Birthday Gift Inspiration Finder

Posted by on January 9, 2013

© bigshotd3 – Fotolia

When you’re stumped for a birthday gift, inspiration may be no farther away than the local flower shop. For centuries, a different flower has been associated with each month of the year. There are some variations (for example, in the U.K. April’s flower is the Sweet Pea; in the U.S. it’s the Daisy), but the list below show gives the typical flower-to-month associations.

No one knows for sure how or who started the associations, although it is believed the Romans first used flowers as gifts. Since most of the flowers associated with each month are naturally plentiful in that month, this is a likely origin of the tradition.

So, how does one turn a flower into a gift? The typical thought might be to present the birthday recipient with a bouquet of the representative flower, and that may be the best route to go in some situations. Online floral retailers like and have search engines where you can enter the flower you’re looking for and see only those arrangements that include that particular flower. This is a great way to give a gift from afar or at the last minute. (Guys, I’ve not met a woman yet who doesn’t love getting flowers at work!)

But think beyond the vase, and give thought to the flower’s appearance, color and scent. Use these attributes as an inspiration point. Look for a fragrance featuring the flower, or a luxurious item like a silk scarf or cashmere gloves in the same color as the flower. For October birthdays, I suggested making a gift basket with Calendula tea and marigold-colored stoneware mugs. Also, several fine porcelain manufacturers create beautiful home accessories painted with birth month flowers.

Or, consider the flower’s meaning. Yes, meaning. In the early 18th century, the “language of flowers” became popular in England with many books written on the subject. Every bloom held meaning, and every nosegay told a story. Even the color of the flower could project its own meaning. In the chart below I’ve included some of the most popular meanings for each flower. Use these meanings to spark a gift idea. For example, for a January birthday, consider a golden horseshoe pendant, a symbol of good luck, as the carnation too symbolizes good luck.

Month Flower Meanings
January Carnation Love, fidelity, admiration, good luck
February Violet/Crocus Modesty, simplicity, peace
March Daffodil Rebirth, unrequited love, vanity
April Daisy Innocence, loyal love, gentleness
May Lily of the Valley Happiness, humility and sweetness
June Rose Love, gratitude, appreciation
July Larkspur Joyful, fickleness, sweet
August Gladiolus Integrity, sincerity
September Aster Thoughts, aspirations (literally “star” in Latin)
October Calendula (Marigold) Hopefulness, grace, sun
November Chrysanthemum Cheerfulness, friendship, abundance
December Holly Sweetness, self-esteem










Gifts inspired by a memory, an object, a thought or even the recipient herself can benefit from a personalized note to reinforce the meaning behind the gift. Click here for tips on writing a gift note.

Happy gifting!