The latest trend in children’s birthday parties features a thrifty upside for parents.
Sarah Schultz, a Canadian mom-of-three says she first heard about the growing trend of “fiver” parties two years ago when her eldest son, Braden, brought home birthday invitations requesting guests bring $5 in a card in lieu of gifts.
“I was an instant fan,” Schultz said in an interview with TODAY. “Birthday parties can be so expensive – spending $20 on a gift- which really limits the amount of birthday parties I let our kids attend.”
Schultz, who lives in just outside of Calgary, Alta., wrote about the party trend on her blog Nurse Loves Farmer. The registered ER nurse loved the idea so much, she helped Braden plan a “fiver” party so he could save up to buy his own pet.
“He’s my litter saver and saved all of his Christmas money and birthday money to buy a pet hedgehog – which was completely his idea,” she said. “Braden was very happy with his fiver party and it was a wonderful lesson to teach him about saving money instead of spending money as soon as you get it.”
Parenting experts are praising the party idea, saying it helps children focus less on material things, and more on the experience of their birthday.
“Our kids often get so inundated with ‘stuff’ on their birthday that each gift becomes less special,” explained Amy McCready, author of The Me, Me, Me Epidemic: A Step-by-Step Guide to Raising Capable, Grateful Kids in an Over-Entitled World. “With fiver parties, parents and close relatives can still give the child a few gifts, and friends can help contribute to a larger coveted item or experience.”
Likewise, the parties can help parents of guests afford to attend birthday parties without suffering financial strain.
McCready offered a template for parents to include on invitations to help take the idea of fiver parties from “ick to incredible”:
We’re trying to help (NAME) focus on the joy of celebrating this special occasion with his cherished friends rather than on receiving gifts.
To that end — we hope you’ll consider NO GIFTS. For those who feel uncomfortable with that, we ask you consider NO MORE THAN a $5 gift card or cash that he can put towards something special he’s saving for.
Thanks for understanding and celebrating with us.
While fiver parties may not be for everyone, Schultz defended her decision to host one for her son’s birthday.
“I share my insight on being able to have more friends attend, keep the party an affordable event for those kids and keep those useless gifts that get pushed aside away,” she said. “I also don’t think it’s any more tacky than saying your child has a wish list for their birthday and to buy certain gifts for them.”
Would you host a fiver party for your child? Let us know in the comments below.