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The rise of ‘fiver parties’: New trend sees parents gift $5 cash in an envelope for kids’ birthdays – so is it brilliant or just rude?

By February 1, 2019February 4th, 2019No Comments
  • Australian parents are now hosting ‘fiver parties’ for their young kids
  • The idea is to give children a nominal amount, such as $5, instead of gifts
  • Parenting expert Sharon Witt believes the concept is great for instilling values


PUBLISHED: 14:22 AEDT, 23 January 2019 | UPDATED: 17:21 AEDT, 23 January 2019

The trendiest way to host a celebration for your child in 2019 is to throw a ‘fiver party’. The concept, which is gaining popularity among Australian parents, comes with a request that those attending a birthday party bring cash (usually $5) in lieu of gifts.

The alternative to buying presents is a ‘win-win’ for parents and children alike, according to Australian parenting expert Sharon Witt. However, some parents believe it’s rude to give $5 – as parents would normally spend up to $30 on a gift.

Sharon argued otherwise, saying the party concept meant less hassle for parents. ‘It takes the pressure off parents in terms of finding a gift and spending money and there are no issues with comparing what they’ve spent to others’. ‘It’s not a lot of money and most people have a five dollar note.’

Sharon said the concept also put an end to the problem of parents ending up with a glut of unwanted toys. ‘Let’s face it, these days kids have more than they need,’ she said. ‘With a five dollar note, I know I am going to be giving the child something that’s not going to be thrown out.’

As well as keeping cost and stress levels down, the idea also ensured a celebration wasn’t just about the gifts being exchanged. Sharon explained because money is given to a child in an envelope, and this is understood in advance, the attention shifts to the celebration. Bottom of Form

‘Children are free to enjoy their birthday without the focus being on what they’ve been given,’ she said.

If parents want to extend this concept a little further, Sharon said there was always the option encouraging children to save or to donate their funds. ‘Doing this can teach children really valuable lessons, especially as their lives are often overrun with stuff,’ she said.

Sharon said last Christmas her daughters opted to donate their Christmas money to families in Uganda. Their money went towards Christmas lunch for six families, sanitary pads for girls in need and livestock. ‘They can see how their donation is making a difference to others lives,’ she said.

The idea has also been discussed by parents on social media, with some saying they think ‘fiver parties’ were a good idea. One woman, Jesse, said she recently held a fiver party for her child’s birthday. She told attending guests not to buy gifts or clothing but to put $5 in an envelope. ‘Of course family gave him more my now 18-month-old loves taking his money to the bank and I don’t have a house full of unwanted toys!,’ she wrote.

Another woman, Auri, added she bypasses the envelope system and asks people to put $5 directly into their child’s account for their birthday gifts. ‘With three children, our house is so overrun with toys it’s crazy, they definitely don’t need any more nor do we have room to store toys,’ she said. ‘Quality over quantity,’ wrote Ka. ‘I love this idea. I don’t think the kids attending will mind if the party is fun and the bday boy/girl gets something they really want.’

While parents seemed generally in favour of ‘fiver parties’, there were also some who said they weren’t sure they felt entirely comfortable with asking for money. ‘Love the idea if I was invited but I would feel incredibly rude asking for it,’ shared Rebecca. Another, Katrina, added while she embraced the notion, she hated the term ‘fiver party’.

‘I will always write something along the lines of “Jamie already has more toys/books than he can play with and your attendance is the biggest gift he could receive so has requested that you do not bring any gifts but instead just come and help him celebrate this momentous occasion.