First Birthday Party
A first birthday party isn’t a celebration for your child alone but for all of you – a high five for getting through the sleepless nights, having your life turned upside down and coming out the other end all the happier for it, with more photo albums for the past year than the previous six put together, and wonderful memories to cherish.
So whilst your little one will remain oblivious of all the fuss, take the time to mark the occasion in a way that you, your family and friends will enjoy – especially older siblings – and record the event as a time you’ll be happy to relive long after the baby stage has passed.
Planning the Party
A personal invitation is always appreciated; even by loved ones who are unlikely to be able to make it. Include a current photograph of your baby with the invitation or create a collage of photographs from the whole year.
When sending out the invitations, as for any party, do be clear about who you are inviting. If you are welcoming mum, dad and all the siblings, then address the invitation to the whole family. If you are focusing your invite on your baby’s playmates then address it to the individual child and either mum or dad will stay for the party as well, but you won’t have to cater for all of the siblings.
You don’t need to brush up on party games quite yet and the whole unwrapping thing will go right over his/her head but get everyone involved and the presents will be fun regardless.
1st Birthday Themes
While your baby won’t ‘get’ a party theme, older children may enjoy it – not to mention you of course...
• Check out the local party accessory store for theme cups and plates and build around that;
• Just choose a colour and tie in all decorations, clothes for you, your baby and your guests, maybe even the food – it’s a fun and inexpensive option;
• Make it a Teddy Bear’s Picnic; serve traditional fayre on a blanket in the garden or in the park and encourage your young guests to bring along their own bear – you could buy your baby a special bear to mark the occasion and the story of ‘1st birthday bear’ will stay with you all;
• Make it a pool party – at least one adult closely watching each child of course – you’ll need a shallow area for the babies to sit, crawl and splash;
• Several babies of similar age coming along? Set up Baby Olympic lanes and race them – the crawlers and the walkers – first to mummy! They’ll have no idea what’s going on but it’ll make the adults laugh which in turn will amuse the children!
Important Safety Considerations
Popped balloons are a very real choking hazard for young children, as the rubber sits across the wind pipe and is difficult to dislodge. If a balloon pops, make sure the rubber is collected from the floor straight away.
Fully inflated balloons can also be a problem for young children, especially if they are at the stage where everything stills goes in their mouth. Having a balloon pop in their face will not only give them a fright, it can potentially be quite painful as well.
Long streamers and ribbons need to be kept up high to avoid young children getting tangled or strangled. Make sure that there are no loose lengths hanging down the wall, and that any fallen streamers are picked up immediately.
Party poppers are fun to have at parties, but their contents are definite choking hazards for young children, and are difficult to clean up once popped. It might be best to save party poppers for birthdays in years to come.
Catering for the Party
You may have family in town to celebrate with you. That’s a big help if you go down the dinner party route. Opt for a menu which includes dishes largely prepared in advance to leave you free to be with your guests and your baby; he/she may feel a little overwhelmed by extra people on home territory. Either a cold buffet or a one-pot meal such as chilli or bolognaise are easy options.
Bear in mind that you are likely to have both adults and young children to cater for, so you’ll need to have a variety of snacks on hand; a range of finger foods for the little ones will be appreciated.
Or keep it simple and arrange a bbq – for one thing that will mean your husband will do the cooking, leaving you to prepare a few salads and buy a cake – and given you’re running round after a toddler all day, should a kind friend offer to bring something, do feel free to say “That would be lovely, thank you.”!
Above all, make sure you enjoy the day and have time to sit and happily reflect on the marvellous roller-coaster year it’s been and how very lucky you all are – enjoy!