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December 07, 2021

Will you give cash as a gift this holiday season?

The holidays are supposed to be a time for fun – snowball fighting/hot chocolate drinking/Red-Ryder BB gun-giving fun.

The holidays are not supposed to be a time to think about money. Not your crippled investment portfolio, not your mounting credit card debt, none of it.

Yet in this festive season, one seemingly defined by our recession-sponsored economic frugality, it’s become tougher and tougher to just let go.

A new report in the Boston Globe claims more people will focus on finance these holidays, especially in the arena of gift giving.

According to the story, more than 44 per cent of consumers will give cash – long considered the most distant, impersonal gift of choice – to friends or family in the coming weeks.

Some households are even more inclined to offer certificates of deposit or college savings accounts as presents this year, too.

“People are asking for more cash. Consumers are saying they have other priorities,” NPD Group’s chief retail analyst told the Globe.

“They would love the gift, but they need to pay off their grocery bill before they start worrying about a Polo shirt.”

Indeed, while adults could stomach the importance of a CD or cash envelope in lieu of a conventional gift, could kids?

The Globe reports many parents and grandparents are ditching toys and video game presents and choosing to open savings accounts for the young people on their holiday lists.

Responsible? Absolutely. A better gift? That’s up for some debate.

Putting $100 bucks in a high interest savings account each year is likely a more conscientious present in the long-term. But, does it sacrifice the idea of the holidays for many kids – children too young to care about mass layoffs and the importance of a balanced portfolio?

Will you be giving money to anyone on your list this year?

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

James HaversJames Havers

James is the senior editor of MSN Money living in Toronto. He has worked for the Nikkei Shimbun (Tokyo),,, Canadian Business and other publications. Havers turned to journalism after teaching overseas.

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...