'Fiver' Parties are the Newest Kid Birthday Trend -- Is It Genius or Rude?



Nothing elicits a collective groan from parents quite like getting another birthday party invitation. As a mom, I get that everyone wants to go big for their child's birthday and celebrate with friends. But spending $25 on a party gift every other weekend really starts to add up. That's why some parents are opting for a new kind of celebration that's supposed to help alleviate the financial and time burden of present shopping. They're called "fiver parties," and the idea is that everyone who attends the party brings the birthday kid five bucks so the money can be combined to buy one big gift that the child really wants. It sounds simple enough, but parents have some pretty strong feelings about the trend.

  • The idea for fiver parties first hit the Internet last summer, when Today talked to a mom of three who threw one for her son.

    "Birthday parties can be so expensive -- spending $20 on a gift ... really limits the amount of birthday parties I let our kids attend," Sarah Schultz said at the time. So she threw a fiver party, and her son paired the money he got for his birthday with some money from Christmas to buy himself a pet hedgehog. The mom called it "a wonderful lesson about saving."

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  • But in a recent conversation about fiver parties on Mumsnet, not everyone was so enthusiastic.

  • The issue is that many parents think it's rude to ask for money at a child's party, even if they'd prefer that option.

    fiver birthday parties
  • fiver birthday parties

    Sure, most people in attendance would have shelled out for a gift anyway, and $5 is likely less than they would have spent, but it does come off as a bit presumptuous to tell people what kind of gift to bring to a party.

  • But others said fiver parties actually work really well.

    fiver birthday parties

    One person even said that's the only way people throw parties where she lives. "It’s become the norm," she wrote. "Parents just put on the back of the invite, no gift expected, if you choose to please do not spend more than €5."

  • And some parents said a fiver party is definitely preferable to a different new trend: making a birthday party wish list or registry.

    fiver birthday parties


  • Kids these days have so. much. stuff.

    It makes sense that parents are looking for new ways to cut the cost of parties and stop the flow of new toys. Last weekend, my daughter went to a party where the host asked us to please not bring a gift or card at all, and I don't think that's a bad thing.

    Ultimately, gifts are a typical part of birthdays, whether it's rude to acknowledge that or not, and not everyone has the money to buy an expensive gift. A fiver party could be a good way to ease the burden on parents and teach kids that a birthday isn't about having the hugest pile of gifts. I probably wouldn't throw one for my own child, but I'm certainly not against other parents thinking outside the box.