Saudis find innovative ways to give Eid gifts amid pandemic

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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - RIYADH: Due to the ongoing pandemic, Saudis are exploring different ways to exchange gifts and eidiya. They are mostly relying on internet and different apps available to solve this problem by sending e-gifts and transferring money using electronic channels.

“I got my eidiya this year from my cousin though STC (app),” said Waleed Bukhari. “I normally receive cash from the family’s elders, but I was happy to get something different.”

An eidiya is hard to define. Its literal translation is “of Eid” and it is usually a money gift that children — and sometimes adults — receive on the morning of the first day of Eid, with amounts generally depending on one’s age.

The Saudi Telecom Co.’s payment app, STC Pay, is offering a fun way for people to send their eidiya money electronically. There are options to customize the envelope and attach a personal message, and many might find this a suitable alternative to the traditional aspect of doling out Eid money.

But some prefer to send e-gifts instead of money for Eid.

Dana Al-Harbi, a college student, said her parents never gave her money for Eid but that she had yet to receive an Eid gift from them that she did not love.




A box to hold money with ‘Blessed Eid’ written on it in Arabic.

“Money is useful, sure, but they’ve always given me stuff I appreciated much more,” she told Arab News. “They put a lot of love and thought into their gifts, and that’s more important to me than money.”

Some stores offer special boxes or envelopes to hold cash in interesting ways, or sell cards with a little slot for holding rolled-up bills. Some decorate bouquets of flowers with money, hide money inside chocolate wrappers, or even make scavenger hunts for their families with bills hidden around the house for them to find.

Wafaa Al-Mansour, a mother of five, recommends handing out gift cards.

“There’s something I don’t like about straight-up giving cash out, and I’m always out of the loop when it comes to what my children want as gifts, so I give them the option to choose what they like, but also make sure they’re not wasting money on something I don’t approve of,” she told Arab News.

She recommended gift vouchers offered by different bookstores as a good option.

“I like to get the SR100 ($26.66) vouchers, as they’re an appropriate amount, the ones under 12 get three and the ones over 12 get five. They can choose to buy books, toys, games, stationery, or even do what my sons did and save up the vouchers for the more expensive electronics. They got their PlayStation that way,” she said.

Haifa Abduljaleel prefers to send her three kids their cash by bank transfer, a process that she says has made her life much easier over the years.

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