My ds is turning 1 in January, right after the New Year. So all of the out of town family are going to skip the holidays and come up for his birthday. The problem - I have no idea how to throw a party or any kind let alone a first birthday party! We also can't have it at our place cause the apartment is so tiny so we have to find a place to have it too and have no idea where to even start. My husband and I don't have many, if any friends really and we don't know anyone with kids. I feel awful that the little guy doesn't have any play mates. My sister in law has a dd who is 6 weeks younger than out little boy and has tons of little friends and play dates. Her party is pretty much already planned and a lot of little kids will be there. So I feel llike I have dropped the ball so to speak. As for a 'theme', I like dinosaurs - I was a geology major in college. But what about food, cake, games??? I have no clue what to do - help please. I am a fairly craft person and have a very small budget . Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks in Advance.
I have never understood the idea of a big party for a 1 year old. Lots of strangers and confusion seems like too much to subject onto a little munchkin! We didn't do a first birthday party and nobody missed it one bit.
Why worry about this so much? Why worry about how your party will be versus that of your sil?? Let her have the party SHE wants, and you have the party YOU want.
Do something easy, a meeting in a park or, if your building has one, a common room.
Tell everyone it is a potluck, that you are NOT cooking (you are busy enough caring for your son & hubby). If your son has any food allergies, make sure you let people know about them. Ask folks to bring finger foods and serving & clean-up will be that much easier.
Make or buy a birthday cake. Or, cupcakes are nice, as well. Your little guy can have his very own to hold and munch on! This is especially nice if you want him to have only one type of cake (say, organic carrot) but everyone else would prefer chocolate or whatever.
Provide drinks and the dishes (use paper plates and napkins). Serve pop and lemonade or other non-alcoholic beverages. People can skip the booze for one afternoon, and then you won't have any problems with having alcohol in a public place (if you do this at the park).
Skip the theme idea, your little one won't know the difference or care. A one year old doesn't need planned games or activities. Let him just be a baby. Have some balloons and streamers for him to see and some less-than-fully-filled balloons to play with (that way, they don't POP and scare him!).
Be prepared that he might not like all the attention and be spooked by the strangers. Plan the gathering at a time that will allow him to have a good rest beforehand (after his afternoon nap, if he takes one). Have foods he likes.
Same goes with making sure you have a few things of his own there, as well. He might not like any of the new gifts (if there will be gift-giving) and want his usual keepsakes instead. Be prepared for some negative reactions, even tears, over a new item.
We are doing a first birthday party soon also. I hesitated to have one since our baby is really to young to get into the whole party idea. I also have very few mom friends or friends with kids. However, it is a good opportunity for us to see some of our close friends who are supportive of us. We have thought of it more as a celebration of one amazing year and surviving parenthood. Games sound really stressful and may not be so fun for the adults attending. One "game" our family (Mexican husband) loves is a pinata. Could you host the party at any relative's house? It may be too cold for an outdoor event. Also many apartment complexes have meeting or party type areas. Do you have any thing like that or a local parks and recreation department? Community centers are also pretty inexpensive. If you love to cook, then it may not be too expensive to prepare the food. If I were doing a dinosaur party, I would cook some kind of meat people could eat with their hands and maybe some tropical fruit and vegetable sides. If you are not into cooking, a potluck would be great or you could find a caterer. Most grocery stores have a bakery or you could make a cake yourself. Many people get a small cake just for the birthday baby. For drinks, some kind of punch or juice would be great. Our family all likes adult beverages so we like to do fitting cocktails. I found this on a search and thought it was really cool:
If you really want to stick to your theme, a trip to a local museum followed by cake and punch would be fitting.
Have fun, and don't worry about taking it too seriously!
