Giving Money is not an alternative to giving a gift but is a gift in itself.
Many cultures like Russia and Germany consider giving money as taboo but it is a hugely popular option for gifting in India. Many occasions specifically demand for gifting money like Indian wedding gifts, anniversaries, birth of a child, birthday of a person younger to the gift giver etc. Along with gifting money comes a superstition that it should be gifted in odd numbers like INR 1001, INR 101 etc
A more modern approach involves gifting money in innovative ways like shares of a company, stocks and bonds in the recipients name, disguising the gift of money in a new purse or wallet, gifting money in a puzzle box, gifting a little something along with money for example a travelogue for an anniversary etc
If one is unsure of the likes and dislikes of a recipient gifting money can be the best option. This would in turn save your hard earned money by preventing a gift from being re-gifted or discarded and also bring about satisfaction of having made the recipient happy- now whether the recipient uses it to buy something of choice or put it into a savings account is up to them.
To make the process of gifting money more personal one could put in a note with ideas on how to spend it like for a holiday, mention useful items that can be bought etc This would lend an impression that the giver has put in a thoughtful approach to gifting money and make the process more enjoyable.
Gifting money can be especially useful when grandparents, aunts and uncles give to children-be it kids or teenagers and young people . In case of kids it can start off a habit of managing money; for teenagers it can allow a sense of freedom by letting them choose any gift that they want and for young people it can be a good savings collection.
A more innovative approach to giving money is by opening a savings account for children thereby teaching them the value of collecting money right from a young age or by buying them stocks in a company of interest like a toy company whereby they would automatically learn the working of the stock market by following the price of the share, a unique example of an awesome personalized gift for the kids.
Money should not be gifted to people elder to oneself like parents,relatives or even those with whom you have a formal relationship like coaches, teachers, co-workers etc. also if an occasion demands for a gift it should not be substituted with giving money like a housewarming party.
Frequently gifting money instead of gifts also tells the recipient that the giver is just not interested in good gifting and doing so just for the sake of it.
Hence, giving money is a good gifting practice when done with consideration.