Are cash gifts tacky or ideal?

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When faced with a gift list a mile long and no idea what to get certain individuals on that list, many holiday shoppers opt to give cash as a present. Cash gifts are easy, one-size-fits all and no one will request a receipt to return a cash gift.

Still, some people are not quite sure if it is socially acceptable to give a gift of cash. There are many pros and cons to giving cash as a gift.

Advantages

One of the advantages to giving cash is it eliminates waste. Unlike gifts that will never be used and simply take up space, cash will be used sooner or later. How often have you received a sweater you won’t wear or a trinket you won’t use?

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Sometimes people return these gifts, but very often they get relegated to a pile of belongings that will end up in the garbage or stashed in the back of a closet. Cash eliminates this waste by giving a person the opportunity to buy exactly what he or she wants.

Cash gifts may be ideal for older people to give because they have limited mobility and cannot get out to the store to shop for presents. And grandparents unaware of the latest trends can give cash in a card and instruct grandchildren to purchase something they like.

Some people overextend themselves during the holiday season, and a cash gift can soften the blow of holiday spending. Cash is very portable, which can make it easier for those who travel for the holidays to avoid shipping costs or extra baggage fees to take gifts on airlines.

People are inundated with a lot of stuff already, and a cash gift might be just what the doctor ordered.

Disadvantages

Cash gifts may be considered impersonal and lacking in creativity. It does not take much effort to stash a dollar amount inside of an envelope and present it, so gift recipients may question their relationships with gift givers who give cash.

For many people, the excitement of the holidays has a lot to do with seeing a giant pile of gifts waiting to be unwrapped. Gifting cash removes that excitement of presents under the tree.

Although items can be purchased later on, the immediate gratification of tearing through boxes and bags simply is not there.

Some people find it awkward to receive cash because the value of the gift is right there in black and white. It puts both people on the spot and may create some uncomfortable moments if the value of a cash gift does not match up to what the cash recipient spent on the cash giver.

When gifting standard gifts, many people are unaware of what the other spent and if the item was purchased on a discount. If you gift with cash, there is no hiding the value. Another disadvantage is if a person gives cash and receives cash in return. Do the two gifts cancel each other out? What if the amounts are different?

Dealing in cash alone can be awkward. There are ways to make giving cash a little more acceptable. If you get creative when handing over the money, this may take away from the fact that cash does not make a very dramatic gift.

* Try pairing the cash with a wallet or purse to make the presentation a little more interesting.

* Send the recipient on a scavenger hunt for the money, writing clues and hiding them around the house.

* Create a money tree or wreath that displays the cash in an interesting way.

* Fold bills into bows or tape together to make wrapping paper for a small token gift.

* For children, roll up bills and put it into a crayon box or pencil case.

* Fill up a large box with a lot of filler and hide the cash inside of a smaller box tucked inside. 

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