Give the Gift of Money with a Treasure Box

The best way to give cash as a gift.
The best way to give cash as a gift.

Everyone Has Trouble Giving Gifts Sometimes

I'm terrible at giving gifts. I want to give gifts that my friends will actually get excited about instead of just giving things that correspond with their hobbies (my husband has more Minnesota Vikings memorabilia than I knew existed and all because no one ever knows what to get him and they really just need to give him money to buy the video game he actually wants).

Sometimes I wish people would just give me money instead of stuff. I already have so much stuff and I feel bad getting rid of it. For my wedding my roommates all pitched in and got us a knockoff Keruig. It's cool and all but I like my regular coffee maker way, way better. (The new one has the little basket so I can put regular coffee grounds in it, but I have a super huge coffee cup and it doesn't make enough coffee in one go to fill my coffee cup all the way. I also think kcups are wasteful... and I'm too poor to buy them. But it was a really nice thought and I love my old roommates so much.)

I Hate Hallmark Cards

Why would I spend $5 on a piece of paper that the recipient is probably just going to throw away or at the very least never look at again? I keep birthday cards for a few months but the next time I go through sorting paperwork into the trash they go. Half the time they just have the name signed in them. How impersonal is that?

I wanted to give something that people would display proudly and think of me every time they looked at it. I wanted something that would become a family heirloom.

The Solution? A Treasure Box

Give them a treasure box, or treasure chest or whatever you want to call it. Everyone at some point or another has wished to find just a box of money. How cool is that? And you get a neat box out of the deal. I first thought of it for my friend's wedding but I once had a lady ask me what she should get for her 8-year-old grandson. A box of money. Put $10 in dollar coins in a wooden box and boom, a perfect present. The kid gets money, which is all he really wants, and he gets a box to put cool stuff in... Like rocks or Nintendo DS games, or whatever else boys collect.

Alternately for a girl you just pretty it up and they can put rocks, or jewelry, or Nintendo DS games in it.

Also Great for Graduations

This would even be a perfect graduation gift. That college bound (or life bound if they are graduating college) kid needs money. Cold hard cash... or gift cards to Give them a treasure box full of quarters. This will ensure they have enough money to do their laundry and hopefully not starve for a couple months. They could also put all of their grad cards in there with their tassel and Diploma and make a memory box out of it. Or fill it with words of encouragement from everybody they know. That way if they're trying to decide whether to do homework or go out with friends they'll get the motivation they need to finish their homework quickly and then go out.

My Friend's Wedding AKA How This Idea Began

A couple years ago some of my close friends got married. Our whole friend group was invited to the wedding. They had already been living together for a very long time and didn't need any of the traditional wedding presents like toasters and towels. They just wanted money.

That's when the perfect idea clicked. I would give them a treasure box. They're huge nerds and they love all of that video game treasure chest mixed with pirate treasure. I could give them money inside the box and then, after the wedding, they could put all of their wedding keepsakes inside the box, like all of the cards they received from everyone else.

I found a wooden craft box at Walmart for under $10 and all of my friends chipped in what they could as cash and we changed it in for dollar coins and quarters at the bank. We were able to get about $100 together for them (we were all very poor college students at the time). We all signed our names on a slip of paper and put it in the box. I went the extra step with them of wrapping it in brown paper and string and making it really look like a pirate's treasure.

How to Do It

1. Find a box: Thrift stores sometimes have plain wooden jewelry boxes that you can either distress more or pretty up. Or go to your local craft store and find a wooden box. These look very obviously new but hey, sometimes resources are limited.

2. Distress vs Pretty: You can distress it by scratching it up. Denting the wood with a hammer. Using sandpaper on the edges. Or you can pretty it up by painting it very nicely and with whatever theme you want it to have.

3. Lining: If you're feeling super fancy you can glue in a velvet liner, or just lay some fabric in the bottom for your coins to sit on.

4. Money! Go to the bank and get some cash as dollar coins, half dollars, or quarters. Or if you want to be really annoying but make the box look really full get nickles or dimes. Don't do pennies. That's just a waste of everyone's time.

5. A Cute Note: Write out a cute note. Related to what they can use the box for after taking the money out of it. I'm still perfecting mine but it's something along the lines of "That memory box that grandma pulls out of the attic in romantic comedies to show photobooth pictures, and movie ticket stubs to the angsty protagonist having boy problems to show that sometimes love conquers all..." or some garbage like that. My friends all know that I can be pretty snarky sometimes.

What Do You Think?

Great idea right? Let me know if you've ever done this or plan to do it. If you have any other specific suggestions as to box types I would love to hear it. I have 3 wedding boxes to make by October so I'm going to be busy. And it's hard finding ones that I actually like.

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