If your family looks anything like mine, between my two young kids, it can feel like we’re attending a child’s birthday party every other week. I won’t ask for a show of hands, but how many of you have turned down a party because it is just getting to be too expensive shelling out $20 per party? I’m sorry to say that I would have to raise mine.
It’s led us to looking for alternatives when we consider throwing our own parties. We’ve kept it small- like, just family small, we’ve told them to invite a handful of just their best friends, we’ve put ‘no presents please!’ on the invitations. There are always ways to keep it minimal.
Something we just recently heard about and personally love is something called a “Fiver” birthday party. The idea is that, on the invitation, you write something along the lines of presents are not expected or required, but if you would like to bring something, a $5 gift card or dollar bill to be gifted would be amazing!
Not only does it cut down on the dicey process of children opening up dozens of presents in front of their guests (and potentially having less-than-stellar responses to repeat gifts, for example), it allows the birthday child to put their gifts towards something they’ve been saving up for, or maybe an experience, like a movie at the theater or a season pass to the museum.
It’s also another way to take the focus of parties off of gifts and put it back onto spending time with friends and family, which we are all about!
TODAY talked with Sarah Schultz, a mom of three who decided to go the “Fiver” route for a recent birthday party. “Birthday parties can be so expensive — spending $20 on a gift . . . really limits the amount of birthday parties I let our kids attend,” she said, adding that her son combined his Christmas and birthday money to save up for a pet hedgehog. “Braden was very happy with his fiver party and it was a wonderful lesson to teach him about saving money instead of spending money as soon as you get it.”
Another mom, Rachel Horan, threw a “Fiver” party for her daughter and put the focus of the $5 gifts on getting her daughter Michaela a zoo pass for the year, which was a success. “It was so wonderful and [the zoo pass] is creating many more memories than a toy could,” she said. “So many parents said they wish they had thought of it with their own kids but were never sure how to word it.”
Not only are parents hopping on the train, but parenting authorities as well. Amy McCready, the founder of Positive Parenting Solutions, admits that she was at first skeptical of the idea, but is now in support. She says,
With fiver parties, parents and close relatives can still give the child a few gifts, and friends can help contribute to a larger coveted item or experience. To those people [who disagree], I share my insight of being able to have more friends attend, keep the party an affordable event for those kids, and keep those useless gifts that get pushed aside away. I also don’t think it’s any more tacky than saying your child has a wish list for their birthday and to buy certain gifts for them.
We know this may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but for those of us who are searching for ways to simplify, keep the peace, and teach our kids some lessons we find valuable, this is a great idea to have on the table.
What do you think? Would you throw a “Fiver” birthday party for your child? Why or why not? Leave a comment below!
Rachel is a wife and mother living in Raleigh, North Carolina. She’s a fan of good coffee, wearer of gray t-shirts, and is constantly starting books she will never finish. Her family is her joy, and she loves to engage with other moms and dads on matters of parenting. Her blog posts have also been featured on the Today Show Parenting Blog and Scary Mommy.