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Monday, September 20, 2010

First Birthday Party Tips

It’s almost time for the first birthday party. You’re looking forward to it and have been planning it pretty much since your bundle entered the world. Well, four kids and four first birthdays later, I’d like to think I have some advice to offer on making the experience a fun and successful one. Here are my ideas:

1. Don’t forget the invitations! A week or two before your party, be sure to send out your invites. I <3 (heart) Evite for this. You can choose any invite you want from a decent sized selection and then personalize it. It’s a quick and easy way to get everyone invited and then to get your RSVPs when you want them. Believe it or not, when my first turned one, I forgot to send out invites until less than a week before his party and this was before evites (or at least before I knew anything about them. He’s almost 11 now!).
2. Plan your party time carefully. Don’t choose a time that’s too close to naptime or bedtime or you’ll have a very cranky birthday child. Additionally, if you aren’t planning to serve an actual meal, you might want to steer clear of traditional meal times or you may have cranky guests. For a first birthday, I liked an early morning party, (say 9:00am) since we were up early anyway.
3. Before choosing food, check with your guests about allergies so you can avoid any issues at the party.
4. Choose your cake wisely. If you’re dying to have that picture of a really messy baby, then you’ll want to choose a dark icing like chocolate. Vanilla (in white), no matter how messy your baby is, just doesn’t show up well in pictures. On the opposite side of things here, if you really aren’t into messes, choose a lighter frosting. It doesn’t stain as easily as some of the other color options either. *Tip alert! Lots of stores will give you a free First Birthday Cake if you mention it’s your child’s first birthday. Some also want proof, like a birth certificate, but hey, free is free! And remember, that cake isn’t going to be all that large. It’s the perfect size for serving your birthday baby.
5. Another cake tip: Be careful with the candle! When my son turned one this past May, we held the cake in front of him so he could attempt to blow out the candle and he tried to eat the flame! :O So watch that little fingers and lips stay clear of the fire. Oh, and he didn’t get burned so no worries.
6. Last cake tip, I promise! Don’t forget a lighter or matches for the candles. Super obvious, but so easily forgotten. When my second celebrated his birthday, we were asking around for a lighter. Lol.
7. Plan some activities. Even though your birthday child probably won’t be able to play games, some of your other guests might want to so consider planning some activities for the older ones, like coloring, a candy scramble (throw the candy on the floor and the older kids race to grab it), etc.
8. Keep it short and sweet…and simple. Babies get overwhelmed very quickly. And an overwhelmed baby is an unhappy baby. If you add an end time to your invite, you shouldn’t have to worry about letting guests know at the party.
9. Prepare and remember your camera! Make sure your batteries are charged, your memory card has plenty of space, and that you actually pack it when it’s time to leave for the party (or that you know where it is and have it close at hand if the party is at home).
10. Don’t count on the baby opening the presents. None of my kids really understood what to do with the presents at their first birthday. And when they DID finally do some ripping, it was only to eat the paper. Lol. So maybe you can enlist the help of some of the older kids or wait until later and open presents after the party is over. One other fun idea I’ve seen at parties is to let the present giver open the present and give it to the birthday child.
11. Balloons are probably not a good idea. At least not where baby can reach them. They pose a serious choking hazard should they get popped. So in the interest of safety, keep them up high and don’t let anyone play with them.

Hopefully these ideas will come in handy for some of you. As always, these are simply my ideas and opinions; if you don’t like any of them, don’t use them! If you see something that you love, take it and run with it! And if you have an awesome tip that you’d just love to share, please leave a comment for us on this post! Happy partying!