house plant in a pot on windowsill

If you’re like most of us, you’re probably wondering what to give as a gift this holiday season. Houseplants or a bunch of flowers are a great way to generate positive feelings. That’s because contact with nature has a calming effect on everyone.

Plants improve mental health

Research shows that employees who work in offices with plants tend to feel better about their jobs, worry less, and take fewer sick days. So if you’re looking for an ideal gift for your care provider, give a plant as a gift this holiday season. Flowers in particular are a good pick-me-up. Give someone a bouquet and you’ll cheer them up right away. In fact, taking a bouquet of flowers or a potted plant to a loved one in the hospital can help them recover more quickly. You don’t need to go into nature if it’s too cold. Researchers found that people who had surgery got better faster if they had plants in their room. Patients tolerate pain better and need fewer medications when surrounded by greenery.

If you don’t want to give a plant as a gift, you can give lavender oil. This can be inhaled or massaged into the scalp. The scent of this purple plant has been used as a relaxant for centuries.

Plants improve your physical health

Here are some way in which plants can improve your physical health. Bet you never thought of them!

Add moisture. Houseplants add moisture to the air. One study found a collection of spider plants boosted the relative humidity in a bedroom from 20% to a more comfortable 30%. That’s especially important in winter because furnaces and air conditioners can sap humidity indoors. They also raise your chances for catching a cold or the flu, or make your skin itch. A spider plant is easy to take care of and grows almost by itself.

Purify the air. Houseplants are great at purifying the air. Carpets, paint, cleaners, printer toners and inks, and many other indoor objects give off pollutants called volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These irritants can build up in the air and irritate your eyes and skin, worsen your asthma, or make it hard for you to breathe. Give English ivy, asparagus fern, or dragon tree as a gift this holiday season.

Provide allergy relief. Researchers found that rooms with plants have less dust and mold than rooms without any greenery. Leaves and other parts of the plants act as natural filters to catch allergens and other airborne particles. While you’ll want to avoid plants with pollen or spores, plants like Chinese evergreen or the peace lily can be a great gift. Violets and other plants with textured leaves might be even better trappers.

Help with first aid. If you want a plant that you can use for first aid, think of aloe. The gel from this plant is a popular home remedy. It can treat sunburns and other minor burns. It can soothe your psoriasis and other skin conditions.

Whichever gift you choose to give, enjoy your holiday and know that your gift will make someone happy!