So, what is the newest and “best birthday party trend” ever? It’s the Fiver Party…
“Archie is having a fiver party! He really wants a (name big ticket gift item) so instead of bringing him a gift, please pop a $5 note in a card to go towards this. He’s very excited! Thank you.”
Instead of inviting your child’s little friends and classmates to a birthday party where gifts are purchased and given to the birthday child, the invitation instructs the parent to place a $5 bill in a card to be given to the birthday child to pay for a single expensive gift. If $5 isn’t enough to cover the cost of that big ticket gift, there is such a thing as a “tenner party”. Yep, guests bring a $10 bill.
Lana Hallowes, writing for Babyology.com, details a few of the advantages she sees in this new trend:
1. It’s easy on parents. No more needing to dash to the shops to buy a present and then wondering if the birthday girl already has a rainbow My Little Pony or too much Duplo.
2. It’s budget friendly. If your child gets invited to lots of parties and you spend say $20 each time on a gift, it adds up, especially when little ones start school and the ENTIRE class is invited to the parties.
3. It removes the expectation of ‘stuff’ from birthdays. It teaches kids that parties are about friends and having fun, not piles of presents. It also teaches them the value of saving for something that they really want.
4. It’s environmentally friendly. How many toys end up in landfill after being loved for a period of time and then ignored?
5. It cuts down on toy clutter. t Fewer toys mean fewer things to have to toss, give away or donate to charity when the time comes.
6. The child gets one big and exciting present that they’ve been dreaming about. Not lots of little cheap ones that break and have bits that get lost.
The irony, if you read to the end of the article, is that Ms. Hallowes not only gives her son’s friend $5 but also a small gift which included stickers. Yet another cluttery gift that will end up in a landfill.
But let’s break down those alleged “pros” of having a fiver party…
1. It’s easy on the parents of the birthday child because they are not obligated to bear the entire financial burden of providing their child a big ticket gift. Crowd sourcing the funding to get your kid nice things is easy!
2. It’s one thing when guests take the initiative to get together and pool their money to buy one gift thus being more budget friendly. It’s entirely another issue when parents of the recipient orchestrate the collection of money to benefit a family member.
3. It adds the expectation that birthday = money and that you can corral your friends into funding big ticket items. Five or ten dollars may be a sufficient amount of money at age 5 but by teen years, that dollar amount will increase. It teaches kids that friends are to be used to fund raise and the more “friends” you invite, the more money you get. It teaches them nothing about the value of saving since the concept of saving implies sacrifice, work and frugality to achieve the necessary funds to pay for what you desire. This is not to be confused with what is actually happening at a fiver party, i.e. that it is a fund raiser.
4. Recycle toys. There is a huge industry in selling second hand toys in consignment shops. And if playing the “let’s be environmental friendly” card, be sure your adult hobbies, work are just as environmentally friendly.
5. Books make great gifts, too. There are children who request donations to their favorite charity, Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes or a food pantry for example, instead of personal gifts. How about a “canner party” where guests bring their favorite canned food item to be given to the local food bank?
6. The child may get one big and exciting present but it did not come from the parents who clearly needed the financial assistance from others. The parents did not model saving, personal sacrifice and a hard work ethic to their child but rather how best to extract cash from people to get what you want.