Every time I ask my mom what I should get as a gift for someone, she says:

“Money. Money is the best gift you can give to anyone.”

And I get it. It’s practical, it’s traditional — in Chinese culture, it’s common to give red envelopes with money called Hong Bao (紅包) on special occasions — and it’s a safer bet because money is guaranteed to be useful. But to me, I find it somewhat off-putting.

I don’t know if it’s because I’m more westernized, but to me, giving money as a gift isn’t something that’s thoughtful. It lacks sincerity, effort and doesn’t require thought or understanding — it says nothing about the relationship you have with the person whom you’re gifting.

Money is practical, but it’s just money. It’s something that can be earned anytime. If I had to choose between giving a gift that’s well-thought-out and shows my understanding of them or money, I’d definitely choose the gift.

What about you? Would you give money or a gift?