Could children's fiver parties spell the end of birthday presents?

Are fiver parties a good idea? [Photo: Getty]
Are fiver parties a good idea? [Photo: Getty]

From whether to invite the whole class, to how much to spend on the party bags and what on earth is suitable for a present, there’s a whole lot of politics involved in children’s birthday parties.

Well now the decision about that last dilemma has been made a whole lot easier with the introduction of fiver parties.

Basically, fiver parties mean kissing goodbye to spending hours in the toy aisle because instead of bringing a present you stick a fiver in the card.

The idea is that parents can then put the money towards a bigger present for their child from all their friends and family.

The concept has been discussed over on Mumsnet, where it has drawn contrasting opinions.

“I’ve just been reading about fiver parties and wondered what other people think?” one parent posted on the parenting forum.

“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?”

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Many parents can see the plus points of forgoing the gift-giving in favour of a fiver.

In terms of the party attendee, there’s no wrapping, it’s cheaper and takes away the toil of choosing which plastic tut to gift.

For the parent of the recipient, a fiver in a card takes away the post-party pile of toys which you often don’t have the need or the space to house.

Instead, the birthday boy or girl can collect their money together to buy something they really, really want.

“This is common in one of my child’s classes but not the other,” one user wrote.

“It's usually worded as a "please no gift necessary but, if you wish, €5 in a card would be lovely" rather than a demand for money. Personally I think it's a great idea.”

“I’m never sure how much to spend on DS’s friends birthdays and it invariably ends up being more than a fiver,” another agreed.

“£5 sounds like a good, reasonable amount to give, it saves the who’s giving the most expensive gift competition/awkwardness and it’s within the means of most people I’d imagine.”

Could fiver parties spell the end of birthday presents? [Photo: Getty]
Could fiver parties spell the end of birthday presents? [Photo: Getty]

But not everyone thinks it’s a good idea, with some parents believing the concept isn’t in the spirit of gift giving, with others claiming that asking for money was somewhat crass.

“It sounds very tacky to me, and I don't think I would want to participate,” one user commented. “I certainly wouldn't hold one for my child!”

“I think it's a bit off to ask for money and then the parent grabs the cash to pay for the gift they bought for their own child,” another user wrote.

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Commenting on the rise of fiver parties Cathy Ranson, editor of Channel‎ said: "There are three main factors driving the rise of fiver parties - time, money and the desire to be eco-concious and help the planet.

"Firstly, in these ‎troubled economic times, most families are watching their money so to put in a set sum for a birthday present takes the pressure off. It also stops parents feeling they have to spend more than they can afford or cause offence.

"Secondly, everyone chipping in to buy a bigger gift a child really wants saves on lots of smaller gifts - often single use plastic - going to landfill. It's a win for the birthday boy or girl and the environment.”

"Finally, with most parents now working, not everyone has time to source the perfect present, so popping a fiver into the collection save time.”

And Cathy expects fiver parties to become increasingly common.

"While not everyone agrees with it, as some parents still like their child to have an exciting pile of presents to open, It's a phenomenon which is set ‎to keep growing as out lives get ever busier."

It’s not the first time the subject of children’s parties have caused controversy.

Last year another mum kicked-off a parenting debate about whether it is right to charge children to attend a birthday party.

And Myleene Klass found herself on the receiving end of criticism after an Instagram rant about a parent who asked for donations for one big present for her child’s birthday.