Babyology is trending right now with their article on the fiver birthday party, which is no new idea because this was a viral topic about 2 years ago the summer my first kid turned one. Yet, if you pop into the comment section of any of these posts you’re flooded with a mix of reactions: joy and disgust.
To the moms who already know and love the fiver birthday party, I don’t need to convince you, but for the moms who are thoroughly disgusted that someone would ask for money instead of expect a gift, let’s chat.
The Fiver Birthday is Important.
The fiver birthday part is about all of those things in the article, but what is more important is that the Fiver Birthday Party is about inclusivity.
It’s about knowing that anyone and everyone is invited to your kids birthday party regardless of their income, the spending money they have that month or whatever other reason might be keeping them from having a gift on hand when a birthday party rolls around.
It is yucky to ask for money.
Culture is a weird thing. It’s what help guides us in knowing what we should do and shouldn’t do, and how we should behave in certain situations. So I understand how you feel we’re crossing the etiquette line by requesting cash over the gift. I also understand how it feels to not want to go to a birthday party because I can’t afford a birthday gift.
Sure, my family income is reasonable. However, the financial toll of birthday party gifts mixed with rising expenses and taxes makes birthday party season extremely stressful on us. I can barely understand the toll it might have another family. The first summer of birthday parties I felt like I was choosing between a birthday party or the new shoes we needed because of yet another growth spurt. I remember bailing on a birthday party just this past year because I couldn’t afford another gift that month.
Yes, asking for $5 instead of gifts is super tacky, but I promise you’ll get over it. It gets easier when you have a room full of people who are there to celebrate your child and be fully present in the moment.
I think that expecting gifts is also really tacky. Maybe that’s just me. I think the idea that we throw a birthday party for gifts is too ingrained in our culture and we see it when we witness children who feel entitled to things, and in the mom groups when women get upset about their wedding gifts or their baby shower gifts.
It doesn’t have to be $5
If $5 is too much for where you live, drop it. In my crew, we do Facebook Invites, so the bottom line always says something along the lines of — Your presence is more valuable than presents. If you must, a fiver is perfectly acceptable. — Or however, you feel it is best to word it.
But you know what’s even better, start talking about the honest truths and challenges of birthday season at mom group, parent drop-in, or the next mom’s night out. Talk about why this important and how it impacts your life. Talk about how hard it is to give gifts when that’s not your love language. Talk about the challenges of all the toys in your house. Talk about what you really wish for your kids on that day. Talk about how a birthday party without a gift opening is less stressful.
Why even bring up the cash? Why not a solid no to gifts?
Because birthdays are about blessing the child or person with well wishes and good intentions.
It’s about celebrating their life and pushing them on to another great year. There are many out there who feel the need to gift and share in that on a special day, so providing an option to a gift helps give people an avenue to show their love in a way that you wish to receive it.
Well I’m Still Bringing a Gift
Um, okay, but that’s kind of rude.
Taking that kind of move is totally disrespectful. You’re saying I don’t care about your values and believes and how you’ve weighed the pro’s and con’s to this. I know you love giving gifts, but it’s important to understand not everyone responds to gifts and things the same way.
If you would shop off a registry, or pick a perfect gift based on what you know fo that person, why would you not respect their wishes in valuing your presence over presents?
How to Personalise the Fiver.
Ask your child to create a birthday card for the child, and simply attach a five dollar bill to the back side. There’s nothing that lights up my preschooler more than artwork from a friend.
I’m sure there are other ways to make it more personalised and would love to hear your suggestions in the comments below.
The fiver has been a game changer for our small community of moms. Or at least that’s my impression of it. I love attending birthday parties and I’m no longer trying to find an excuse to get out. I also love that I feel I can invite everyone I know to my son’s birthday party because it’s not about the gifts, it’s about spending time with people I miss and having our kids interact.
Sure, things might change as I move away from having toddlers and preschoolers, but this works for us.