It’s the day before Mother’s Day, and of course, like everybody else, you want to get your mom –the most common, most unimaginative, most cliché gift ever– flowers. You and your dad sneak out of the house like two little mice, in hopes to obtain a bouquet of flowers, not cheese. After driving to the nearest grocery store, you quickly dash to the flower section, your father not too far behind you. “Hurry up! Pick one that is not too expensive!” he says. You quickly browse through the price tags, looking for the cheapest but still somewhat alluring bouquet of flowers. To your dismay, all of the blossoms are pricey, so you choose the cheapest one. Later in the day, you present the bouquet to your mom. She smiles and thanks you, only to put the flowers in a vase, and not pay any more attention to them. They die almost as quickly as they are forgotten. Flowers might be known as the most romantic gift ever, but does that status make it a good gift?
Many people believe that flowers are a good gift because for many many years, these beautiful blossoms have been a universal symbol of love, and have been known as the most romantic gift ever. Everybody gives their loved ones flowers during holidays to show their affection and bolster their relationship, and nobody puts any thought into a more unique present that comes from the heart. Because of this, flowers have become hands down the most unoriginal gift ever. Cliché and romance come in a package, yet in this case, one of those elements overrides the other. Neither the recipient nor the gift-giver would be proud of such an unoriginal gift. To illustrate this, according to ProFlowers, around 110 million roses are sold in the US during Valentine’s Day. This means that around 30% of the population buys flowers for the holiday. Presents that symbolize love should be unique to each individual person. Flowers are from a store that anyone could go to, so anybody could buy the exact same flower. Moreover, people are more proud of giving a gift that they put a lot of time and effort into. Everyone can agree that driving to the grocery store does not show much time and effort. I would definitely say that even though cliché and romance come hand in hand, it seems as if the bad side of flowers shows through more than the good side does.
Another reason that flowers are not the best gift is that they die and are forgotten quickly, yet they cause havoc to the environment. For instance, regular roses live for an average of only a week. But from personal experience, I know that flowers become a decoration on display and tend to be forgotten after a couple hours. Another similar example is from my friend, Ashley, who remembers one time when she received a bouquet of flowers. Ashley told me that she instantly put them in a vase and forgot about them. They died two days later, but they weren’t really missed. Ashley’s flower experience shows that I’m not the only who thinks this way. It is clear that giving flowers to someone is not an action that resonates in their heart. Nobody seems to really love these bouquets as a gift. So, why is there such a demanding threat on Mother Nature for these ephemeral blossoms? According to Jennifer Grayson, an environmental journalist for the Washington Post, “up to 80 percent of the 5.6 billion stems of flowers sold in the United States each year are imported. Of those, 93 percent are grown thousands of miles away in production greenhouses in Colombia or Ecuador. And it takes an awful lot of energy and artificial tinkering to keep those flowers fresh.” Flowers are originally soaked in toxic chemicals, thus making them not only harmful towards the environment, but the people working around there too. Afterwards, to preserve the blossoms while they are shipped, they are kept in high energy-wasting refrigerated warehouses and displays(Grayson). The environment already faces enough struggles. Producing a plethora amount of flowers that will soon end up dying and getting forgotten is not something that should be a problem.
Finally, everybody assumes that a girl likes flowers; a common stereotype is that girls treasure these bouquets. This causes many people to believe flowers are the perfect gift for girls. For example, nobody would ever think of giving my brother flowers. As for me, I always receive bouquets for occasions, although nobody asked me if that was what I wanted. Why? I’m a girl who should adore these beautiful blossoms. After all, everybody quotes, “flowers are a girl’s best friend.” But after polling my friends on their prefered gift, it turns out that only one person prefered the floral arrangement. So, what was a more favorable present? Many respondents seemed to find cookies and chocolate more impressive. Teachers all tell us to try to get rid of stereotypes. Presenting a girl an unsolicited bouquet is basically a hidden way of saying, “you are a girl so you have to like flowers.” If someone did say something along those lines to your face, you would be pretty offended. Everyone has their own unique personality, and nobody should assume they would enjoy a certain gift because of a stereotype. A bouquet of flowers might come with a smile, but with no feeling behind it, the blossoms are just based on a stereotypical assumption.
Flowers are everybody’s go to gift, but with a deeper analysis, these bouquets may not seem as pleasant as we thought they were. If you veer away from the flower aisle the next time you go to the grocery store to get your loved one a gift, you may find new discoveries that you wouldn’t have made if you stuck with the standard. Perhaps you’ll make her a very nice card with a beautiful necklace. Maybe you’ll bake her cookies with a special recipe that you invented yourself. When you give the gift to her, no matter what it is, you’ll be satisfied with the wide grin that spreads across her face and lights up the room. Even if it’s not perfect, your loved one will still treasure the gift because you put the time and effort to show that you care about her. Flowers may be a charming superficial decoration, but a gift that someone truly appreciates is one that touches the heart.