How to Plan the Best First Birthday Party

Baby's first birthday party is really a party for you; the baby is a special guest. Plus, the baby isn't going to remember the party afterward. So although the party is celebrating the baby's milestone birthday, do the planning around the guests and showing off all of the memories that you have already built with your little one.

Guests
Don't worry about inviting other one year olds to the party unless you really want to invite the parents. The party is really for you to celebrate with those closest to you and the baby. Plus, a small crowd is better than large, because babies can be over-stimulated by too much noise or people, and fussiness will ensue.

Timing
Plan the party around the baby's naptime, not right before or during it, so the baby will be less likely to be cranky or miss the party completely. Keep the party short - about an hour and a half - as more is tiring for the baby (and tired parents too)!

Décor
Decorate the room with pictures and baby items from the baby's first year. A cute way to do this is to string a clothes line with clothespins across the ceiling over the table and hang pictures and baby items from the clothes line. Birthday balloons are festive, but either hang them out of reach, or purchase the mylar kind so little bits of rubber aren't hidden in the carpet waiting to be tasted once they pop.

Food
You need food that is friendly to the guests at the party, so choose accordingly. If the guests are grown up family members, make a real meal or adult food. If the guests are a mixture of ages, make food that is pleasing to all, such as spaghetti and meatballs. If there are a number of children, you could make child friendly food for them, and whatever you want for the adults. Needless to say, birthday cake is a must, and it's pretty traditional to let the baby have a piece or his own small cake to dig into. This may well be the baby's first taste of cake, so have the camera (and bib) ready.

Activities
It's fun to do activities that pertain to the theme - baby's first birthday. Activities like this can be a showing of a selection of home movies of the baby as he grew, or looking through photo albums. It's fun to find pictures of the baby's parents when they were babies, and older siblings at age one and compare them. Who does the baby look most like? Whose nose most matches the baby's? If there are older children at the party, let them open the presents as the baby will likely be more interested in the wrapping paper during this process. Take pictures of the baby with the party guests, and print them for the guests to have a copy. Frames make a nice party gift for guests, and kid guests can decorate them for something fun and creative to do. If there are kids, you may also have some little goody bag for them to take home.

Another nice thing to do a first birthday party is have a scrapbook and put the picture you took of each guest with the baby on a page, and allow the guest in the picture to write a nice message or memory around it. Keep it in the scrap book for creating that nice memento of the party. Add to it next year.

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A first birthday is a celebration looked forward to by parents everywhere. Turning one is a major milestone in a child's life and one that is fun to celebrate with friends and family. But there are a couple of things to keep in mind when looking for first birthday party ideas. 

Baby's first birthday is definitely a big event, especially for their parents. In this first year, a child has not only grown to see their first year, but they have also reached a number of milestones, like laughing for the first time and walking. It's normal for a child's parents to want to throw a big celebration in honor of one of their child's major milestones.

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When marking one of the first milestones in a child's life, consider fun first birthday ideas that create a relaxed atmosphere. The keys are to think about the baby, the guests and the memories you want to create.

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