By Gwyn B. from Searcy, AR
For my many nieces and nephews, I bought red foil Chinese take-out boxes from papermart.com (while you are there check out their amazing array of interesting gift boxes and bags.) Or I guess you could get some from your local Asian restaurant.
Make homemade fortune cookies (chinesefood.about.com/od/diningout/r/fortunecookie.htm) Make them about twice as big as normal. Fold a $20 crossways into a very narrow rectangle and crease firmly. Write a personalized fortune and stick both into the cookie just before folding. You have to work quickly.
These are somewhat time-consuming, but WOW. Nobody could believe I made fortune cookies. You can do it too if you are a craftsy Martha Stewart wannabe like me! Since then I have used the leftover boxes to give as party favors after a dinner party, filled with homemade cookies.
For my kids one year, I bought a frame with different windows and placed bills in them. not only did they have money, but a future display of there personal photo's. You can also include gift certificates like movies, nails, dinner, spa & groceries. Just let your imagination fly.
When I was a teen my older sister gave me a hand vaccuum for my birthday. I didn't know why; I didn't own a car. But she had taken 2 dollar bills and taped them end to end and then vaccuumed them up into the hand vac. I got the vaccuum and $20 as the gift. She had also taped a piece of paper onto the last $2 bill that was vaccuumed so a little slip stuck out like a tongue that said "Pull Here". I had that vaccuum a lot longer than I had the money. Oh yeah, she also managed to get the money in sequential bills which was neat in a way.
My wonderfully creative daughter came up with this idea one year "Money for a Rainy Day". Choose 10-20 bills (use whatever denomination you want) and tape a string on each (use various string lengths). Tie the strings individually to the ribs of an open umbrella. Close the umbrella, making sure the bills are tucked inside. Let the recipient know this is a "rainy day gift." When opened, the bills flutter down - very impressive!
2 Things; buy gold,red or green balloons to match your decor. When you get them filled with helium tuck bills inside. Them have them pop their presents open. But a quart or gallon size new, empty paint can at Lowe's or similar store. Fill with crushed up one dollar bills and seal shut. Attach paint can opener and a bow on the handle. Label paint color Christmas Green.
I used this idea for a friend's graduation. I took a large jar, put some ice in the bottom, added some coins and bills, poured in some water then froze it. I did this several times until the jar was completely full & put a label on it. "Cold Hard Cash." It might have been a little inconvenient to thaw & dry all that money, but it sure looked cute! My friend got a kick out of it, too. :)
On my kids 21st birthdays, I got 21 each pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, and half dollars. I taped each one seperately in a box - on the bottom, top, and sides. On my brothers 50th wedding anniversary, I got 50 silver dollars, used a gold gift bag, gold 'easter' grass, and gold foil. I cut the foil into squares so I could wrap and tape shut each coin individually in the foil. I put a little grass in bag, dropped in a few coins, more grass, more coins, till done. They had to find the coins, then unwrap them to use them. The kids had to untape the coins to use them. I believe it added up to less than $20. You could adapt either of these ideas to your needs.
I give money each year. Sometimes I order two dollar bills from the bank, sometimes I order coin dollars. Since the money isn't the "ordinary" paper, they set it aside and spend it on something they want and remember it was a gift from loving parents. Whatever you do, it will be received with love and appreciation.
You could make a surprise ball from ribbon crepe paper and wrap in either little trinkets leading to the final gift of money in the center. Or tuck is small bills instead of the trinkets all along the way until the center bill of a larger denomination.
I was always intrigued by Money Origami...example: http://members.cox.net/crandall11/money/
Or give them a Monopoly game and substitute real money for the paper money temporarily.
Or browse through the results here: http://www.google.com/search?q=creative+ways+to+give+money+as+a+gift
Find out what store they like to shop. Give them gift cards from that store, good luck.
They even sell those kind of ornaments lah34a recommended. I say this because I am untalented with crafty things.
I was thinking about something. I bought little - about 3-4" stockings that I used to put my knife, fork and spoon in by each table place setting at the dinner table. I thought it looked cute, but I got negative reviews from the rest of my family.
Maybe you could use them. Maybe you could put their initials on the stockings with Elmer's glue and then while the glue is still wet, sprinkle shiny sparkly things on the glue and let set till it dries.
They also sell decorative boxes at Pier One Imports, they may have a website, and the boxes are all fancy, either with sparkles, sequins, mirrors on them and other stuff. I've bought them to give jewelry in. You could wrap the money/check in coordinating tissue paper and then put it in the box.
You could have an Easter egg hunt for them. I don't know how many children you have though; it would be fun with more than one child, no matter how old they are. You could tell them if they're 'hot' if they get near your hiding place, or 'cold' if they're away from it. Like make a game of it.
I love the Idea of the Pinata and the treasure hunt with clues and the gloves - much more creative than mine, I'm afraid!
Have a Merry and Blessed Christmas! And have fun!
Make them each a custom Christmas ornament and tuck money inside. Send them on a "treasure hunt" with clues along the way and money as the prize (hey, I'm grown up and I think that would be fun!). Fill a pinata with candy and money and let them take a whack to get to the money. Buy a pair of nice gloves and roll up a bill to tuck into each finger.
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