A beekeeping neighbor of ours once delighted my family with a holiday gift of lavender-infused honey and a beeswax candle. It’s been one of my favorite gifts ever. It was simple, humble, and charming. Not to mention just plain yummy. Gardeners have a special knack for keeping the old-fashioned tradition of homemade gift giving an ongoing pleasure. So, for you gardeners out there, we’ve put together a few gift ideas from a gardener that will keep the gardening spirit alive – even if the garden is buried beneath a foot of snow.
Heart Warming Food
If the fastest way to warm someone’s heart is through the stomach, then gardeners have a leg up. Vegetable or fruit gardeners often harvest enough to can and shelve a few extra jars of goodies for gift giving. Berry jams make great gifts along with homemade bread or rolls. Homegrown salsa or spaghetti with a bag of chips or pasta make gifts you can be sure friends will love. Even homemade applesauce is a gift that’s special, useful, and easy to make.
If you weren’t able to grow your own fruits or vegetables this year, you can still create homemade canned gifts. Trendy ideas for home canned gifts these days are homemade chocolate or caramel sauces. These decadent goodies aren’t homegrown, but the homemade nostalgia is still there. Add a couple of sundae cups and an ice cream scoop for a more complete themed gift idea.
For the past few years, my family and I have gone choke cherry picking. A dear friend of mine got us hooked on the picking and also on the syrup we make from the cherries. It’s a great treat for breakfast or for dessert, and the red syrup is very pretty in jars. While we didn’t grow the cherries on our own, they still made pretty homegrown gifts. Consider the wild things growing in your area that you can harvest and share. You probably want to avoid mushrooms just to be on the safe side.
We’ll be using our homegrown pumpkins as gifts this year. That’s right. If you’re one of our lucky friends, we’ll be driving by and throwing one your way! Surprise! Actually, I’ve cut the pumpkins into chunks, scraped out the seeds and strings, and steamed them. Then I removed the flesh from the skin and pureed the flesh in the blender. I filled Ziploc bags with 3 cups of the pumpkin puree and placed the bags in the freezer. I picked out a favorite pumpkin recipe, and I’ll attach the recipe to the frozen bag of puree when it’s time to deliver our gifts this holiday season. Food is love.
Gifts That Keep On Giving
If you consider food to be a too-short-lived-gift, plant sharing is always appreciated by gardening enthusiasts. Succulents are a trending plant right now. They are low maintenance indoor plants, and there are many hardy varieties to choose from. Some can be transplanted for permanent outdoor use or for container plants you can move inside and outside depending on the weather. Christmas cactus is a special succulent variety that blooms just in time for Christmas each year.
Other festive plants for holidays gifts include evergreen trees, like blue spruce, and shrubs such as American holly. Poinsettias, amaryllis, and paper whites can be given as bright, short term sentiments of cheer, but they can also be planted outdoors in some areas to be enjoyed year after year. Some true plant lovers can even coax an indoor poinsettia plants and the holiday bulb bloomers to bloom annually. It takes a lot of dedication and determination, but it can be done.
Plant giving should always be done thoughtfully, because plants aren’t for everyone. For example, even though I really love plants, a gift of something more to take care of and keep alive wouldn’t really be a gift at this time in my life. On the other hand, my sweet little granny loves to feel needed, and a plant would be something for her to love every day.
Keep it Simple
Sometimes simple is the most meaningful. You really don’t have to maintain a lavender garden or a hive of bees to give impressive gardening gifts. A few of my favorite gardening pals will receive little homemade seed packets this year. I saved seeds from some pumpkins and heirloom tomatoes this past fall, and when the season rolls round again – the gardening season that is – they will have a bit of a jump on their gardens. Until then, we’ll enjoy the happy holiday season to its simplest, and we hope you will too!