixtures (paan masala) in small individual packets make interesting gift hamper fillers.

You can also send out cupcakes – currently a very fashionable dessert. You can order elaborately decorated ones at most bakeries, and some vendors take online orders via their Facebook pages. But if you are handy in the kitchen, why not bake a batch yourself?

Remember, presentation is of utmost importance. Send your sweet treats in ceramic platters or trays, or artfully arrange them in cane baskets; these are a part of your gift and are available at reasonable prices in wholesale markets.

Line the platters/baskets with confetti, crepe paper or doilies and wrap them in cellophane. There is a wide variety of printed cellophane, satin and organza ribbons, net, artificial flowers, beads and baubles in the market that can be creatively used to create packaging and decorations with a personal touch.

Remember, Eid is less than a week away, so best get started on your gifts now.
Eid Mubarak in advance!

— Leila Mahfooz Barry

First published in the Adbuzzzz Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on Sep 5, 2010.