I love being given fresh flowers. I rarely buy them for myself and so it's a real treat to have something beautiful in the house. Small thoughtful gifts are also lovely. Once when my husband was travelling away on business he hid a large bar of chocolate in a cupboard before he left. He then texted me to let me know where to find the surprise.
I have discovered that this is a cultural thing. Asian neighbours did not like receiving cut flowers as they believed that dead flowers in the house (and I suppose once they are cut they are dying)was bad luck. Being of a superstitious nature myself, I now tend to give potted plants as gifts and appreciate them more than bunches of flowers.
During special occasions like birthday, it's common sense to give people something. You can't say that it's a waste of money and forget about it. A gift is versatile, so if you want to save on money, a card or something handmade would be good.
Love it all. The bunch of fresh flowers my man brought me last week, have lasted even longer than the one's I brought myself a day earlier. Gifts are nice too. We have decided to go full out for each other this Christmas. I am buying him a beautiful piece of art for his home, while he is buying me a new Ted Baker wallet :)