No one can remember their first birthday party but they can remember the love and support their parents showed them from a young age. Although we sometimes forget about how much our parents love us, the affects of that love shape our lives from our first day until our last. Things done early in a child’s life have a profound impact on the child’s feelings and sense of self. Although it might seem a bit trivial to throw a 1st birthday party for a child, it can leave a lasting impression. Although the child might not know what is going on, the party will provide friends and family an opportunity to gather and welcome the new child. For centuries parents have celebrated when a child lived past the first year because so many children passed away from disease and other complications during their first year of life. In times of modern science and medical knowledge these sorts of problems do not occur nearly so often but the tradition of celebrating the first birthday continues. This is partly because the 1st birthday party allows people to get to know the child and to form a relationship with them. If you want to celebrate your child’s 1st birthday in style consider the following ideas:
1. Write a story about your new child. In order to give friends and family an idea of who this new person is in your family, try writing something about them and reading it at the party. Write down any observations about the baby’s personality or habits that you would like to share with others. I also recommend that you create a photo display at the party. Frame your favorite photos of the baby and place them around the house. With both a written and pictorial history of the child, your guests will really feel like they know this little person. If you have video tape of the child in their first year play it for everyone.
2. Cake decorations. All great birthday parties have a great birthday cake with appropriate decorations. For a first birthday party you should definitely include a cake with frosted drawings of things that babies like. Some of my favorites are things like baby bottles, cribs, baby animals and flowers. If you cannot prepare these decorations yourself have a quality cake made at a bakery.
3. Birthday party games. Although your child cannot play a game on their first birthday this does not mean that everyone else cannot. Organize some fun games that do not take long to play. It is important that the party does not last more than an hour or two–otherwise you will tire the baby. Good games for birthday parties are things like Pictionary and charades.
4. Big birthday card. Your guests can give presents that will help you as a new parent. However, you should provide some way for them to leave a lasting personal contribution that can be looked back on in the future. A large birthday card for the child is a great lasting memento of the party. Have all the guests sign the card and include a message. This could be a simple note expressing how happy they are for the child and its parents. In years to come you will be able to look at this card and fondly remember the party and the support people provided to you.
These are just a few ideas for 1st birthday parties. Try as many as you want or come up with your own plan. The most important thing is to create a party that helps to introduce the child to other people.