Birthday parties are extremely important events in any person’s life. Birthdays are the one time each year when people gather together to celebrate just one person. Other holidays and special occasions usually celebrate a particular event, historical figure or religious idea. All of that said, it’s very important that we take the time each year to celebrate the ones we love on their special day. A well thought out, properly put together birthday party can be a real boost to someone’s sense of self. Although babies are hardly aware of their first birthdays, the occasion is nevertheless important.
Once, not so long ago, for many parents, having a child live past the age of one was a major accomplishment. Many children died in infancy because of disease or poor nourishment. Fortunately, most children nowadays live well past age one; however, this should not diminish the special occasion that is a child’s 1st birthday. A party, in particular, a first birthday party, allows close friends and relatives to come together to support the new baby and the new family. It also affords everyone the opportunity to get to know the new little one. A well done party will help to create a legacy of care for the child that will last for years to come.
Because the first party is so special and important, you need to cover all the bases. If this is the first time you will be throwing a first birthday, consider using the following checklist to make sure nothing is missed or forgotten:
1. Clean the house and decorate. It is a common sign of respect for your guests and your family to clean your house. Theme-specific decorations will distinguish this event as something special. Without decorations, this special party is basically just like any other event in your home.
2. Prepare good food. This could be just the cake, but cookies, brownies and drinks are great, too. While the food need not be anything extravagant, guests do expect to have something to eat at any party, even a first birthday party.
3. Party favors. While this might seem a bit strange for a first birthday party, you want people to remember the party and your child. I recommend printing pictures of the baby as party favors. You can create buttons, magnets and a small assortment of other usable gadgets using your baby’s picture at very little cost.
4. Invitations. All formal parties should have invitations whether they be done the old-fashioned way via snail mail or the quicker, more modern way via the internet. Send them well in advance of the party and, for a child’s first birthday party, I recommend inviting people from all age groups.
5. Plan to play some lively background music. Obviously you don’t want the party to get so loud that it disturbs the baby but some lively, appropriate background music will create a great party atmosphere.
6. Ask guests to sign a big card or picture of the baby. I recommend this because it serves a two-fold purpose: first, it creates a lasting keepsake for the birthday boy or girl so that, in the future, they can look back at the card and realize how much people loved and supported them and secondly, the card provides a reminder of the event.
7. If guests desire to give a gift, take advantage of their offer. As people expect to give gifts for a first birthday, you might suggest gifts that will make life easier for you and your spouse, as the baby’s parents, or for the baby. Savings bonds are a popular gift for babies on their first birthdays because they only grow in value over time, often providing enough money after 18 years for a child to go to college all expenses paid.
This is a fairly minimal checklist, but it covers the basics that every good first birthday party should have. Tailor these suggestions to meet your specific party needs. Be creative and, once your guests begin to arrive, enjoy the party and your guests.