As our first born started getting older and moving from the family-only birthday parties of the toddler years, to the friend-parties of the school years, I was completely unaware of birthday party etiquette. Do I invite the whole class? Do I invite just a few friends? I didn’t really want 13 three- and four-year-olds in my house for Braden’s first playschool birthday party, but I think I have to invite them all…I didn’t want anyone to feel left out.
For Braden’s first friend birthday party when he turned 4, I put on the birthday invitation: “your presence is the only present we require, no gifts please.” I honestly don’t want a bunch of random toys around, and I often set birthday gifts that I know he won’t won’t play with that long aside, and donate them as brand new to the Christmas hamper in December (bad mom, I know).
I know some parents, and my own mother, thought I was
weird mean for not having birthday presents for Braden’s 4th birthday party. He honestly didn’t care or didn’t know to ask where all the presents were, he had way too much fun having all of his playschool friends over. However, for all the subsequent birthdays I’ve just let people get whatever they want. Most people ask now what Braden likes, and now he’s been into LEGO, that’s a really easy gift and I don’t mind having that around at all. However, the last 2 birthday parties Braden has been invited to have been “fiver” birthday parties, and I think they’re brilliant and everyone should do them!
What is a “Fiver” Birthday Party?
The invitations Braden has received have read something along the lines of: “So-and-so is having a “fiver” party! He wants to save up for a [insert gift here], so if you wish to send a gift, please include $5 in a card!” or something along those lines; always worded very tastefully and respectfully with no pressure to include any gift at all.
I think this is BRILLIANT! I often don’t send Braden to all the birthday parties he gets invited to because it gets so expensive to send him. I usually spend about $25 on a gift, and that adds up pretty quickly, especially when you have 18+ kids in your class/grade and then your friends on your hockey and soccer teams.
- It’s cheap. Obviously! It’s the best reason—-all kids invited can afford to send a gift.
- Kids love getting money. Well, my kids do, anyway.
- They get exactly what they want for their gift. They get to go shopping for exactly what they want.
- No useless toys. Sorry, it’s true. Sometimes my kids have gotten gifts that I would never want or allow in our house and they get donated anyway.
- It’s a good lesson on saving money. As kids get older, they can learn how to save up for certain toys that are too expensive to ask for as gifts.
Unite with me, parents, and let’s all throw fiver parties!
I have heard a lot of suggestions of “Two Toonies” parties where a child is gifted two $2 coins (we’re Canadian, eh?!) and they keep a toonie and donate a toonie to a charity/cause of their choice. Beautiful idea full of lessons!