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grape leaf vine on wooden trellis
I think of my grandmother every time I see this vine, which give me plenty of grape leaves to make dolmades, a Greek dish I adore.

When it comes to giving gifts, I’ve turned a new leaf (no pun intended) and started thinking about giving plants instead of more of the unnecessary trinkets we all seem to have too many of.

One thing that inspired me was a grape leaf vine sprig given to me by my mother a while back that was taken from a huge vine in her backyard. That vine began as a clipping taken from my grandmother’s original vine at her home in Greece. I love this reminder of my Yiayia so much that I planted it in my herb bed. It’s growing beautifully, and it’s one of the best gifts I’ve ever received.

My grandmother’s grape vine isn’t the only cherished plant on our property. We also have all sorts of trees that we’ve planted in honor of various family members. It’s fun to watch them grow and be reminded of that particular grandparent or child when they blossom each year (something none of those trinkets I mentioned can do). So it makes sense that such trees would make meaningful gifts as well. I had that in mind this past Christmas when I was in charge of selecting the class gift for my daughter Sophia’s teacher. I chose a dogwood tree, thinking that it would be a wonderful reminder of her past students for years to come. She was delighted.

My future plant gifts won’t just be trees, though. Potted vegetables and herbs also make wonderful gifts to share. A pot or hanging basket of basic herbs like parsley, mint, and basil, for example, is easy to care for and would be a thoughtful present for anyone who likes to cook or eat or just see something beautiful each day. Plus, almost any kind of plant creates an opportunity for the person who receives it to spend more time outdoors – and we all could use a little more of that.

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and then of course there are birthdays, holidays, hostess gifts…all perfect opportunities to give gifts that will truly delight instead of adding more clutter.


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