Kids’ birthday parties have become much more than a cake, ice cream, some games and balloons. Some parents are shelling out thousands to give their little ones perfect parties with fancy foods and intricate themes, and the gift giving etiquette has gotten more complicated too. So when Canadian mom Sarah Schultz wrote about “fiver parties” on her blog Nurse loves Farmer, the idea created a lot of buzz.
So what is a fiver party? Where each guest brings $5 for the birthday boy or girl and they put their pile of cash together to buy a bigger gift they really want. It’s a great concept because with little kids, the whole class is often invited to each student’s birthday party and all those $20 presents for 18 of those parties really add up. Plus, this way the kid gets to pick out a gift they actually want instead of getting a bunch of stuff they’ll never even play with.
Some parents try to avoid that by asking guests to bring “no gifts” but that’s hard for some to accept, especially if it’s a kid’s party. So fiver parties are a great alternative because you get to give a little something without breaking the budget buying presents.
But if you decide to have a fiver party, or ask for donations to a specific charity or even go “no gifts,” keep in mind it’s really just a suggestion and not all guests will follow it. “Gift giving is a choice by the giver,” explains etiquette expert Lizzie Post. “Telling people that they can only donate to a certain charity or that they can only give a certain type of gift is not really in the spirit of generosity that gift giving represents.”