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  • Writer's pictureSam Bosch

Show Me the Money

Updated: Aug 27, 2019

November 12, 2015

Cold hard cash. The phrase is the antithesis of the warm, fuzzy feelings associated with the holidays. No wonder giving money as a gift has gotten a bad rap. But there’s does nothing “Bah! Humbug!  about it. Turns out, is not only easy for the giver but also valued by the lucky person on the receiving end.

What’s more, cash has a classic comforting permanence – even more so in this age of bitcoin and PayPal, which begins to make money feel like a faraway abstraction. Certain currencies have had an extra allure, thanks to their iconic designs.  Think of the $2 bills, Kennedy silver dollars, or even the office maligned Susan B Anthony coins.  And there’s no sign that will slow down, especially with a new $10 bill  – featuring a woman – on the horizon.

But, welcome as cash might be to the recipient, is it tacky to give money, in whatever form?

Not according to Jacqueline Whitmore, etiquette expert based in Palm Beach, Florida, who notes, it’s merely rarely returned and one-size-fits-all. True, the site of a pyramid of presents, festoon with ribbons and shiny wrapping paper makes the heart beat faster.  But the fact is, no one will turn their nose up at the fan of crisp Jacksons of fresh-from-the bank $100 bills. The Chinese have been on that for eons, hence the tradition of handing out red envelopes called lai see at the New Year, and other happy occasions.  And who wouldn’t remember the delight of slipping their hands in the pockets of the bathroom in finding – surprise! – a fresh from-the-bank $50 bill.

Gift cards can expire but money is timeless.  Cash may be hard and cold, but like bedrock, it endures. Barring regulatory changes that eliminate it, Ron Shevlin, director of research at Cornerstone Advisors, calculates that America will still be using paper money in 200 years.

So we say: Show us the money. Just make sure it comes in a nice wrapping.


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