Soon they will be appearing online, in company newsletters, and on independent garden center blogs. In the countdown to Christmas and other winter holidays, gift list suggestions are as numerous as wreaths hung on doors. But in our industry, all too often, these listings are given the same title we’ve used for years: Gifts for Gardeners.
Truthfully, almost 20 years into the 21st century, we might as well be calling such lists Gifts For No One You Know.
For better or worse, the reality is that most people today don’t consider themselves gardeners. I can’t tell you how many people call my radio program and begin by saying, “I’m not a gardener, but…” and then continue to ask a question about their shrubs, lawn, window boxes or houseplants. No matter how old they are, most of our customers no longer define themselves as cultivators of plants even though they are indeed doing just that.
Accordingly, we need to make our holiday communications resonate with a broader audience. When writing a company newsletter, blog, or in-store promotion, I suggest that we should move beyond the pleasant alliteration of Gifts For Gardeners so that the general public will better identify with what we sell.
A gift list should be designed to solve problems. After all, people read such lists because they are looking for ideas. So, when crafting such a list for your company, start with the gift-giving dilemmas you have. Suggested titles to get you going include Gifts for People Who Have Everything, Gifts for Guys, or Last-Minute Gift Solutions. Once you have the title, think of how the plants and products you offer fit within that theme. How can you provide solutions for your customers?
Beyond the title, a green industry gift list can be suggestive and even entertaining in the way it’s written. Get personal and have fun with your suggestions. Here’s a list of examples I might write for my garden center’s blog. Note that after each suggestion, the blog should contain a photo of the plant or product that is recommended.
Your Gift-Giving Problem Solver
At [your company name here], we know that finding the perfect gift can be a challenge. Here’s a list to make your holiday shopping easier. If we haven’t included your hard-to-shop-for boss, relative or friend, stop into the store or shoot us an email so we can help you cross even the most perplexing person off your list.
For Your Organic-Only Sister
She only feeds her children organically grown produce and buys clothes made of organically grown cotton. This Christmas, give her the products she will feel good about using in her garden, as well. Fill a basket with a selection of organic fertilizers and problem-solvers.
For Your Foodie Friends
They are always on top of the latest trends in ingredients and cuisines. Since they appreciate delicious food, give them the freshest flavors this holiday season. A group of potted herbs for the kitchen window, a Meyer lemon tree or a Kaffir lime plant are the ideal presents for those with excellent culinary taste.
For Your Kid’s Teacher
Let your childrens' teachers know that you recognize that they are already looking forward to summer vacation. Give them a gift certificate to the garden center so that once May rolls around and the end is in sight, they can pick up the flowers that will bring them joy all summer long.
For Your Recently Retired Husband
He’s still at loose ends because he doesn’t have to go into the office every day. What he needs is a challenge. Give him the tools, seeds and fertilizer he can use to grow something big: giant pumpkins, extra-long carrots or the largest tomato on the block.
For The Assisted Living Resident
They don’t have much space or need any more stuff. But a fragrant plant can bring back pleasant memories and lift spirits in the darkest months of the year. A bowl filled with paperwhite Narcissus, or a winter-flowering jasmine plant will transform a small space this winter. (Note: if you live in another area, call us about scheduling a delivery of a seasonal, fragrant plant to your friend or family member on a regular basis throughout the year.)
For Your Nephew or Niece
Admit it. You take pride in being “the fun auntie.” You’re the one who takes them apple picking and lets them run wild with the glue and glitter. This holiday, indulge them with something green but edgy. Buy them a cactus collection, because who else would get a nine-year-old something with very sharp thorns? Carnivorous plants also appeal, so pick up a Venus flytrap or Pitcher plant. Or give them a huge jar, plants and accessories so they can plant their own terrarium jungle for plastic dinosaurs. If they are older, say in high school or college, consider a sophisticated succulent container. Millennials love succulents perhaps as much as their smart phones.
These are just a few ideas to get you started. Once you start thinking of specific people you and your customers will be buying for this year, you’ll have a new slant on your holiday gift suggestions.
Yes, we will always supply gifts for gardeners. But the public needs to be reminded that we also have present-giving solutions for everyone else.