Spicing Up Your Traditional Gift Exchange with Creative Cash

Every year for the past few years my siblings and I have decided that we each take a turn deciding what us siblings do for our gift exchange at Christmas.

This year was my turn and I had the light bulb moment early on in the year of what I thought we should do. It is both practical and impractical. Meaningful and meaningless. And. It. Is. Awesome.

I introduce to you a new way to do gift exchanges that I am simply titling ‘Creative Cash Gift Exchange.’

I had every sibling and spouse get $40 cash and wrap it creatively. Then at our family Christmas party, we drew names and exchanged our creative cash. We had ours early this year, so I got to see this idea unfold to all I had hoped it would be and more. At the heart of it all through the laughter and awe, it was a Christmas memory we will be keeping for a long time. Each of us got back the $40 we gave, so no money was lost. And even though the gifts were cash, there was a lot of time, effort and creativity involved.

This year was my turn and I had the light bulb moment early on in the year of what I thought we should do. It is both practical and impractical. Meaningful and meaningless. And. It. Is. Awesome.

One sibling made a Christmas tree ornament out of dental stone with the money trapped inside. Another blew up 40 small balloons with a loonie inside each one. There was money hidden in party crackers and glue gunned to the nines. There was a frozen jug of water with nickels and dimes trapped inside. Five-dollar bills were wrapped in an entire roll of plastic wrap, and more hilarious gifts were exchanged. It was so fun to see the surprised expressions and to watch each other try to retrieve all the money from the gift.

This is your memory maker gift exchange, and I felt the need to spread the word about it. So, below are the details for having your own ‘Creative Cash Gift Exchange.’

How it works:

A set amount of money is declared some odd days prior to gift exchange e.g. $40. Each person then wraps $$ cash creatively and brings it to the holiday party. You may want to state a rule that the money has to be able to be opened within a week’s time or less with minimal tools required.

All names are written on a piece of paper and placed into a hat at the exchange. One by one they draw a name. If they draw themselves or their spouse they have to redraw. The person who they draw then gives them their ‘creative cash’ and all watch in excitement as they open it. This continues until all names are drawn and everyone has had their turn exchanging and opening their gift.

And, everyone walks away with the same amount of money they came in with which makes it both frugal and practical.

Sample ideas:

  • Place money in Jell-O
  • Arrange small change on a poster board and secure with clear packing tape
  • Bake money into a cake
  • Place money into a glass jar and super glue the lid on
  • Put it inside of a ridiculously large box filled with Styrofoam peanuts

Why it’s awesome:

It’s hilarious and creates lasting memories. It involves thought and effort. A sense of pride and creativity are inspired as each thinks of how to wrap their gift. And, everyone walks away with the same amount of money they came in with which makes it both frugal and practical.

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creative cash

Julie Jensen

Julie Jensen

Julie is a wife and mother of two little ones. She is a ranch-raised introvert and craver of the simple life. Writing is her passion. Faith is her anchor. And Country Best Blog is her blog.