Living Gifts Keep on Giving
Weary of giving (and receiving!) the same holiday gifts year after year? One solution is living gifts!
With a few supplies, a couple hours and a dose of creativity, you can craft unique, yet practical presents that keep on giving because they keep on living. Terrariums, container plantings and DIY soil-and-seed kits are not only fun to give, they’re fun to make.
Fantasy comes alive for children when they receive their own living gift, such as a miniature terrarium themed as fairy or troll garden. Find decorative pieces first, such as a brightly colored toadstool, fairy tea set or troll house, and then select complementing plants that set the stage for imagination. A nice selection of props is available at the Garden Shop at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden.
Lavish a tea drinker with flavorful herbs, such as mint, chamomile or lemon balm planted as living gifts in a decorative teapot. Cooks may enjoy a kitchen planter of Italian herbs, hot peppers or zesty spices. For the cat lover on your gift list, plant some catnip in a kitty-cat mug.
A business professional may enjoy a tabletop garden of living gifts for his or her desk. Easy-to-care-for plants may work best, such as miniature cacti, and small props can symbolize hobbies and interests.
Naturalists may welcome “landscapes-en-miniature” for indoor display. Evergreen seedlings provide year-round greenery, while tiny pinecones, acorns and dried seed pods tucked around the plant base add texture and interest.
A specialty glass embellished with the logo of a favorite restaurant or entertainment venue can be filled with soil and tiny plants as a living gift doubling lasting memento of good times shared.
If the recipient—not you—has the green thumb, consider giving a planting kit with amaryllis, paperwhite or narcissus bulbs, or a DIY planter accompanied by separate packages of pebbles, humus, fertilizer and seeds.
Such unique living gifts deserve unique presentations. Wrap or embellish the planting container with:
- freshly cut leaves, layered around the container and cinched with roping or holiday ribbon
- funky sock, leg warmer or stocking hat stretched over the container’s bottom and sides
- scrapbooking or homemade paper folded up the sides and secured with themed stickers
- ragged burlap accompanied by a raffia bow
- nature-themed scarf or bandanna
A personalized holiday greeting can be written on a:
- tiny chalkboard tucked in the arrangement
- seed pack tied to the bow
- miniature watering can or shovel from a craft store’s dollhouse aisle
For the final touch, pen a gardening quote on the reverse as a special remembrance.
Editor’s note: This article first published in The Richmond Times-Dispatch in December 2015.