30 inventive cash reward concepts (for Christmas and all events)

INSIDE: Wondering how to give money as a gift and have your gesture look thoughtful? Check out this list of cute money gift ideas! Easy for Christmas and all occasions!

Sometimes the best gift is money. But if you’re at all like me, you don’t always like to just slide cash into a card and sign your name. Placing a $20 bill in a card is so boring!money gift

I took to the Internet to see what I could find or create myself to turn financial gifts into fun, thoughtful presents. I’ve tracked down several ideas here — and even included a few of my own money gift ideas. Deciding to give money can even be part of a creative way to teach kids about cash.

Some of the pictures specifically show a graduation money gift idea, but with a few changes of the wording or colors, you could use them for Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries, Mother’s Day or Father’s Day … anytime you want to give someone the gift of money!

Pro tip: Many of these fun ideas work well with teens because when it comes to gifts, money is usually at the top of their list. And let’s face it, that’s simpler than trying to find them something they want!


Giving someone cash for Christmas can feel impersonal … but with these DIY gift ideas, you can still create a thoughtful gift that lets the recipient know just how much you were thinking of them.

how to give money as a gift - play-doh

Who doesn’t love a little “dough” as a gift?! This one is a cute stocking stuffer.

This adorable money tree doubles as a Christmas gift and decoration. (Source: Then She Made)

Use a mason jar to create a waterless “snow globe” to give a gift card. (Source: Organize Your Stuff Now)

Here’s a clever way to give a smaller cash gift: Wrap up a roll of coins to look like a sweet treat! (Source: Martha Stewart)


Most gift recipients love a good surprise. Here are a few creative ways to give someone a cash gift — that doesn’t look like it at first glance.how to give money as a gift - crayons

What a sneaky way to give a kid money! Grab a box of crayons and wrap each with a dollar bill. Add a coloring book in the package and they’ll have no idea they get money — until they open the box! (Source: Esmaloda)money gift ideas - balloons

Another fun idea for kids: money balloons! Pop the balloons and claim the cash inside.

Fortune cookies are super easy to make and so much fun! Add your own money gift message.money gift ideas - candy box

Who says boxes of chocolates are just for Valentine’s Day? A creative money gift idea for Christmas, graduation or a birthday is an empty chocolate box – filled with cash!


With these money gift ideas, it’s all about some unique, showy presentation.

This is a cake that won’t add any calories to your diet! Get the instructions for how to make a money cake (it’s easier than you’d think).

This funny money gift idea will make the recipient work to get the cash! (Wouldn’t this be the perfect graduation gift idea?!!) (idea courtesy of Runt of the Web)

There’s nothing quite like “cold hard cash!” Isn’t this a funny money gift idea?!? You’ll probably want to put the money in a plastic bag before you freeze it, though! (Courtesy of ShortStopBlog)how to give money as a gift - wreath

Want to know how to give money as a gift? Make a dollar bill wreath! You can roll dollars (like Fun-Squared shares how to do) or fold them (as Stuck at Home has done it). Either way is a fun way to give some cash!

A money box – it’s the gift that gives bill after bill!

Here’s how to give money as a gift – you make them work for it! A money maze box will make them use their brain before they get their gift of cash or a gift card. Order one HERE.

Grab a bottle and make a money soda!

Money and candy bottles work for everyone!! This is an easy craft to make in bulk during the holiday season, whether you need something for teen nieces and nephews or all the people you want to give end-of-year tips to.money gift ideas - origami

Get your fold on by making all sorts of origami shapes out of bills! Get an origami book and get creative – order one HERE!

Is dollar bill origami too much folding for you? Give them a money book!


Pair your packaging with a little wordplay to give someone a chuckle along with their money!how to give money as a gift - pizza

Don’t get rid of that pizza box — here’s a creative way to give a “money pizza” from Making Memories with your Kids.

Don’t “blow” it all in one place! A clever gift idea to give money to just about anyone! Get the instructions from Good Housekeeping.

This is a clever gift idea! In case of emergency – break glass! No creative skills required to make this one!

Another really cute money gift idea is this money light bulb. The future DOES look bright! (via Good Housekeeping)


Here’s a handful of graduation gift ideas.money gift ideas - water bottle

College students need quarters for vending machines and laundry, so this water bottle full of quarters would make a great graduation gift!

Make a money lei! Your graduates may not get a trip to Hawaii…but at least they’ll feel like it wearing this creative idea!

What better gift for graduation than a box of “dollar diplomas!” (via STL Dispatch)how to give money as a gift - money chain

Make a fun chain as a graduation money gift!

Create a money notepad for the grad or a birthday!

A Perfect Gift for Mom

A few ideas for Mother’s Day can last longer than a traditional bouquet …

Flowers always make someone feel special – especially when they sprout bills!how to give money as a gift - money tree

A cute idea for giving mom money is to make a money tree topiary! You can get the instructions over at Sugar Bee Crafts.

How to Give Money as a Wedding Gift

Finally, for a truly special occasion like a wedding, milestone anniversary or retirement, check out this money rosette showstopper!

Published in April 2019. Updated in December 2020.

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