A New Idea on Gift Giving for Birthday Parties: The Fiver Party

It wasn’t until we moved overseas that I heard about the newest birthday party craze: the “Fiver Party.” Not only is it GENIUS, but it helps with those last minute birthday gift buying stresses for any busy mama.

A couple of weeks ago my oldest daughter, Zoey, was invited to a birthday party by a girl in her class. Like many school aged children, this girl invited everyone in her class so that no student felt left out. Although my daughter has talked to this girl from time to time, she didn’t know her very well. She wanted to go to the party, but the gift-giving made her a little weary. She didn’t know what interests this girl had, and therefore didn’t know what to get her for a present. Luckily for us, Spaniard families are all about “the fiver party,” which has been a tradition here for some time.

Our Spanish friends say that it has taken the pressure off of them and their children. There isn’t any more jealousy over gifts at parties, and it allows children to get a present that they have been wanting and/or needing all year.

One of our first birthday parties in Madrid

So what exactly is a “fiver party”?

The idea is for everyone to bring $5 (or suggested amount) in an envelope to give to the parents of the birthday girl/boy. This money is then collected and given to the child to put towards an item of their choosing.

In Spain, a fiver party typically allows families to chip in anywhere between 5 – 10 euros. We’ve even attended parties where parents keep the amount open ended so that the family decides the amount that they wish to gift. This allows families to pitch in what they can afford versus putting a price limit on it.

Although some may feel that this takes the fun out of opening presents, the fiver party definitely has its advantages.  

Advantages of a Fiver Party:

  1. Saves time on an over-planned or long party that is taken over by opening presents.
  2. Doesn’t make a child feel out of place about their gift not being the biggest.
  3. Saves on the embarrassing moments if the child already has the gift or doesn’t act excited.
  4. Takes the stress away from busy parents trying to find a perfect gift.
  5. Saves on wrapping paper or gift bags.
  6. Teaches the birthday girl/boy about saving and responsibility.
  7. Keeps the focus on spending time with friends vs. time opening presents.
  8. Doesn’t break the budget for some families.
What do you think? Would you throw a “fiver party” for your child?


Mary, a native of Rockford, Illinois, attended DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois where she received her BA in Secondary Art Education. In 2007, she moved to Cedar Rapids, Iowa after accepting a position as a high school visual arts teacher with the Cedar Rapids Community School District. She and her husband, Collin, who is a teacher in the Iowa City Community School District, reside in Cedar Rapids with their daughters, Zoey and Munroe. Zoey is five and Munroe will be turning one in October 2016. In addition to being a full time mommy, full time teacher, and writer for the mom’s blog, she is also a professional artist who has shown and published works both nationally and internationally. Mary enjoys traveling, painting, and most of all, spending time with her family.


  1. My children love animals and have had a few birthday parties themed about animals. For these parties, they ask their friends to bring the money they would have spent on a gift in an envelope without their names on it (this way no one knows who gave what amount). They then donate this money to an organization such as the World Wildlife Find. Upon donation they are able to select an animal they love and receive a small stuffed animal and information about it. They love helping these endangered animals and it eliminates the gift giving issues. This year my son will have a soccer themed party and donate the money to an organization that helps underprivileged kids in Africa play soccer.

  2. Why is it necessary to give gifts at friend parties at all? Isn’t getting to play with your friends in a special place—whether that’s a park or a pool or someone’s home—gift enough? It was for me, and it will have to be for my kids. We are a NO GIFTS PLEASE family when it comes to friend parties.

  3. I sent out my daughter’s bday invites today for her Fiver bday party next month. How appropriate that this is on the blog today 🙂


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