With Christmas just around the corner, you might be starting to work on your gift list for friends and family. While you could go for the ol’ standby gifts like slippers, jewelry, games etc., you could also consider a living gift that keeps on giving all year round.
Giving a plant for a gift is a great way to celebrate life, happiness, and friendships. There are numerous low maintenance, health-promoting plants that are a beautiful addition to any home and don’t require their recipient to have a super green thumb.
11 Houseplants That Make Great Holiday Gifts
Lavender looks great, smells great and has powerful, therapeutic properties that have been recognized since ancient times. Giving a lavender plant for Christmas is an amazing gift for your busy friends who need to relax and smell the flowers a bit.
Research has confirmed that lavender has a calming impact on the nervous system and even act as a sedative when inhaled. Studies also show that inhaling lavender vapor can prevent oxidative damage to the brain and improve cognitive performance. Some people say that just rubbing a few lavender leaves together can help relieve the pain associated with a headache.
Not only is lavender therapeutic but it is also a desirable culinary herb. Lavender buds add an enticing flavor to baked goods including muffins, bread, cookies as well as butter, syrups, and spreads.
Related Reading: 26 Reasons You Should Consider Growing Lavender
2. Holy Basil
Holy basil, also known as tulsi, is an extraordinarily appropriate gift for the culinary lovers on your gift list. The leaves of this ancient spice are aromatic, have a peppery flavor and it is an important spiritual herb in India. According to herbalist and acupuncturist Michelle Polk, “Holy basil is one of the most sacred plants in India and has incredible significance, spiritually and health-wise.”
According to a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, holy basil helps encourage antioxidant activity in the body which slows down DNA damage and aging and helps prevent cancer risk.
Holy basil is also a good source of vitamin K which is an essential fat-soluble vitamin that is integral in bone health and heart health. Just one cup of basil leaves contains more than the daily recommended value of vitamin K. This vitamin is also beneficial for brain function, bone density, and digestive health.
This plant is a great gift for friends who are trying to reduce their caffeine intake. Tulsi tea is a popular drink that is consumed frequently in India in place of coffee.
Rosemary is a woody, perennial shrub that also grows well in containers. It has numerous health benefits which include the ability to boost memory, reduce inflammation, relieve pain, reduce anxiety and protect the immune system. This fragrant herb can also help stimulate circulation, detoxify the body, prevent premature aging, remedy skin conditions and protect the body from bacterial infections. Rosemary leaves fresh or dried are great for flavoring for meat, stuffing, and Italian dishes. It can also be steeped in an herbal tea to help ease digestion and headaches.
Giving rosemary as a gift is seen as a token of love and remembrance and rosemary is often shaped into small trees making it perfect for Christmas cheer.
Related Reading: 20 Brilliant Ways To Use Rosemary
4. Aloe Vera
This attractive succulent is very fond of neglect, making it the perfect companion for a busy friend without a green thumb! Different than other plants, it prefers poor and dry soil and can go for weeks without needing an encouraging word! The medicinal values of aloe vera have been well documented an date back at least 6,000 years. The most familiar benefit is its ability to accelerate the healing of burns. As a kitchen companion, this plant can really pull its weight. Immediate burn and wound relief lie just inside its leaves. The sticky gel inside the leaves also has a calming impact on skin inflammation and itchiness. Some people use aloe to a sunburn as well.
There is also healing power in the yellow pulp that is under the outer part of the leaf. Aloe latex has been found to be a good remedy for constipation when taken orally. One study found that drinking two tablespoons o ale vera juice daily for two weeks helped to lower blood sugar levels in people who had type 2 diabetes.
Related Reading: 9 Reasons To Rub Aloe Vera Gel On Your Face, Skin & Hair
5. Peace Lilly
For friends and family who live in dry climates, a Peace Lilly plant is an amazing Christmas gift. Not only are they extraordinarily beautiful but they are very low maintenance and can help promote humidity. This elegant plant with a sweet fragrance also made it to the list for a NASA study that looked at clean air plants. This beauty can cleanse toxins from the air including ammonia, benzene, formaldehyde, and richloroethylene.
