"No, I personally wouldn’t," says Megan Al Marzooqi
Would I ever ask someone to give my child money for their birthday instead of a gift? No, I personally wouldn’t. Would I judge someone else who did? No. To each their own and all that, as that is the way I was raised, but I was also raised never to ask for money from anyone. If I had forgotten my lunch money at school as a child I would have gone hungry rather than ask anyone for money, it is just the way I am. When it comes to other children’s birthdays sometimes I buy gifts and sometimes I give cash, it depends on the child. If I know the family really well and I know that the child is saving for something in particular then I don’t mind giving a little money to go towards what they want, but I would never give cash to a child that we weren’t close to as I know some may not appreciate it. As for someone asking for it via an invitation – why not? To be honest, it would make my life a lot easier. If it means I don’t need to run around the shops searching high and low for something I think that child may like, that is also within my budget, then thank you fellow mama! I, for one, am all for anything that makes my life (and motherhood) easier and I actually think this could be a great way forward. I really like the thought of a child being able to save and buy something that they really want rather than giving a toy or book that the child has zero interest in and results in said item just sitting forgotten in the house. It could also be a good life lesson for the children; saving money and being responsible with it is all part of adult life. Perhaps if all the guests are giving cash, the parents could still give a gift or two so the fun of opening a wrapped present is still there, because who doesn’t love to rip something open on their birthday? The only possible negative thing that springs to mind here is the Dubai culture: we all know that there are some people that like to flash their cash and give expensive or over the top gifts, so where do we draw the line without offending people? Could we cap the amount asked for to say Dh50 or Dh100? Then again, how could we control that? I think it is a great idea personally as long as the guests are all on the same page.
"I think it’s absolutely fine," says Holly Bennie
I think it’s absolutely fine – I recently did this with my son and had no issues at all asking for birthday money instead of gifts. Nowadays, children have such a broad range of interests and so many toys and books that it’s almost impossible to choose a gift that they a) Don’t already have or b) Are going to really appreciate. In our house, we live very minimally, with each of my children only having toys that they really love and play with. It’s a lifestyle choice that we’ve made so that we can move our focus away from “stuff” over to experiences instead. Saying that, I also have four children, and between them they’ve pretty much got everything covered. Plus, I’m trying to instil a sense of sustainability into my family too, and having less is the first step in being more eco-friendly. Surely memories are the best gift you can give? Not everyone’s loves and hobbies lie in something physical. That being said, I do think there are golden rules to keep in mind when requesting birthday money. People love giving – who doesn’t? So, even when it’s money that’s been gifted, I think it’s important to thank those who have given it and let them know what your child bought. For example, last Christmas my daughter received money from my grandmother, and she put the money towards her Parkour lessons, which is something that she’s super passionate about. We sent a thank you note with a photo of our daughter in one of her classes, showing how much joy her gift had brought her. It doesn’t hurt to ask for birthday money but it’s important not to be offended if someone brings a physical gift instead. Some people are more comfortable giving something that can be unwrapped and each person has their own level of comfort and their own thoughts about gifting. Lastly, please don’t specify an amount. Everyone holds different values on gifts, whether physical, money or experiences. What’s important to remember is the love behind a gift and not the value.