My wife and I had a
heated healthy debate the other day on what to give a 5 y/o for his birthday. She wanted to go searching for the perfect gift that would show how much time and thought went into it for him, and I told her the best thing you could EVER give a kid is money. Outside of your love, spending quality time, etc etc (don’t give me that look).
You’d have thought I’d suggested giving him a gun.
Here’s how the discussion went down:
“Money??? What kind of message is that? His mom is gonna think you just threw it in the card as an afterthought – there’s no appreciation there.
“But…. I don’t care what the mom thinks? I mean, she’s my friend, but isn’t the point to make the KID happy? And don’t you remember how exciting it was getting a crisp $10 or $20 bill from your grandparents growing up? It was like winning the lottery!! You get to buy anything you want!!”
“Yeah, I know – but still. It’s the message that comes across. It’s proper to take the time and effort to go looking for something special to show that you care. That’s what I’d like to see as a mother too – I appreciate that kinda stuff.”
I stopped for a few seconds to a) consider what she was saying a bit more, and then more importantly, b) show her that I was listening as any good husband should ;) I finally blurted out,
“I’m gonna have to blog about this.”
The solution to all my life’s problems ;) And, really, I genuinely DO agree that taking the time to find the perfect gift for someone IS pretty cool, but I also don’t think it’s the worst thing in the world to give someone cash either. And ESPECIALLY a kid – who would appreciate it much more than any adult would. Do you know how awesome it is to see a kid’s eyes light up when a hefty $20 bill falls out of a card?? It melts my heart every time… So of course I want to do more of that. Especially to someone who has yet to receive a gift like that from me ;)
I then started thinking about all the different variables that come into play when conjuring up gift ideas too. Because the reality is there’s a LOT. Such as:
- Their age
- Their relationship to you (friend/family/colleague)
- How close you are to the person (besties or aquantenances?)
- How much room in your budget you have (Is it $10 or $100?)
- How much time you have to get the gift (did you wait ’til the last minute?)
- What you’ve given them in the past (can’t ALWAYS give cash or a gift card to Barnes & Noble)
- The level of risk you’re looking to take on (do you go for something more conservative that you’ll *know* they’ll like, or do you try and wow them and go a more unique route? That has the potential to blow up in your face? ;))
The answers, and combination, of these can totally route you to a different gift in the end. You wouldn’t buy your boss the same thing as you would your mother (usually), just like you wouldn’t buy your best friend the same thing as you would a long lost cousin. And the amount of money you’d spend would probably be pretty different too.
Using these variables, here’s what we’re looking at in THIS scenario:
- 5 y/o
- A friend of mine’s son
- We used to be best friends, but we’ve kinda drifted a part and are now reuniting again
- The budget is $20
- Plenty of time to search, as his birthday was like 3 months ago (the shame!)
- Haven’t ever given him anything yet – see bullet point #3
- Would like to go big, or go home!
Entering all that into my gift-o-meter, it says Cash Cash all the way, baby! ;) First, he’s a kid – and we already know he’d love it. Second, I haven’t ever given him money before, so we’ll get that nice shriek we’re going for (and no one can accuse me of “buying his love”… yet). And thirdly, it maxes out the $20 exactly ;) Not to mention I have NO idea what his interests are as it’s not like we “hang out.”
The only factor going against me here is the availability of time. We could easily go shopping and find a nice toy for him no problem, but everything else rules in my favor and I’m not trying to give cash as a means of saving time anyways – I’m going for the WOW factor here. And, admittedly, the “J. Money is my favorite!” section of all the “old” people he knows ;) The odds I pick out a gift he’ll (truly) enjoy and/or doesn’t have already is slim. And I need to bat 1,000 here this first round…
If you haven’t guessed what we decided on yet, scroll up to that picture at the top. That’s the exact bill I gave him ;) I figured I was compromising by “taking the time” to doodle on it a little, haha…
But really what ended the battle was the fact that it involved a relationship of MINE vs a relationship of hers (my wife’s). So she agreed to let me do whatever I wanted this time around, but in return I promised we’re not doing it again (for him). She also told me she was making it a point to tell my old bestie it was all MY idea, but that’s perfectly fine by me. He’s obviously gonna like it! :)
Currently, it’s all wrapped up just waiting to be delivered. But you have approximately 24 hours to convince me otherwise if you think I’m doing down the path of doom here. So spill your thoughts, dear friends! Who do YOU think is right?*
*We all know it’s the wife, but please humor me anyways…
Jay loves talking about money, collecting coins, blasting hip-hop, and hanging out with his three beautiful boys. You can check out all of his online projects at jmoney.biz. Thanks for reading the blog!