Thank you Biofarmer for your suggestions:) I will check with our parks department, but I think most are outdoor pavillions. I wasn't trying to 'compete' with my sil, just saying that she seems to have it more together than I do at the moment. I know that ds won't remember this party at all and we will have mostly family and a few close friends of our ( though we haven't seen them much this past year - they don't have kids). I do plan on making ds his own little cake so I can control the ingriedients better. So any recipes or links to some would be great. I was thinking and apple spice or carrot or zucchini, something along those lines - I have no idea what to do for icing, I'm not keen on sugary frosting.Our apartment building is a stand alone on a residential street so a common room is out. I have one set of inlaws in town and their house would be perfect, but they said no (though they are looking forward to coming to the party). Since the little guy will not realize what is going on, I am on the hunt for a cheap, but nice leather journal. I plan on putting a hand print of his in the first page and it stating that it's his first birthday. Then I'm gonna have everyone present write a note / well wishes to him. This way when he's older he can read them and see who was there. My mother is 86 years old and I hate to say that she won't be around forever. I want the book to be big enough so we could use it for several years. Instead of games I decided to get a bunch of white onsies or shirts size 18mo+ and use fabric pens to decorate. I'm gonna set up a 'play area' for the little guy and his cousin who will be there, but I think that will be it for kids. For foods I was thinking finger or toothpick foods - suggestions are greatly needed. The one I know I'm gonna do is little smokies wraped in bacon and sprinked with brown sugar and baked - ohhh sooo good. But I want to have some healthy stuff too and some easy healthy finger food for little guy.
I'll be the dissenting voice; I liked throwing big parties for my babies when they turned 1.
But we didn't have a theme or games for the party. Just have lots of food and drinks available (and a cake), sit back and enjoy!
With both my ds and dd, we didn't have any kids at the party. Ds was the first baby in our extended family, and with dd, we were away from the family. But babies are not interested in "playmates" at this age, except taking away each other's toys and trying to gouge each other's eyes out.
Happy birthday to your ds!
To keep a theme but not spend a ton, you could get standard cupcakes from a grocery store and ask them to color them green, brown, etc., and put a little icing shape on top of each one. Also, Google free printables for a set of PDFs that you can print and use however you'd like. You may not find geology themes since that's so specific, but you could go with color instead--green, brown, etc.
Pom poms are a cheap, easy decoration. You fold them accordion style, cut the edges, and then fluff them out and hang them.
I was in your same shoes regarding the small house. However, I would suggest, if at all possible, have the party at your apartment. It will require more prep time and maybe fewer people, but kiddo will feel more comfortable and less overwhelmed in his familiar space. It's also WAY cheaper than renting a room somewhere. I ended up deciding to have the party at home and it was cramped but DD was so much happier and relaxed. And no one will notice any imperfections in your home when it's filled with people and love! They'll truly all be focused on the birthday boy.
For our party, it was 2:30 in the afternoon and we had cake, cupcakes, adult tea sandwiches, and kids PB&J tea sandwiches. And then water and lemonade in mason jars. That's it, and everyone loved it!
Good for you for celebrating your first year! For DH and I, it was almost more important to celebrate us making it through the first year than to celebrate DD's first birthday, if that makes sense. I would regret it if I had skipped a party.
Please, skip the TOOTHPICKS!!! Give people individual forks to pick things up, NOT toothpicks. Bad idea when small ones are around.
For those easy, healthy finger foods for your son, give him the usual things he likes. That will keep him happy.
Toothpicks are banned in our home.
When I was a child, my Mom and Dad attended an OWC Christmas party on the AF base where we were stationed. The base commander's wife had brought her "famous" bacon-wrapped meatballs to add to the buffet. The bacon was secured to the meatballs with toothpicks.
Mom put several on her plate and then ate one. The toothpick on that meatball had broken-off, leaving no toothpick visible, but the rest of it inside the meatball.
Mom chewed and swallowed and the little piece of wooden toothpick got stuck in her throat, sideways. She had to be rushed to the ER and later had to have additional treatments, as the ER couldn't remove the toothpick. It eventually broke-down, but Mom had scarring in her throat the rest of her life (and, coughing problems because of it).
We've avoided toothpicks in food ever since...........................