Birthdays, graduations, holidays, happenings — no matter the time of year, there’s always an upcoming occasion that warrants preparation and celebration for a friend, family member or loved one. And you know what that means — gifts. It’s amazing to have so many special people in your life, but sometimes the pressure and frantic scrambling to come up with the perfect present, time and time again, can be stressful and exhausting.
To show how much each person means to you on every special occasion, you want to pick something unique and thoughtful, something that represents their personality, matches their interests or demonstrates that you took the time to care. With every party, holiday and life event, however, it gets a little harder to switch up your gift ideas and come up with something new and exciting. Sometimes, you wish you could just hand over some cash. But that’s no fun, right?
As it turns out, it can be. There’s a new DIY gift idea sweeping the Internet, and it involves a couple of everyone’s favorite things — pizza, and good old-fashioned cash. What is a money pizza? It’s a creative, easy way to show you care and surprise someone with something a little more exciting than just a check or a card stuffed with bills. Money pizzas get quirky with cash by arranging a spread of bills and coins in the shape of a pizza pie, complete with a real pizza box, so the recipient doesn’t know what’s coming.
Interested in boxing up your bills for a to-go-style surprise with a wacky “wow” factor? We’ll tell you everything you need to know about money pizzas, who to gift them to and how to make your own.
How Did the Money Pizza Gift Idea Begin?
The money pizza originates, of course, from the long-standing American-Italian staple that has a place in every home and heart.
Everyone loves pizza — it just makes sense. From Sicilian to stuffed crust, meatball to mushroom, bacon to BBQ, prosciutto to pepperoni, there’s a pie variety for anyone. Not only is it classic and delicious, but it’s a simple standby for occasions when cooking is too time-consuming or you need a quick, inexpensive meal. Pizza is so popular, in fact, that as of 2014, 13 percent of the U.S. population made it a meal on any given day.
Of America’s host of pizza lovers, college students are by far the biggest fans. When it comes to ordering takeout, degree-aspiring students are responsible for 895 percent more cheese pizza purchases and deliveries than the rest of the country. And it’s no wonder. Pizza is cheap, convenient to eat without plates or utensils, deliverable to those without transportation or time for pickup, perfect for parties or large groups of people, and ideal for refrigerating and re-heating for days of leftovers.
College kids are always hungry and pressed for funds, so pizza is an inevitable undergraduate staple, and the money pizza gift idea plays upon both ideas by offering the cash students need in the food packaging they’re most familiar with. Even though money pizzas started as graduation gifts for the college-bound, you can use them for anyone who loves pizza, currency and clever surprises.
Occasions for Money Pizza Gifts
While we wouldn’t recommend gifting this DIY cash craft for an anniversary, wedding, shower or formal event, there are plenty of festive occasions perfect for packaging a money pizza. Here are a few pizza-presenting prime times:
Who doesn’t love money on their birthday? As your kids get older or you exhaust your list of unique gifts for friends and extended family, sometimes it’s more thoughtful to let your loved ones choose their own presents. But that doesn’t mean you can’t dress up cold cash as something with more style! Deliver your money pizza yourself or bring it along to a birthday party — it’s the perfect disguise for a birthday surprise.
Whether they’re preparing to pursue higher education or readying themselves to make their marks on the adult world, high school and college graduates can certainly use all the funding they can get. Money is the standard offering for graduations already, so why not add a little pizza pizzazz? After opening all their envelopes and collecting all their cash, your graduates will appreciate a donation with more decoration.
- Going-Away Parties
What’s the appropriate present for saying goodbye? Whether you know someone preparing to pack up for college, leaving the neighborhood, heading out on a long trip or joining the forces, a little extra spending money is ideal for well-wishes and an extra boost. Make a money pizza to give friends a sendoff they’ll never forget.
- Welcome Home Parties
What better way to celebrate a warm welcome than by taking the time to make someone smile? When you usher in your college kids, world travelers, study-abroad students or military family members, give them a boost for their bank accounts in a wrapping to remember.
When your friends, family members or co-workers are taking the next career step or moving up the corporate ladder, remind them of the extra cash coming their way by making a money pizza to celebrate. Cutting a cake is a fun way to say congrats, but digging into a slice of currency is even better.
If you’re brainstorming a brilliant way to say thank you or show your appreciation, money pizzas are a playful prize. Whether you’re repaying a favor, recognizing an accomplishment or just showing some love, you’ll touch hearts and wallets with this craft that pays.
- Bar/Bat Mitzvahs
Just like graduations, these coming-of-age religious ceremonies call for cash gifts. When you arrive for the ceremony, don’t just have a card and check in hand — deliver a money pizza! Kids of this age will be especially impressed and enjoy peeling the bills off their “pizzas” to count their earnings.
What kids don’t like pizza and their own spending money? Celebrate youngsters’ accomplishments with a little fun and funds boxed up like their favorite meal. After all their hard work, it’s time for some kid-friendly levity.
If you’re tired of the sweaters, socks or stocking stuffers, throw a twist into your holiday routine with a money pizza delivery this Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or Eid! You can wrap your box, decorate it with ribbons and bows and dumbfound your family members by presenting a pizza that pays. Just make sure they have a sense of humor and the cash amount is equal to what you’d budget for one person’s gifts.
Who Is a Money Pizza Good For?
