The Advantages of Gifting Money like Laotians

Lao mafioso

You can’t have a Lao birthday party with Laotians without cash gifts. Growing up, that is all you ever got as birthday presents. You know you’re going to a Lao birthday party when you’re stuffing an envelope with cash just as you’re getting ready to head out the door. Guests at Lao weddings, kids birthdays, and even funerals, always know the drill – cash money is the standard. Registry in Laos? Yeah, right!

In American social grace, it is poor etiquette to give money in lieu of a gift. They say it’s bad taste and disrespectful. They also say that it takes away the magic of surprise and thoughtfulness. I, as a frequent patron of Laotian celebrations, say that there are many great advantages to providing money as a gift. Here is your guide to the advantages of gifting cash money like a Laotian:

Advantage #1: Gifting money saves you time.

Don’t even lie – you have bought a gift on the way to that said event. I’m guilty of it too, it’s even made me late to the parties! Money saves you a trip to the store and it’s two easy steps:

1. Stuff envelope with cash or check written to guest(s) of honor.
2. Write name of guest(s) of honor on envelope. DONE!

If you want to get real fancy, you can stuff it in a nice envelope or something. Who are we kidding? Let’s keep it simple, stupid.

Advantage #2: Money has more than one use.

I did make a wedding registry, when one of my mother-in-law’s friends wanted to get us a gift (they’re from the South) and gifted a cutlery set. Before this, I literally had four forks, four spoons, and my demo set from when I sold CutCo knives after high school. True story. While I love that I have real butter knives now, it can only go so far. I can’t buy gas with my spoons nor can I pay for parking with an ultra fancy serrated edge. Got change from breaking that $20? You can do laundry or get a soda machine pop! Money is a jack of all trades!

Advantage #3: Money is eco-friendly.

Rather than have a bunch of trash to throw away, envelopes and money are more socially conscious. Money is paper; paper come from trees; trees are for hugging. Therefore you’re an honorary hippie/Laotian when you gift money. Even if you’re not green, just think about how your gift will be the most neatly packaged without any annoying tape.

Advantage #4: Money saves you the lack of thoughtfulness on the gift.

Sure, you could spend countless hours thinking of the perfect gift but why risk it and fail? Just give him a chunk of change and let the recipient choose what they really want. Maybe they really want to make a trip to the liquor store to celebrate? (I don’t judge) Your gift will make all their drunk dreams come true and they’ll thank you for contributing to a good night out or in, wherever their sorrows take them. Money is very thoughtful – thought just comes from the person receiving it!

Advantage #5: EVERYBODY likes money.

If you have those people in your life that are difficult to “shop” for, then your answer is a gift card! WRONG. The right answer is cash money. There is just something very appealing with the smell of green paper and ease of use. I don’t know anybody who can’t use some cash, unless your friends are crackheads then get them the damn gift card. Be confident that your gift will never need a gift receipt, ’nuff said.


Note: Friends and family, we appreciate your kindness and gifts. Humnoy had an amazing birthday party with lots of great items!

How do you buy gifts for those difficult-to-buy-for friends and family? How do you feel about giving money? To children?


10 thoughts on “The Advantages of Gifting Money like Laotians

    • It’s very interesting to see the differences in cultures and its etiquette. That’s great that you giving money to weddings is like Lao culture too, like you’re a Laotian and didn’t even know it 😉

  1. I hate shopping for other people birthdays or weddings. Most of the time I just give cash and occasionally I go give cards. There are no surprises gift for my nieces and nephew on their birthdays. I just simply ask what they want for their birthdays – take them to the mall and have them pick it out themselves.

  2. We give money to people we aren’t sure what to give. Gift cards as well. But I enjoy buying gifts for little ones or very close friends. I enjoy receiving money because I’m a tad difficult and I feel bad when I get stg I don’t like (which happens often).

    In my family, as girls, my sisters and I used to do list and still do to this day. You can’t go wrong !

    Nice post !

    • Thank you, I’m glad you liked it!

      I understand completely especially for me as well ; my husband got me a salon gift certificate and Twix because he knows those things I will NOT complain about. For Christmas, he just took me to a boutique and told me to try on jeans and get the ones I liked. A man after my own heart 😉

  3. Some Laotians would bring gifts in a store shopping bag and with price intact. I don’t like to give cash as gifts to children when they are too young to spend it themselves, mainly because I know the parents will spend it for them so I often buy gifts. My daughter receives cash as gifts and I open a CD, and put back in Education IRA for her every year and it works great.

  4. Everyone knows that my now 12 year old daughter is impossible to shop for. People want to buy her cutesy clothes with animals that she won’t wear, or CDs that she won’t listen to, so we told everyone just to give her cash. She can buy what she wants and she writes out her thank you notes telling the givers how she spent the money. Since that worked out so well for her, my 8 year old has requested the same. Consequently, now everyone just asks if they should just give the 2 year old cash as well.

So, what do you think?

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