If you are planning a first birthday celebration there are certain things you can do to create memorable keepsakes and begin traditions that will enhance your memories for years to come. Whether you are a doting grandparent, proud parent or admiring aunt or uncle here are some ideas that will help you celebrate a first birthday and that little person with style and flair, leaving you with keepsakes and traditions to cherish in the years to come.
Here are some first birthday keepsakes and traditions to use in the celebration:
• Celebrate and donate! – An enterprising mother of twins asked each of her guests to bring books to celebrate her boys’ first birthday. She kept one for her boys and donated the other copy to a local shelter. You can use this idea in anyway you want. While no one is advocating not gifting the birthday boy or girl, keep in mind that they may love the gift wrapping and boxes the most. You might consider keeping a few toys for him or her then sharing the rest with a local shelter or charity for new moms. It’s a wonderful way to begin teaching about a lifetime of sharing your good fortune.
• It takes the cake – again! If you are lucky enough to have pictures of some of your own birthday cakes, especially the first one, why not re-create it for your little birthday celebrant? Whether your cake was homemade or bought from a local bakery having the same cake you did on your first birthday is a wonderful birthday tradition to carry through the years.
• Have your guests leave a mark. If you are inviting a range of age groups to the birthday party this is a fun tradition to begin. Purchase a light colored tablecloth that has fabric that is not stain treated. Put the tablecloth over a long table, spread out fabric paints and when your guests arrive they can then begin decorating the tablecloth. Whether they write birthday messages, leave painted hand prints or other designs, you will have a precious memento of your baby’s first birthday left by the people who mean most to you and your family. It’s a great party activity that keeps everyone happy and amused. Adults can help the children. Just follow the directions on the fabric paints for how to launder the tablecloth and set the paint. You can then pull out the tablecloth every year on your child’s birthday to use or to remember what a wonderful first birthday you celebrated.
• Record the gifts – Gift giving can be tricky since most one year olds need at least some help opening the gifts and it is difficult to remember who gave what to your child. If you are opening the gifts at the party, have your camera ready. Take a picture of your child, the gift and the gift giver. This way you can have a handy reference for thank you notes, a great favor for guests (drop a copy of the picture in your thank you) and a cherished set of photos from this special day.
• What you eat says a lot! – Birthdays are a wonderful time to establish food traditions. If you and your child have a special cultural background you can serve foods from that culture every birthday. First birthdays do not have to be an exception but keep in mind that you should not expect your one year old to chow down if it is not already a favorite. If your family has a special meal or item that is really only eaten in celebrations this is the time to serve it up! Traditions are often deeply rooted in the food we eat and are a great way to reinforce the identity of your family and the place your child has in it.