You know when to pull out your money pizza, but what people will appreciate your crafty gift? Like we said, make sure you’re not using a money pizza to replace more serious gifts for newlyweds, expectant parents or significant others on Valentine’s — but as long as the occasion isn’t too formal and the recipient will enjoy creativity and a wad of cash, you can give them to anyone with a good sense of humor. Here are some people who might love a money pizza gift:
- College Kids
There’s no better recipient than the original. Strapped for cash, crunched for time and all too familiar with the sight of pizza boxes, undergrads need money and light-heartedness at all times. They’ll love your DIY donation to their education.
- High School Graduates
They may not be buying their books or paying rent yet, but high school grads are on a quick path to expenses, either in college or out in the world. Now is the time to start saving, and you can make your contribution to their funds for life with a fun gift that will lower their stress levels.
During the holidays or teacher appreciation time, you want to show educators how much you value the impact they make on your life or your kids. Gift cards are always great, but maybe you don’t know exactly what they like or you’d rather give them more options. Money pizzas are thoughtful and creative, just like teachers. They’re especially fitting as thank-you gifts for elementary school educators.
You spend every day around your workmates, joking, collaborating and commiserating around the coffee machine. For a holiday or birthday, you might feel connected enough to feel like you owe co-workers a great gift, but not quite close enough to find something personal or expensive — it’s the perfect time for a money pizza! They’re a laid-back way to say you care, and you can include any amount you like.
Like co-workers, bosses play a big role in your life. If you’ve got a great one, show them you appreciate their hard work by giving something back. Money pizzas are creative, festive forms of praise during the holiday season or on boss appreciation day.
You already pay them for taking care of your kids or your pets when you’re out of the house, but if your babysitters go above and beyond, give them a bonus to show how grateful you are. Especially because they’re often teenagers or college kids, your babysitter will love a little extra cash and the pizza package it comes in.
How to Make a Money Pizza Gift
If you’ve got your heart set on this creative, crafty cash gift idea, it’s easy, enjoyable and relatively simple to construct. The most fun part is that you can customize your pizza to suit your style! Here’s what you’ll need:
- A new pizza box: You can grab these — usually for free — at your local pizza shop when you pick up your takeout for the night. Ask for a medium or small size.
- A thin piece of cardboard: Tear apart a cardboard moving box or take the bottom out of a paper takeout bag. You can also often find used pieces of cardboard at the post office for little or no charge.
- Glue dots or repositionable tape: Pick these up at a craft store or superstore. You won’t want to use regular tape or liquid glue because your recipient should be able to easily peel the money off!
- A stack of bills: Depending on how much money you want to give, you can use an assortment of ones, fives, tens or twenties. Just make sure they’re pretty crisp and you have at least ten. The more you use, the cooler your fanned-out pizza will look.
- Coins: Use pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters — again, in whatever assortment you like.
- Shrink wrap and blow dryer: Money pizzas will work just as well wrapped or unwrapped, but if you want your pizza-shaped cash in a tight package, grab some shrink wrap from a craft store before you begin. This step is optional.
- Wrapping paper, construction paper or tissue paper: These materials aren’t a must-have, but if you want to customize your money pizza, you can add adornments to the inside of the lid or use paper pieces of cheese and pepperoni to make the pizza more lifelike.
- Scissors: You’ll need these to cut your cardboard or your optional paper additions.
When you have all your materials together, you’re good to go! Your money pizza will only take 10 to 15 minutes to put together. Here are the steps to crafting your pie:
- Cut your cardboard into a circle that will fit into the bottom of your pizza box.
- If you like, wrap your cardboard base with wrapping paper or tissue paper to add some color.
- Using your glue dots or repositionable tape, attach your bills to the cardboard circle in a fan shape. An easy way to make sure they look their best is to keep the corners together in the center of the cardboard. As an alternative to the circle fan of bills, you can roll them up and attach them as an outline around the edge and inside the pizza, using them to divide the circle into triangular slices.
- Now it’s time to attach your “pepperoni” coins. If you’re using paper, you can cut out red circles as bases for your coins, or just place them directly on top of the bills. Use as many coins as you like, sticking them on with the glue dots or repositionable tape.
- Optional: If you’re taking the pizza look to the max, sprinkle paper shreds on top of the pizza to mimic cheese. No need to glue or tape these on. If you want your pizza packaged, this also the time to shrink-wrap the pizza and blow-dry the folds to secure it.
- Time to personalize! If you want to decorate, you can tape wrapping paper to the underside of the pizza box lid, place a bow on the pizza or the top of the box or even add a cute sign saying, “You can’t live on pizza alone, so here’s some dough!” Once you add the finishing touches, you’re all set to present your pizza!
Put Your Mouth Where Your Money Pizza Is
Money pizzas are cool, creative, crafty ways to make a gift of cash on special occasions, but after your loved one is done counting the bills, everyone might be craving a real slice! To satisfy stomachs as well as piggy banks, maybe you should have a real pizza on the way. Luckily, Giordano’s has you covered.
With delicious deep-dish, stuffed and hand-stretched thin-crust pizza inspired by a 200-year-old Italian family recipe, Giordano’s has been Chicago’s favorite pizza place for more than 40 years. We craft every crust with love and authentic flavor — and we ship straight to your door. To follow up your money pizza with a taste of the real thing, order your delivery today!