'Fiver Parties' are now a thing: is the latest kids' birthday party trend brilliant or rude?

Photo: SHUTTERSTOCK
Photo: SHUTTERSTOCK 

I've been a parent for more than 14 years and with three kids, that makes a hell of a lot of kids' birthday party invitations.

You could say they're not my favourite thing in the world, however, me being jaded shouldn't stop my kids experiencing the joy and bonding that goes with celebrating a friend's birthday. And when it's their turn, of course we want them to receive lots of RSVPs.

The only problem is, all those birthday parties aren't just expensive for the birthday family - they add up to a whole lot of money spent by attendees on gifts. Many of us think it's gotten out of hand and there's no guarantee the birthday person will even appreciate or like when we've spent our hard-earned money on.

There's a birthday party trend doing the rounds and I am HERE for it.

They're called 'Fiver Parties,' with attendees placing a five dollar note inside a card in lieu of a gift. No trekking, no agony over finding a great gift within a tight budget; simply open your wallet, shove a five dollar note inside a card and Bob's your uncle.

The child gets to spend a good chunk of money on something they really want or save it for a rainy day, and parents aren't left with all manner of unwelcome toy mess after every birthday party. No wasteful wrapping paper, no plastic (other than the fiver of course), easy done.

And when you get down to it, it's teaching kids to just enjoy their party and friends, and on quality rather than quantity.

It's catching on, with more far-reaching effects than we could have imagined.

Mum of twins Naomi Dorland, who runs multiple birth site Twinfo, says she attended a Fiver party and was impressed when her contribution went to charity.

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"A friend of mine did it for her twins (who want for nothing) and one twin donated her money to "save the tigers" and the other to a different animal charity. They then took the children to the respective charity so they could hand over the money themselves," she explained.

Queensland mum-of-three Anna Lockwood, says although her kids haven't been invited to a Fiver Party, she can appreciate the logic.

"I think it's sensible and practical to give cash, although I've never heard of this and I've never been asked either. I always give money now. Our daughter had a whale of a time spending some of her Christmas money recently."

Melbourne mum Jo Beveridge agrees.

"A fiver is cheap! I usually spend around $30 on a gift (or cash) for parties."

It's already taken off among new parents with babies, too. Sydney mum Melanie Mahoney, whose baby will soon celebrate his first birthday, said, "A lot of mums in my mothers group are doing it for our kids' first birthdays. I think it's great - helps save up for some good quality wooden toys or outdoor play stuff!"

Of course it's important to word the request with tact, and there is also the option of saying 'No gifts please,' which is what we usually do these days.

That said, the memories of picking out that very special present once a year, will last them a lifetime. So go for it, we'll come to your Fiver Party full of appreciation.