Gone are the days where you spend hours in a toy shop trying to find a present for your daughter’s best friend’s party – now you just hand over a fiver.
At least that’s according to Mumsnet, where mums have been discussing the new phenomenon of “fiver parties” – you don’t bring a present, just stick a fiver in a card so the parents can put it towards a bigger present for their child and say it’s from all their friends and family.
“I’ve just been reading about fiver parties and wondered what other people think?” one parent posted on Mumsnet. “Part of me thinks, yeah I’d stick a fiver in a card rather than the mission to find a reasonably-priced gift that I’m not sure birthday child wants.
“But the Brit in me is recoiling in horror at the idea of asking other parents to give my child cash in order to reimburse the big gift I’d bought my child. Thoughts?”
The idea of a fiver party is that children don’t end up with tons of presents they might not necessarily want which, if you think about it, could also cut down on piles of plastic waste.
Some parents were against the idea, arguing that asking for cash isn’t a polite request. “I would find it rude,” one mum said. “Of course most parents buy a birthday gift, but it’s not mandatory, and some might just get a book from the pound shop.”
Another agreed, writing: “It’s not something I’d want to do. I usually ask the parents if there is something specific their child would like and if they’re not sure then our child is always able to find out from their friend. I just hate the idea of asking for money I suppose.”
Others thought it was a brilliant idea – “It’s more sensible and less wasteful than loads of £5-£10 presents some of which will be duplicates, some never played with,” one wrote.
It’s more sensible and less wasteful than loads of £5-£10 presents some of which will be duplicates, some never played with."
And another commented: “I love the idea of it. No child needs and parent lack space for 20 odd gifts – if I received an invite worded well it wouldn’t bother me. Sometimes I’d rather give money than hunt for something that might end up in charity shop asap.”
Despite some saying they’d find it hard to directly ask others for cash, many thought it’d be a good idea with some small improvements. Some mums said they would be happy as long as it wasn’t compulsory, i.e. the parents of the child shouldn’t be reliant on the money from others to buy this big gift.
Others suggested that asking for cash in general and not a fiver specifically could work – “I don’t mind giving cash but I know quite a few parents who rely on buying items in the sale that look more expensive so do not spend out of their budget. I would hate to think a child couldn’t attend a party I organised as the parent didn’t have the cash.”
Cathy Ranson, editor of ChannelMum.com said, providing everyone agrees, fiver parties are a simple way to remove the pressure of gift giving. “It also helps cut down on plastic junk going to landfill because as all parents know, many birthday gifts don’t always get played with or break quickly and end up in the bin,” she said.
However, she did add that it could take away some of the magic of birthday parties, especially for younger children. “Infant age children adore picking out gifts for pals, and part of the fun for the birthday boy or girl is opening a big pile of pressies after their own party.”
She suggested the trend may best be used when children have a firm idea of what they want for a bigger gift which everyone is happy to contribute to – or for older children and teens who prefer vouchers or money.
What do you think? Would you be offended if your child was invited to a fiver party? Let us know in the comments below or email firstname.lastname@example.org.