Five years ago I discovered it is hard to give presents to teens you don’t know super well. I love my niece and nephew, but I don’t really know them. I see them a few times a year, and I want to give them something, but what they’re wanting are starting to get out of my budget. I started giving them money, but I didn’t want to just hand them an envelope, because that’s boring, so I started coming up with creative ways to give money.
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First, pick up some cash
Most of these work best if you give the money in single dollar bills, because it gives you more to work with.
Though for some I do get a random assortment of denominations, but sometimes a giant stack of one dollar bills is just fun.
1. For a Rainy Day
Head to WalMart and pick up an umbrella, one that will fit in a backpack or a purse is best. Depending on the teen, maybe get one of those silly ones.
Now, take your dollar bills and grab some yarn, cutting it to different lengths. Tape the yarn first to the dollar bill, and then to the umbrella while the umbrella is open. Then carefully close the umbrella with the dollars inside of it.
Wrap up your fancy new umbrella with a sign saying, “For a rainy day.”
Smile to yourself as your recipient looks in confusion at the note and at the umbrella, until you finally gently say, “Maybe open the umbrella?” Then watch their eyes light up in excitement.
2. For a Quick Meal
First, enjoy your can of soup. Then wash out the can, and fill it up with dried rice, and stuff your money into the can. Carefully put super glue on the edge of the lid and smash it down. If you aren’t comfortable with superglue, then use a hot glue gun.
Wrap your cans up somehow, and then enjoy seeing their confusion and watching them figure out how to open the cans. It didn’t take too long for my nephew to figure out how to pry off the lid of the can. Thankfully he did not get rice everywhere.
3. Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’ll get out of it
First, buy a box of chocolates and enjoy eating them yourself. Carefully leave the paper wrappers in the box.
Then carefully fold the dollar bills to fit into each spot a piece of chocolate was in. This works best with Russell Stover or similar because it has some molded plastics that can more easily fit the dollar bills into.
This was a particularly hilarious gift to give because my niece doesn’t like chocolates and she opened it up and stared at me in confusion before finally opening up the chocolate box and seeing the money and smiling.
4. Hiding money in a book
I was particularly proud of this one, since the joke is people hiding money in books because they’re worried about banks.
I hunted around trying to find a good copy of Sense and Sensibility, and finally found one I liked and slipped the bills between the pages.
It amused me when my niece opened it because she didn’t get the hilarious pun. CENTS and Sensibility… That’s hilarious.
Or, so I thought.
I do remember we gave a different book to my nephew, but I can’t remember which book we gave him.
5. Are you hungry?
This was my brother’s go to present for his friends during high school.
Well, it was when he wasn’t trying to see how hard he can make opening the present is. Like, seriously he once used caulk to glue present closed.
Pick up a pack of hamburger buns, and a roll of quarters.
Cut a circle of cardboard roughly in the same shape as the hamburger bun, and tape the quarters to it. Then put a few dollar bills on top as the lettuce.
6. Give some blow money
This pun may be slightly off to some, but it made me laugh.
Grab a Kleenex box and pull out all of the Kleenex. Or maybe if you’re feeling particularly fancy, you could fiddle and keep the tissues in there, but I really didn’t want to go to that much trouble.
Instead, carefully tape your dollar bills together end to end, and then stuff it into the box with just a little bit of one sticking out.
When I gave this to my nephew, he happily spent the rest of the evening wearing his dollar bill scarf.
7. Pop some fun
Grab a giant cardboard box and a pack of balloons from the Dollar Store. Then carefully put a dollar bill inside of each balloon and blow them up and stick it in the box.
Tape it up, and wrap your giant box.
Now, you could just give them the box and tell them to pop the balloons by stomping them.
However, I did find it amusing to include a push pin to pop the balloons.
It was hilarious watching my niece go around the room and trying to step on all of the balloons.
8. Dollar Bill Origami
I found this book at Half Price Books and picked it up for Princess, and she happily spent most of a car ride from Texas to Virginia folding her dollar bill into all sorts of amusing shapes.
This leads us to…
9. A Proposal
Her favorite way to fold dollar bills was a ring. So, pick up a jewelry box and fold it into a ring, and then put your new ring into the jewelry box.
10. Get some dough
As you can tell, I like me some puns. Pick up some play dough, and put the money in the middle of the dough and wrap up some dough.
Any more fun ways to wrap cash you’d suggest?
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