Guide to Gift Giving: Cash Baby Cash!
“Oh, your mother is silly!” exclaimed Grandma in an exacerbated voice. She remembered how 40 years ago she had also forbid Mira’s mother from asking for cash. But what a mistake that was! She had accumulated 40 years of presents she didn’t want and now her daughter was doing it all over again!
“There is absolutely nothing wrong in asking for cash and giving cash” said Grandma quite matter-of-factly. “People can use cash to buy whatever they want and you don’t have to spend time wondering what to get for them. It’s truly the best possible present if you don’t know what they really want.”
Grandma went on to tell the kids that cultures all over the world give gifts of cash to celebrate birthdays, festivals and even weddings! In fact, throughout most of Asia, this is the norm.
“But, how much cash should we give then?” asked Teyus He was always broke because all of his hard earned allowance was spent on candy.
“Remember the rule Teyus! Spend as little as you can to make both you and the person receiving the gift happy. So, if all you can afford is a loonie (a loonie is just a fancy term Canadians use for their $1 coin), then tell them this is to buy a donut or to play a few games of pinball. They would be quite happy with that and you would be happy that you didn’t spend more than you could.
“So, we can give money to our friends when we go for play dates?” asked Mira. She was quite amused at the idea but secretly relieved she wasn’t being sent to friends’ houses with yet more dollar store items.
“Those horrible hostess gifts!” said Grandma shaking her head. She hated giving them and receiving them. Of all the social norms from Queen Victoria which did not make sense, this was the most useless!
“Your friend’s parents would find it strange if you offered a dollar as a gift every time you visited their daughter!” Grandma said smiling. Mira and Teyus burst out laughing at the thought of giving a loonie every time they visited someone.
Grandma continued, “Perhaps, you can make them some cookies, or take a toy to share with them. Anything that will actually make the visit more enjoyable and less awkward for anyone.”
The children nodded, all of this made sense.