5 Reasons You Should Have Fiver Birthday Parties

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.
Super Mario Birthday Party

Birthday parties can get SO expensive to send your kids to! Have you ever considered hosting a "fiver" birthday party? Here's what it is and 5 reasons you should have one!

  1. It’s cheap. Obviously! It’s the best reason—-all kids invited can afford to send a gift.
  2. Kids love getting money. Well, my kids do, anyway.
  3. They get exactly what they want for their gift. They get to go shopping for exactly what they want.
  4. 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.
  5. It’s a good lesson on saving moneyAs 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!

Alternate Ideas

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!

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I'm a nurse who married a farmer and I'm a boy mom of 3 to Braden, Ethan and Jonathan. I love blogging about family life, farming, recipes and embracing my role as farm wife and mom. I'm knee-deep in tractors, trains and trucks and I'm often seen with my camera in my hands catching life's moments.

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  1. We did this last year and will be doing this again this year. The only difference is we had a five and a fiver party. Kids brought 2 5$ bills. One for my kid and one we gave to charity. We chose Ronald McDonald House, my family has stayed there twice. We made a day out of visiting the house to give our donation. We would go to the mall go out for lunch and then give our donation.

  2. This idea is great, not only for the clutter and time but the environment. I'd like my child to remember memories, not 'stuff.'

  3. I also like that for my older kids who get allowance for doing farm/house chores, that $5 is an amount that THEY can actually afford. (I know that not all families do allowances but we use it to teach spending, saving and giving) I like that they are buying gifts for their own friends. I too end up donating a ton of stuff each year that just sits around so I just LOVE this idea!!!

  4. For my daughter's 9th bday, I asked everyone invited to bring a wrapped book of their choice. Toward the end of the party, everyone chose a "mystery" book that they could take home (they could swap between them if they wanted to!). Solved the unnecessary gifts problem as well as the loot bag problem!

  5. My friend does a 50/50 party where the guests bring a cash present normally 10$ snd then her son picks a charity of his choice and will donate half of what he is given from his party to said charity. She rents the local swimming pool and he invites his whole class (bit much there but a great idea)

  6. Check out Echoage. Kids sign up for their birthdays, half the money goes to a charity of their choice and the other half goes to something they are saving for. I think the invitations can even be done through echoage.

  7. We did something similar to the twoonie party for our son’s 4th. I printed ‘i am a very lucky boy and I have all that i need, but many other kids don’t! In lieu of a gift, please bring a gently-loved book, toy or clothes to help support children in need.’ People were very shocked and some even brought the donation as well as a gift for our son. We want to a local orphanage (we live in Egypt and they still exist here) and gave everything away. Such a great lesson for our son. He niw often puts things aside from his toy box to give away.

  8. On the number of Friends question, we had our kids limit the number of guests to their age on the birthday. By the time they were 12, they didn’t really want twelve friends anyway!

  9. My boy had a few toonie birthday parties because he didn’t like the plastic junk he was given. Now that he’s older the gifts are a bit better. We also only invite a few close friends that he will have fun with…never the whole class. For ‘loot bags’ we now give a chocolate bar and a coupon for skating.

    • Great ideas! This last birthday our oldest had (turned 7) he invited 2 friends to go to a movie and come home for pizza. They brought him gifts and he really loved it. Good to have lots of options!

  10. This is a fabulous idea There are a lot of families who can’t afford to spent 20.00 for a gift so their child can go to a friends party. Plus, some children are asked to several parties and, if there are 2 or 3 children in the family asked to Birthday parties it could be very costly.The Fiver party also gets your child to save their money for what they really want!

  11. This is a great idea! I’ll have to tell my daughter for her own kids. I forget that you’re Canadian. I only recently learned what a toonie is. 😉 Love our northern neighbors!

  12. This is a great idea, Sarah. My daughter turned 5 earlier this year and I cannot agree more on the “useless toys” point. Thanks for sharing. Cheers!

  13. Is $25 a usual amount to spend on a gift at kids parties? My kids have only started to be invited to class parties this year, and I spent $5-$10.

    • I also spent 5-10. I do buy things on sale or like ahead of time…I put them in a box and the kids pick what present to give.

    • I think it depends. I mean if you go somewhere like samco and miko you can get awesome toys for less.

  14. This is a great idea! Perhaps we could stamp out loot bags as well! They are expensive, usually junkie and unnecessary. When I was small we went to birthday parties to have fun, not to receive gifts.

  15. I like this style of party because not every family in my children’s classes can afford $10 or $20 gifts for every classmate’s birthday. There were a couple parties where kids didn’t come because they couldn’t afford to buy a gift. Fiver parties make it more affordable and inclusive.

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