Gifts — Cash or kind? | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 21, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, January 21, 2020

penny wise

Gifts — Cash or kind?

Cash gifts are still considered tacky, but many nowadays opt for that than a piece of jewellery, or any other material item. Historically in our subcontinent, wealth was measured by gold or land. Money had no fixed value, and therefore, not considered a good gift.

Not too long ago, we were celebrating a friend’s birthday party and I asked her what present she would like. She was extremely candid and I admire her for that. She said she would like cash, whatever the amount maybe. She also mentioned it would be so nice if everyone would give her money, the envelopes carrying the cash could remain anonymous so that there was no pressure as to who gave what. What a brilliant idea I thought!

 Similarly, in my opinion, newlyweds should also be given cash. There is always this pressure amongst close relatives to outdo one another in giving jewellery sets, each more expensive than the other. The sets are normally placed on display before the wedding day and everyone is told who has given what. It can be extremely embarrassing, and in my opinion, in poor taste!

 When our two daughters got married several years ago, they also got jewellery sets from us as per our custom. Till this date, the sets are lying with me, as they are not interested in wearing any.

 What a waste of money! I have become wiser now, and I think all of us should.  

 If we are to give gifts, be it for a wedding, ‘aqiqa’ or a birthday, we should always ask ourselves, should it be ‘cash or kind.’

 In my opinion, it is far better and more thoughtful to give cash than gifts. This way, especially for newlyweds, the money can be used to open savings accounts which, in time, can grow, or can be used for buying things the couple need or desire.

 Contemporary couples are not seeking an exorbitant pile of presents on their big day (which would ultimately contain six kettles, two toasters, and a variety of tea sets and glasses).

 Modern newlyweds are realistic about their wishes and would much prefer a cash gift that can support their upcoming needs or aspirations. 

 The question then, is how does a bridal couple let guests know that they prefer money instead of gifts. It is a difficult situation because you do not want to be rude by bluntly asking for cash. However, if this is your preference, and rightfully so, you enlist the help of your family and friends to pass the word around. There is no shame in being honest, because eventually, you will benefit.

 To keep the family dramas at a minimum, a simple cash registry will ensure there is no gift competition. It allows guests to anonymously contribute, without other guests receiving any information of their donation amount. Less pressure equals more comfort for your friends and family.

 Ultimately you can choose what to spend the money on.

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