If chillies weren't so delicious (in small amounts, unless you love dragon's breath) we'd grow them for their beauty. A chilli bush in full fruit is a stunning plant: bright green leaves and even brighter red fruit that hangs there for months.
As I write this I'm looking out at our beds of perennial chillies bushes that I planted years ago and have borne fruit every summer since. There are lipstick chillies, long and rich red, and bell peppers that start out green, turn yellow then orange then red, and are so stunning that I often pick a few branches to put in a vase indoors, instead of flowers.
Our kitchen has a garland of chillies above the stove, so I can pluck one or two for cooking. Actually, I almost never do it's easier to pick a fresh one and we don't actually eat a lot of chilli. But they look beautiful against the white wall far more decorative than a garland of garlic and a good present, by the way, if you want to give homemade Christmas gifts this year. Just put on gloves (this is important, and don't wipe your eyes or other sensitive bits either, or you'll feel that dragon's breath for hours or even days exactly where you don't want it. Also take the gloves off to blow your nose).
Now thread a needle, put a knot in the end and thread on the red ripe chillies. Hang up anywhere in a draught for a few days to dry. I hang ours on a curtain rod, as the bathroom is a bit damp for good drying. Then present to your friends.
Chillies are extraordinarily simple to grow. They tolerate drought and heat and while birds may eat a few, they aren't as attractive as say an orange tree or even a tree full of cumquats. (If you are blessed/cursed with a big mob of bower birds who develop a taste for them you may never again see a whole, unpecked, red chilli again. That is, unless you cover the bushes with netting now and then. Don't cover them all the time, but long enough to persuade the birds that there are your bushes, not their supermarkets.)
Ask your local nursery for perennial chillies, if possible, so you don't need to plant them every year. In frost-free climates plant them anywhere a hedge of chillies is glorious. In frosty climates grow them in a pot on the patio or courtyard or even take them indoors in the worst of winter and keep by a sunny window.
Most of the punnets of chillies you buy are from annual chillies. In other words, they give a big crop from summer to autumn, then die down in winter. If you are a chilli fancier, then it's fun to grow these, too, as there are hundreds of different varieties, all with their own taste and heat level although you may only find three or four varieties in most nurseries or seed catalogues.
Chilli does best in sunny, well-drained, fertile soil. They need about five months of hot weather to crop. Sow seed in spring, or plant bushes any time.
The chillies can be harvested at any time, too you don't have to wait for green ones to turn red, or even to get to full size. But the riper chillies are the sweeter or hotter they'll be, and the longer they will last when dried.
Ripe homegrown chillies tend to be fleshier, too, and have more complex flavours. Somehow even chilli con carne or chutneys taste better with home-grown chillies you get flavour as well as heat. Very ripe chillies are also easier to peel. Put them in the oven on high for 10 minutes or until starting to char, then in a plastic bag or plastic container. Leave to cool, then wash off the skins and seeds. But again if they are hot, wear gloves. Concentrated essence of chilli doesn't just taste hot, it can burn eyes and blister skin.
The only chilli I'd avoid eating are the multicoloured ones. They are not only incredibly hot, but also seem to blister your mouth with more than just heat. Grow them as ornamentals, but grow others red, green, orange or yellow or even purple for eating.
Feed and water your chillies well. The better they're fed, the sooner you'll get chillies and the bigger and better your bush will be. But your potted chilli will still be alive if you go on holiday for two weeks, as long as you water well before you go and perhaps move the pot to a cooler spot until you get back.
Chillies can also be frozen successfully. Just remove the desired quantity from the freezer when you need them they are really easy to slice when they are still frozen. Freezing is especially good for fat, green chillies that otherwise would wither quite quickly if they weren't used promptly.
Chillies can also be added to strings of garlic for extra colour or can be strung into garlands of flowers with bright yellow marigolds for harvest festivals and other festivities of fertility, or added to any wreath of dried flowers. Try hanging fresh or dried chillies on your Christmas tree.
Enjoy their brightness, their hardiness, and their heat and flavour. Just don't forget those gloves.