For some, the first birthday is a huge celebration meant for everyone and their mother to come to. For others, it’s a chance to have a small celebration with just immediate family. Regardless of which way you lean there are a lot of things you can do to make baby’s first birthday a very special one.
I started planning my oldest son’s first birthday right around when he was eight or nine months old. That gave me plenty of time to pick a theme, a location, food, a guest list and make/purchase all of my decorations. My younger son is about seven and a half months old and I’ve begun to plan his party as well (but all that wont be revealed until a later date). Right now lets focus on a party from the past…
Invitations are a good way to not only notify everyone about the party but to also lend a hint about the theme of the party. I am not a fan of Facebook invites. I know that for a lot of people it is more convenient but I find it very impersonal. Regardless, be sure to include the staples like the place, time, who it’s for and a phone number for RSVP’s or questions. For my older son, we went with a happy little monster theme and I decided to send out homemade invitations with all the information on the back.
Decorations are definitely a necessity in my eyes. At the time that I put together this party I worked at a pizza shop and asked to take home a large stack of cardboard boxes (you can get boxes from any pizza shop FYI). With all of my cardboard I made some large stand-up monsters and also some big cut out number ones. I’m also a really big fan or streamers, I hung large amounts in doorways, wrapped them around things, put them on tables. Streamers come in an extremely wide variety of colors and are remarkably cheap so it’s an easy way to jazz up a big (or small) space on a budget.
Games are crucial when it comes to a little kid birthday party. Cousins, siblings and friends will all need something to keep them entertained during the party. This is where some ingenuity came in handy for me again. Because I began planning so far in advance I managed to save up enough Gerber Puff containers to make a set of bowling pins, all I needed was a red marker and a ball. I also used some of the larger cardboard boxes and small plastic balls that I had to make a game for some of the older kids. Both of these ideas ended up being a hit and cost next to nothing.
Party favors are not a necessity for any kind of party, but it is a cute thing to do. I didn’t go overboard preparing any kind of snack bags or buying personalized toys with names and dates and whatnot. Instead, I actually turned to Pinterest and looked up monster party favors. On http://www.pinterest.com I found a neat idea for an “Adopt-A-Monster” box, so I found some bulk mini monsters and made one. Before everyone left the kids each got to choose one or two little monsters to take home.
Food is the most important thing at any party (in my opinion). I put together a variety of different foods to make sure that everyone would be able to find something that they liked to snack on. There were fruit, vegetable, cheese and cracker platters as well as a big bowl of chips, salsa, some grilled chicken pieces (kid friendly finger foods) and a crock pot full of mac n’ cheese. For dessert, there were monster sugar cookies and a big cake for the guests as well as a small “smash cake” for my son. (Please excuse the cake…there was a last minute fondant malfunction).
As important as the party is properly thanking everyone who came! At some point during the party, take a moment to step aside and make a list of everyone who attended, or hand this duty off to a close friend or family member if you find yourself too busy.
Remember that your little one can only turn one, once. It’s an important day so try not to get too caught up in the party itself. Have fun, take pictures and enjoy the moment. Planning ahead can definitely help with eliminating a lot of the stress, as well as enlisting helpers. Don’t try to do it all on your own if you don’t have to.