First Birthday Parties Are Kind of Pointless

balloonsIn the past six months, I have been to four first birthday parties. Each one was beautiful. Each one was filled with all sorts of adorable Pinterest-inspired crafts and creative appetizers. Each one had a period where the guest of honor, the baby, was fast asleep.

My daughter's first birthday is coming up (okay, fine, it's over two months away), and part of me can't help but scour the web for interesting ideas for balloon formations (I mean, come on), and cake inspiration, but another part of me, the logical part, feels like: What's the point? My child is going to have zero clue of what's going on.

First birthday parties are more for the parents. I think we're all on the same page with that one, right? And while making it through the first year -- both the parents and the baby -- is absolutely, positively something worth celebrating, does it really require an ice sculpture? (No, I've never seen an actual ice sculpture at a party, but I have seen a chocolate fountain. True story.)

The way I'm kind of seeing things right now is there's really no need to go all out when it comes to a baby's very first birthday. As the years go on, and the child becomes more aware of their birthdays and, um, knows what a party is, I feel like -- do it up. I can't wait to see the look on my daughter's face when she and her friends who are now TBD are bouncing around on a trampoline or making sand art or whatever. But that's not right now. Now, she's quite content smacking her hands against her highchair or pushing people's noses in hopes that they'll make a noise like one of her toys. Seriously, she could do it for hours. And, to be honest, I'm not even sure how much pomp and circumstance I feel second birthday parties require. From what I hear, it's their third birthday (and third Christmas) when they know what's going on.

However, I want to do something. Like I said, getting through what many deem the toughest year of parenthood -- and childhood -- is definitely worth some recognition.

So, what to do?

As of now, the only two things I've come up with are a small brunch at home with only a few family members and maybe a friend or two. Or simply going out to breakfast with my daughter and husband, followed by a trip to an aquarium or something -- something she'll kind of/sort of be able to appreciate. I'd like to do something memorable, but I don't want to go nuts, and I definitely don't want to break the bank. The important thing is that we're together and happy.

But, oh yes -- there will be cake.

How did you celebrate your child's first birthday?


Image via hollaatkylee/Flickr

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Kattey Kattey

I think I spent about $20 on Rapunzel decorations and ordered a Rapunzel cake. That was pretty much it, a door poster and a pack that had a couple table toppers and ceiling hangy things. I blew the ballons up at home and tacked them up.  It was cute but definatly not some crazy ordeal.

Aeris... AerisKate

We had a birthday party, but only for family.  We just had lunch, cake, and a few minor decorations (like a banner that said "Happy Birthday"). 

bella... bellacazzate

My parents did not believe in celebrating any birthday but the first birthday unless you were born during the winter. I was born in August, so a great month for a BBQ. It was a gigantic party thrown under the guise of a first birthday, but that was really just an excuse to have a party in general. My winter born brothers got big spring and summer Christening parties. But only one big party per child. After that, we didn't "do" birthdays. Maybe a cake with a few cousins or neighborhood friends, but otherwise, first birthday or Christening then done until high school graduation--then you were on your own in throwing any life event bashes. My significant other's family is the same, so we've carried on the tradition with our kids, too. 

I don't think it's bad to celebrate someone's birth frequently, but after the tenth birthday it becomes a little ridiculous... and I'm being generous with that, I think (especially if there's a big party every year). Milestones are different (21, 50, etc) I suppose, but at the end of the day, I prefer the no-reason get togethers or the little family parties. No pretense. Just BBQ. Throw that on a t-shirt. 

LoveM... LoveMyHunni

I had a party for my son (who yes did nap during it), but I felt like he knew it was special day, and he loved getting to see all the people he loves in one place.  I think it may be more of an event for the parents, than for the little one because they do not fully understand what is going on, but I think as long as they have a fun day and enjoy it, what does it matter?

MamaL... MamaLioness2012

We just did a family dinner (my parents, my grandparents, my sister, BIL, their two boys and my best friend of 15 years, she's practically family) with spaghetti, cake and presents. There were some appetizers too but my mom hosted the party and she ALWAYS puts out little appetizers!

femal... femaleMIKE

My babys first birthday is 17 months away, lol.

I plan to have a cookout/pool party.  The same as they are doing for my baby shower.

summe... summerblythe

I had about 65 people in my tiny house and i went all out with decorations and it was AMAZING. Totally worth it! And Summer didnt fall asleep once. She loved it.

missusmc missusmc

Technically, in the end, your kids won't remember anything from birth until about 3 or so.  That doesn't mean you shouldn't do anything fun or celebratory until they are 3, does it?  It makes no sense to go into debt for a birthday party, but really, there is nothing wrong with celebrating birthdays, including the first one.  Do what makes you comfortable.  We do it up big ourselves, because I am never having more kids, and they will never be little again.  Why not celebrate?

TKsMo... TKsMommie

My son's was shared with his aunt's high school graduation.  So he got a big party but it was only kind of for him.  But the pictures of them helping each other open their presents are adorable!!  My daughter we pretty much had cake and invited family and one of my son's friends family over.  No big deal but fun.  For the one I am pregnant with now, his birthday is going to be very close to his brother's so it might be a touch bigger than the others but it will still probably just be family and a few of his sibling's friends and their families.  

We also do trips just us.  My son we went to the zoo, my daughter the aquarium.  Just something special to get out of the house and have fun.  It doesn't need to be over the top or ridiculous to be a fun party for everyone!!   

Haley Maya Unger

I do have memories of my first birthday. I remember my cake and sitting on my mom's lap for the singing of Happy Birthday. I did a party for my little girl, it was family and friends and she was very aware of the goings on. She loved it and when she got a stuffed bunny from my sister as a gift she hugged it to her and squealed in delight.

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