Creative Way to Give Money as a Gift

As my kids have gotten older, they would rather I give them money instead of gifts for their birthday. I am not thrilled with the idea of just giving an envelope with cash —BO-RING!

For Briana’s 15th birthday this is what I did — She likes to watch the game show, Deal or No Deal, so I decided to recreate the game to give her money for her birthday.

I bought a set of 16 small gift bags in a variety of colors at Target. They cost $2.99. I also bought some colored index cards for $1.25. I later bought some of those small packages of candy bars for 1.00 each at Wal Mart. I bought about 8 packages.

With a marker I numbered the bags from 1 – 16. Next I took 16 index cards and randomly put monetary denominations on them. I had gone to the bank and gotten enough money to cover any denomination she won (all tens) with the intention of giving her the full amount I had planned even if she ended up with a smaller amount. I randomly placed one index card inside each bag. I then filled 8 bags with enough candy to share with the other kids. I had also purchased the electronic game, Deal or No Deal as a tangible gift for her. One of the index cards said, “Deal or No Deal – Special Gift – Here’s a hint” Inside that bag were AA batteries. I then hid that present behind the couch.


I arranged the 16 bags on the fireplace mantel then called all the kids to the living room for the birthday eve celebration. (I let my kids stay up late and open their presents the night before their birthday so they can enjoy their presents the day of their birthday and they can sleep in late if they want)

The game begins with Briana choosing one bag. She chose #15 (her new age). I told her I knew she would pick that one. Of course that only adds to her question of if I also knew what I put in #15. As she would choose a bag I would reveal the contents. “Twix bars and $30.00 dollars. Deal…or no deal?” She doesn’t take the deal. I toss the candy out to the siblings and she gets one too. ‘

To add a bit to the suspense I did not tell her how much money she could “win” for her birthday. She did not know what the top price would be. When she picked #11 and it was the surprise gift with batteries she decided to take the deal, thinking I had bought her an IPod Touch (yea right!). I guess when you’re 15 anything is possible. I retrieved the electronic Deal or No Deal game. She enjoyed it and acted appreciative. We then took a vote and decided that she could also get a money prize. The game continued. At one point she decided to take a dollar amount which ended up being the top amount. But when I gave her the money, I pulled it out of a pouch that contained more money. Therefore she thought perhaps there was more to be had. It came down to her bag #15 and the money in her hand. She chose to take the unknown money in the bag. Ohhh..poor Briana….it was less than half the amount she already had. Again the siblings voted and decided she should be able to have the money she traded. One of them said, “I voted yes because I know she always shares and she’ll probably buy me something.”

We really had a great time playing this game for money. At one point she said to her siblings, “Hey, you guys are supposed to be helping me decide.” That’s when it really got fun as they would add their comments about what they would do, and what she should do. Bryan even looked around the living room and decided to use the Game Cube console as her “deal or no deal button.” He showed her how to work it to be a deal or a no deal.

As we were all sitting in the living room Briana said, “Most people just get an envelope with money. I’m glad you made it so much fun.” — tears, tears…Don’t you love when your kids appreciate you?

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