Your baby’s first birthday is near. But there’s work, business or other goals to do.
How do you even celebrate?
Here’s what I did with my practical first birthday tips for Avis.
It used to be just a year ago when my little girl was wearing her red Santa hat. She was a month old.
Now she is one and she likes riding cars.
Infancy seemed to have happened too swiftly, and all I was left with were lessons I promised to write – like this one time where my daughter had no invited guests on her birthday.
I didn’t have a grand party for Avis like any mother would on her child’s first year.
Partly because I barely had enough preparations and frankly, I was slipping in and out of motivation. I was also traveling island to island in the early part of 2015.
As much as that sounded like I didn’t value her special day, I have already thought of it long before she was born: No big party for my baby. Even if she was my first.
“But how did you make her first birthday memorable if she had no party?”
1. Keep it stress-free
Labor & giving birth were already tough, and so did juggling my ventures. I was sure throwing a kid’s party amidst the first year chaos wouldn’t sit well.
If you’re a starting entrepreneur, creative or someone who has an innate need to accomplish something big the same year you became a parent, you might want to skip throwing your baby’s first birthday party — or you know, just don’t hold one.
You will be able to save yourself from unnecessary pressure and expenses. Plus, you wouldn’t be okay with it if you have a 6am alarm ticking or a deadline the next day, right?
If you’re not yet convinced, here are some points why you might (especially if you’re planning to DIY):
- Money is better off saved for other things (education, insurance, emergency funds, savings)
- Less clutter to clean up after
- No awkward situations of introductions & small talks (a plus for introverts!)
- No weird pregnancy, labor or childbirth questions from people (like hello, does it really matter if I’m natural or a C-section?)
- No unnecessary mishaps with vendors or suppliers
- You get to rest sooner than you would have if you had that party
- Your family will be your only guests; a good opportunity to catch up and be closer
2. Budget realistically
Since you’re pressed for time, it would be unwise to spend a hefty amount on cupcakes and theme decorations on a whim. With our small celebration, there were only expenses on gas, food for 7 and an entrance fee to a playhouse.
3. Be quick but still unique
Time limit can promote creativity.
In a society where it’s common to throw lavish and (gasp!) Frozen-themed parties, I stand with my thoughts on practicality over social expectations.
What are the alternatives to having a party? Are there any fun activities you can do instead?
Here are some ideas:
- Maybe a last-minute trip to a 3D museum might be the one (if they allow one year olds)
- A nice gesture of a return visit to the hospital as a thank-you to the medical staff who assisted you and your baby. It would also be a reunion for them to see how your child has grown. Take a photo as a keepsake and proudly show his good deed at such an early age.
- A birthday capsule (via The Sweetest Digs)
- An outdoor painting sesh with your “Bum Gogh” (via Kasey Mikelle). You can even use organic plant-based dyes from beets, carrot juice, spinach, mangoes, etc.
- Serve finger foods for your baby that adults can share with! (via Moms And Crafters)
- List of 1st birthday party games (via Birthday Party Ideas 4 Kids)
- 10 Simple And Fun One Year Old Activities (via The Train Driver’s Wife)
In a society where it’s common to throw lavish and (gasp!) Frozen-themed birthday parties, I stand with my thoughts on practicality over social expectations.
I mean there’s nothing wrong with celebrating (there’s already enough Elsa’s and Anna’s going on, it’s about time to Let It Go), but I want to try new and pragmatic ideas on shaping my kid’s childhood.
I keep asking myself, “What’s more to this motherhood thing? How can I innovate?”
I keep asking myself,
“What’s more to this motherhood thing? How can I innovate?”
Even before she came, I knew I would raise my daughter differently, to set her foundations very early. I wanted to try alternative methods of rearing far from the orthodox. I’m not the one to follow the status quo anyway.
Oh and truth be told, there was little time to even copy those kiddie party ideas I saved to my secret Pinterest board.
4. Give the gift of core values
This is an opportunity to practice and learn. Your baby might not remember it but when you show him memories of his birthday, it will be a start of giving him a sense of pride and accomplishment.
For Avis, I chose to honor two values close to my heart: simplicity and the gift of learning.
The weekend before her birthday, I was invited over at Monster Art Philippines. I thought this would be cool to get the party started.
Minus the party, I was more connected to my child. Our day at Monster Art felt that I gave us a better experience to look back to despite of her naivety. I liked that it was educational and we have an artwork we did together.
5. Have it small
In attendance, Avis had the most important people she truly recognizes at one – and that’s our family.
(Sorry friends and relatives, I have a better makeup for this later on, trust me)
It was also a practical choice. I don’t think my little girl would have enjoyed a larger company anyway.
According to BabyCentre UK, this is the stage where babies are very attached to you. One-year-olds tend to have stranger anxiety so the most ideal thing is to have an intimate celebration. It’s a more relaxing option because they are known to be overwhelmed by crowds and different noises.
6. Focus more on moments, not materials
After we spent the morning making sand art, we had our lunch at French Baker at SM Dasmariñas. My family frequents this branch for their good ambiance & service so we all agreed to settle down here. That day was filled with delicious meals and funny conversations, as the smell of freshly baked bread wafted around our table.
It was pure bliss.
More often than not, new parents are pressured into throwing their first baby an awesome theme party that could wow all its guests. Mostly because it speaks about what kind of parent they are.
But let me tell you though: you’re not being a bad parent if you decide not to throw a party. For those who do, that’s good. But don’t forget to re-assess if the choice of having one does not hurt your finances and party-planning spirit in the future.
Babies also forget their first birthday (seriously do you even remember yours?), so a grand themed celebration with buntings and custom-made birthday cupcakes isn’t a sound choice when your funds are limited or allocated for another priority. Your baby won’t even get to appreciate the party games or how many gifts he was given that day.
7. Experience new things or things you’ve missed
2015 was a non-caffeine year for me due to breastfeeding. So when my sister insisted we try Farron Café after lunch for her mocha frappé craving, I caved in. I missed our new café hunting and coffee sampling, how was I to say no?
It was a 150 PHP ($3.19) well spent for two iced coffees and a sisterly bonding. 🙂
8. Let your kid truly enjoy his birthday
A few days later, I took Avis to try Dave’s Funhouse. It was a lucky day. We got there and there weren’t a lot of kids. I let her play, walk and crawl as much as she could. Soon as her tiny feet stepped on the soft mats, she had this blazing energy and trailed off!
You could do the same.
Have your child participate at age-appropriate activities or choose interactive play-pretend funhouses like Dave’s and let them be themselves. Their playfulness as a baby is something that will be gone soon.
Cherish it and join them. Become a kid again.
9. Quality over quantity
It was a week well-spent. We probably had two to three variations of how Avis had her birthday, but in totality we did what mattered to her and to me.
Have more moments with your bub and take a lot of photos.
Celebrating your baby’s birthday isn’t so much about the quantity that makes up our parental character, but the quality of moments that we provide. Sometimes we tend to think of the bigger picture that we forget these little moments in-between. Take a breather, and enjoy them.
In the future, you’ll be glad you followed these practical first birthday tips.
Happy birthday to your little one!
Do you have other practical first birthday tips? How did you make your child’s first birthday special despite being busy?