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Fiver Parties and What They Mean for the Future of Gift Giving

By Amari McKoy on July, 2 2019

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Amari McKoy

Average reading time: 4-6 mins

Are the days of traditional birthday presents behind us? Fiver parties are a distinctly millennial trend that’s turning tried-and-true party rituals on their heads. 

What are Fiver Parties? The hottest birthday party trend of the year, Fiver Parties alleviate the gift giving stresses that parents across the nation have faced for decades. Rather than spending $20 on The Toy, hosts ask for a $5 bill. The money is pooled together, and can be put towards one big, much more significant gift, instead of many smaller, less meaningful things. The idea is simple enough, but it’s left blogs raving about how Fiver Parties are poised to dramatically shift birthday norms.

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Having gained a great deal of traction over the past few months, Fiver Parties mark, for many parents, the beginning of a new generation of gift giving. To fully understand what they are, we first have to take a look at where they come from…

It starts with trying to come up with a good idea for a gift. Googling “best gifts for 4 year olds”  or “gifts 5 year olds love” and not finding anything useful. Then, we’ve all been there: racing down the aisles of your local toy store, scouring the shelves for something your child’s friend Johnny might want for his birthday. The party starts in twenty minutes, and the only person with less of an idea of what to purchase is, yes, your child.

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You ask them what Johnny likes, what he’s into, what TV shows he watches or what games he likes to play. They shrug. 

With fifteen minutes until the party starts, you stumble across The Toy. A $20 trinket that Johnny might love, but one that he could just as easily hate. Or maybe it’s one he already has. Or maybe he’ll use it for an hour or two before tossing it into the sea of plastic the rest of The Toys have created in the corner of his playroom, never to be seen again.

With an air of hesitation and five remaining minutes, you part ways with your twenty, hard-earned, dollars.

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The birthday party routine takes its toll on even the savviest parents. From the time to purchase a gift, to the money going into the gift, and the almost inevitable fate of that gift, the cycle has become a headache for moms across the country. From this very conflict, the Fiver Party was born.

Reactions to the Fiver Party Fandom are mixed. There are reasonable concerns about the psychological implications of children expecting anything at their birthday parties, even if it’s a $5 bill. There’s also the question of etiquette, since asking your guests to bring something for your child can easily come across as “tacky,” or rude. 

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Thought-leaders in the community, however, disagree. Most would argue that $5 contributions towards one extra special present takes away from the birthday-party-materialism that several $20 gifts perpetuate. The distraction of presents is removed from the party altogether, such that your child can enjoy quality time with their guests. When it comes to actually asking for the money, parents have described that the most important element of throwing a Fiver Party is exactly how you tell your guests that what’s being thrown is, in fact, a Fiver Party. There is a fine line between tasteful and tacky when it comes to the invitations, but with the right words, the proposal can leave guests feeling not awkward or uncomfortable, but excited. Inspired even. Most parents agree that Fiver Parties are more convenient, less wasteful, and create an overall more educational birthday party experience.

So it’s been a week. Your child comes home from school with a small, handwritten thank you note from none other than the birthday boy himself, Johnny:

“Hi! Thank you for coming to my party! I had a lot of fun, and I hope you did too. Thank you so much for the $5. You helped me get a new puppy! I hope you come to meet him soon!”

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Party trends, much like the $20 you’d spend on each present, come and go. With a community of supporters and a nation of parents fed up with the traditional birthday gift format, Fiver Parties aren’t like other trends, they’re here to stay.

What do you think about Fiver Parties? Have you been to one? Do you plan on throwing one? Follow us on Instagram and Facebook to share your thoughts and ideas!

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