Chili plants are exceptionally healthy and also seasonally relevant with their shiny red fruit. Just a couple of plants will produce an abundance of fresh and delicious chillis for several months. Chili plants are as decorative as they are functional and look great in any sunny windowsill. Chili peppers contain a bioactive plant compound called capsaicin, which gives it a spicy kick.
Not only this but capsaicin, an antioxidant, also causes an endorphin rush that allows the compound to be an effective remedy for pain and other conditions. It is used for a fix for arthritis and pain associated with neuropathy and can even boost immunity. Chili peppers contain beta-carotene which the body converts to vitamin A which helps protect the body from dangerous pathogens. Vitamin C in chilis promotes white blood cells to fights germs.
Orchids are not just magically beautiful, they are also highly beneficial. These tropical treasures are well known in the alternative medicine world for therapeutic properties. Dendrobium orchids have been found to strengthen eyesight, boost immune function and possess powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Cymbidium orchids are often used to increase fertility in men and women. Vanda orchids have been known to reduce fevers, remedy arthritis and ease bronchitis. The stems and bulbs are often dried for medicinal use and the flower can also be dried and made into a tea. The root of the plant contains powerful antimicrobials and essential oils. However, using orchids for health must be done with great caution and only by those who are skilled in this area. For this reason, giving an orchid as a gift is about lifting the spirits of a friend through its immense beauty. Every time one looks at an orchid, they can’t help but feel warm and happy. Orchids are easy to care for, long lasting and very personal as there are so many types and colors to choose from.
8. English Ivy
English ivy is equally at home in a cute basket as it is in a retro tin making it very easy to personalize. It can also be trained as a climber which further adds to its versatility. English ivy will brighten up any low light area in the home and does not require extensive care to perform. English ivy is a popular natural remedy for removing mold spores in the home. If you have a friend who is sensitive to mold and has allergies, English ivy makes a great holiday gift.
Who can resist the grand splendor of a fern? There are a variety of fern types that do well indoors with the most popular being Lemon Button, Maidenhair, Rabbit’s Foot, Fiddlehead and Boston.
Traditionally, ferns symbolize sincerity towards others and can also hope that the recipient has confidence, shelters, wealth and happiness. Fiddlehead ferns make a suitable gift for your friends that like to cook. Fiddleheads are a good source of protein and zinc as well as vitamins A, C, potassium, calcium and phosphorous. Maidenhair ferns have traditionally been made into a tea to suppress coughs and ease nasal congestion. However, just like orchids, ingesting ferns must only be done by those who are knowledgeable about their use. Caution must also be used as many greenhouse grown ferns may contain various herbicides etc.
Boston ferns, probably the most popular of the group listed above, are efficient air cleaners and can even trap and eliminate formaldehyde – often found in furniture and carpets – from the air. All ferns are just happy, easy to care for plants that will make any recipient happy to have one.
Your herb loving friends will enjoy receiving plants in the mint family as a gift this Christmas.
Spearmint contains vitamins, antioxidants, and vital nutrients and has a sweet aroma no one can resist. Sweeter tasting than peppermint, spearmint is often used to flavor teas, desserts, smoothies, salads and more. Besides being incredibly cute in any windowsill, spearmint also has some valuable medicinal properties. Along with peppermint, spearmint is often used as a digestive aid and is popular during pregnancy to ease nausea.
Spearmint contains more than 100% of the daily recommended amount of iron which can help stimulate the production of red blood cells and hemoglobin while increasing circulation to the extremities and boosting energy levels. Menthol, the most potent ingredient in spearmint has a calming effect on the body and reduces anxiety and eases the mind.
Buy It: Live Spearmint Plants @ Amazon
Sage, native to southern Europe and the Mediterranean, is an aromatic herb with beautiful and soft grayish-green leaves. Sage is very closely related to rosemary – so much so in fact that they are often referred to as sister herbs. Sage has tremendous health benefits including its ability to recharge the immune system, reduce inflammation, moderate digestion, strengthen bones, alleviate skin conditions and prevent diabetes.
Sage is held sacred by many Native American cultures and is thought to have restorative and cleansing properties. Sage is a wonderful culinary herb that is traditionally used to add flavor to stuffings, cured meats, sausages, and pork dishes. Sage is drought tolerant, easy to care for and looks sweet in small pots in any sunny window.
Related Reading: 4 Reasons To Grow Sage & 20 Ways To Use It