Do you really have to buy Christmas presents for everyone? Can't you just give cash?
It's a thought that has occurred to us all as we spend hours shopping, wrapping and sending gifts each year. Of course in many cases we want to give something meaningful to our nearest and dearest, but what about those who are less near - or less dear?
Traditionally giving cash is frowned on. The idea of giving a gift is that you have put thought and care into choosing the ideal present - so giving cash is the living embodiment of your lack of care and thought.
However, there are five reasons why this may be an outdated notion.
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See also: Christmas gift ideas for grandparents
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1. They'll get what they want
If we don't know them terribly well, we'll end up agonising for hours, and then buying something they don't really want. Surely it's far better to put the cash in their hands and let them decide.
2. They're not restricted as they would be with a voucher
There are those who would argue that gift vouchers are a better option - because it shows you put at least a bit of thought into it. However, you are immediately limiting how they can spend the cash
3. You are teaching kids valuable lessons
If you give cash to children, they have to make a reasonable spending decision - possibly with a bigger budget than they are used to. It's a great way to show them the importance of thinking their spending through.
4. You could be helping them out
The one things most people are short of by Christmas Day is cash. Of course ideally they will buy themselves a fab gift with the money you give them, but if they need to use it to sort a cash flow crisis in the short term - and get themselves something nice after pay day - then you've given them a double-whammy of a gift.
5. It can go further
Why buy something at full price when you can give them the cash and they can get twice as much in the Boxing Day sales?
Make it meaningful
Of course, the argument that cash is a bit impersonal still stands, so it's worth thinking how you can give cash in a more meaningful way. There are endless options, but here are five of our favourites:
1. You could buy a clear plastic bauble and push a £5 or £10 note inside.
2. For younger children, you could roll money up, and push it inside a balloon, then blow the balloon up and wrap it.
3. You could roll up a note, stick it to the front of a card, and add a paper flame - which makes a change from finding money inside a card
4. If you were planning to give coins instead, then you can draw a Christmas tree on your card and use the coins as baubles.
5. Alternatively, you could take a roll of coins, wrap some striped paper around it, then wrap again with cellophane - to make it look like a stick of rock.