Giving Your Baby The Gift Of... Cash?

There is so much pressure put on getting baby’s first birthday right. So what is the best gift to give them?

There is so much pressure today to get a baby’s first birthday just right.

The perfect cake. The perfect party. The perfect cake-smashing photoshoot. The perfect onesie with the perfect first birthday saying. (Thanks a lot Pinterest!)

The perfect gift.

It’s your child’s first birthday, so you also want to make sure you don’t mess it up—but is “messing it up” going to have any effect on your one-year-old?

Simple answer: No.

I have seen Facebook, Twitter and blog posts about spoiling babies rotten and I can’t help but think, why?

A one-year-old is never going to remember what you bought them for their birthday. They may look at the photos one day, but your child will never remember playing with that toy or wearing that cool shirt.

As we got closer to our daughter’s first birthday, my husband and I struggled with the notion of making it perfect. Part of that was, what is the perfect gift? And we were stumped. What do you give the one-year-old who already had more toys than she needed, plenty of clothes and several family members chomping at the bit to buy her more for her big day?

So, in the end, we decided the perfect gift was cash. When our daughter turned one, we put cash in her bank account.

We had a party with family and the perfect cake. She was spoiled rotten with gifts from family members. My husband and I gave her a book and a toy.

When she turned two, we did the same thing.

When our son turned one, he also got cash in his bank account.

The decision to give the children cash did not come easily. We discussed the idea of money as a gift several times. Was it enough? Were we bad parents because we were not filling our living room with toys?

That question—were we bad parents to give our children cash?—was raised several times, and not always by us.

In the end, we convinced ourselves it was not.

We figured our children would appreciate the money in their accounts when they’re old enough to realize what money is, when they need to buy things they want or need—or maybe when they are considering school or traveling.

When we told other people about what we had done, many nodded and said, “That makes sense.” And we started to feel better about it.

Just like a one-year-old (or two-year-old) won’t remember the toy from their first birthday, they will also not remember that we did not buy them a toy. But when they’re 16, they will remember they could buy whatever hot gadget will exist in the future thanks to Mom and Dad putting money in their account 15 years earlier. At least, we hope they will. 

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