I Threw My Kid A Fiver Party and Birthday Wishes Came True

For my son’s recent birthday, I followed a trend I read about on the internet. But apparently,  I may be a bit of a trendsetter myself because no one else I talked to about it had heard of what I consider a brilliant idea. I’m talking about a Fiver Party.

The concept is this, instead of bringing a gift to the birthday boy or girl, you bring $5 for them to put towards a gift that they choose. I loved this idea the first time I read about it, especially because it cuts down on the number of gifts that come home. 

My son just turned six and is super social. He wanted to celebrate by inviting his entire class plus a few outside friends. The idea of him receiving 20 plus presents gave me anxiety. While I didn’t love the idea of him receiving so much stuff, I also didn’t want to take away the thrill of his birthday. While he doesn’t need anything, was a Fiver Party more for me than him?

So I explained the concept to my son and gave him the option, a party where people may bring presents, or a party where people would either bring nothing or $5. He understood right away and said, so I could go buy a Colossal T-Rex or new Lego set?  He chose the Fiver Party, but in full disclosure I think he went to school and told his friends they had to bring him money for his birthday. So that set off another discussion about the true meaning of a party, to celebrate with friends and that gifts are not required. If people decided to give something, that was because they wanted to, not because they had to. His actual gift was getting a party with his friends and lots of cupcakes.

After doing some research on the Fiver Party concept, there were some negative responses because it’s rude to ask for money. When I asked some friends about this, they said they would spend more than $5 on an actual gift, so this was no big deal and actually easier on the parent. I think this is especially the case when you’re inviting kids from school and the parents may not know you or your child very well.  

So in the invitation I chose this wording, “Your presence is the only present that he needs, but should you want to give something to the birthday boy, please consider giving $5 that he can put toward something special. We hope to see you there!”

I used Evite to send the invitations and put the information in the ‘message from the host’ section. But I realized not everyone scrolls down to see that part. So keep that in mind if you’re doing something similar. When it came to his party, about half of the guests brought gifts. He was happy to load up on Legos. The other half gave him a card with money. I found that most people didn’t seem comfortable giving only $5. Several families gave more money, especially if they had more than one child attending. This was for sure a new concept for his guests.

After the party ended and the sugar rush was gone, we headed to the store to buy his big gift. This is not something he’s ever done before, taken money and bought whatever he wanted. It was a good lesson about money, not spending everything at once and  explaining the concept of shopping around for the best deal. But it was also so much fun. As he picked up his Colossal T-Rex, he said mom I can’t believe this is happening. Thank you for making my dreams come true. He got to celebrate with his friends and then buy something special that he’s been wanting.

In the end, I’m glad we did a Fiver Party. I hope if this trend catches on, people become more comfortable with giving $5. From my perspective, the gifts are rarely what the kids remember. The moments that matter are getting your friends together to celebrate you. And getting to buy yourself an extra special gift is icing on the cake.  

Originally published in 2019.

Kim Trinchet
Kim is a Wichita transplant who never planned to stay, but 15 years later she’s convinced Wichita is the perfect place to raise a family. She’s a wife to Jorge and a mama to Nico and Lucia. She moved here from the Chicago suburbs and works in the communications world. The rest of her time is focused on seeking out adventures with her little family. She also loves browsing grocery store aisles, reading cookbooks, iced coffee and wine. Kim’s trying to learn Spanish as well, her kiddos are bilingual and already speak better than she does!