Simple Ways to Make Baby’s 1st Birthday Special

Image via Megan Klay

All of those cliche things you heard from everyone about being a parent that you brushed off thinking it would be different for you, really turned out to be pretty dead on, didn't they?! The big one being that time really does fly faster once you add a little nugget into your life. The days might seem long sometimes, but the weeks and months fly by until your sweet little baby you feel like you just gave birth to is now one year old. Crazy, isn't it?!

Even though your baby won't remember their birthday celebrations for a while, they still create wonderful memories for family, and hopefully some great photos you'll treasure forever. You can easily get yourself into a “Pinterest hole” trying to throw the most creative party ever, or you can take my advice for how to celebrate baby's 1st birthday simply, with low stress and a reasonable price tag. Enjoy!

Image via

Use Evite

It's free, easy, it will keep you organized, and they have cute templates! This was the one I sent for my son, minus some personal info. 🙂

Image via Megan Klay

Bake a sugar-free smash cake

I followed this recipe. I do not like baking, but this was super easy to make. I figure that he's still so little, there's natural sugar in fruit, and he has his whole life to eat sweets, I want to limit it while I can. 🙂 Put the leftover frosting into popsicle molds for your little person. Order mini cupcakes (they're cute, cheaper, and guests will feel less guilty indulging) from a local bakery for everyone else!



Image via Megan Klay

The birthday crown

Buy a birthday crown that will grow with them. Here's the one I chose. It ties in the back so it's perfect for the growing noggin. I just cut the number out of felt and stuck it on the front.

{ MORE: I Ditched the Party Favors. So Can You. }

Image via Megan Klay

Invest in a Happy Birthday/first name banner


One that you can use year after year. This, his photo-collage 1, and those balloons you see were our only decorations. I'm not a “theme” person. It just feels so forced, and I'm not a fan of the waste that comes with all the disposable decorations either. Etsy has a ton of options, here's the one I chose.

Image via Megan Klay

Buy or make a cute onesie/t-shirt

I ordered this 1 onesie from Amazon and it was seriously adorable. There are plenty of other options out there, find one that strikes your fancy!

Image via Megan Klay

A one-year photo session

Schedule something with a local photographer, or ask a friend/family member who is decent with a camera or camera phone and have some photos taken of your babe and family! Don't leave yourself and your partner out of the picture either, family photos are the best to look back on!

Image via Who Arted?

Make a baby's first year book

Give yourself a while to work on this one! I've been using Evernote throughout the year to record my son's firsts with the help of this checklist I found. I also have a plan for the format of his baby book, which I haven't executed quite yet. And I'm okay with that! Give yourself a little credit, you're a busy ass mom, after all. You'll get to it eventually!

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Image via Megan Klay

Write baby a letter

This is another one that's in progress for me, although I have pieces of it started here and there when I've found the time to write to him. I also wrote this love letter to him about weaning after a year of nursing. I hope that one day these things will be meaningful for him to look back on, I know they will be for me.

Image via Flickr/Jun Seita

Throw a SIMPLE party


Either host a potluck, or order reasonably priced catering from somewhere local. Think easy foods for catering like BBQ or tacos. Have a Costco membership and feel like cooking yourself? Stock up on pre-made hamburger patties and hot dogs and grill it up. You can still ask people to contribute sides/appetizers so you're not taking too much on or spending too much money. Tell people you will serve a couple of beer and wine options (we also had sun tea and lemonade, and of course water), but if they want anything specific to drink they should bring it themselves.

Image via Megan Klay

Have some games

If you're lucky enough to be able to celebrate outside, provide cornhole and ladder golf for the big kids, and head to the dollar store and grab some sidewalk chalk, bubbles, jump ropes, and hula hoops for the younger crowd.

Image via Megan Klay

Speaking of outdoors …

You can always keep the party even more simple for you (think clean up), by hosting it at a nearby park. Just make sure you check with the city to see if there's anything you need to know before you go. And hopefully choose one with restrooms! And be sure to have a backup plan! Our backyard celebration ended up being held in our home because of a late-June hail storm. Seriously (see above).

{ MORE: Holiday Birthdays: How to Make Them Special }

Image via Megan Klay

Winter baby?

That doesn't mean you need to host inside your home or spend a ton renting a space. Check out a local brewery or restaurant that may have a banquet room. Breweries in our area tend to let you use the space without a fee and bring your own food, some even have food trucks!

Image via Megan Klay

Don't want any more toys?

Ask for something baby needs, like footless PJs since they'll be walking soon! Or books! OR, ask everyone to bring a book that will be donated to a local school or other charity and start teaching baby about giving now.


Feeling crafty?

The one decoration I had for my son's party was a number 1 made of photos of him from his first year. It honestly took less time and energy than I thought. I got the idea from my lovely sister-in-law, so I copied her shape from the photo of it I had (you can copy mine!), and taped the photos to two pieces of poster board so I can keep it to hang in my son's play space. Everyone loved it! It's currently residing in our dining room, but I'll eventually hang it in our basement AKA playroom.

{ MORE: What To Do When You Just Can't Set Your Crying Baby Down }


Which of these suggestions are you most inspired by? Any 1st birthday tips I missed that you loved for your baby's celebration?

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Simple Ways to Make Baby’s 1st Birthday Special

I have a constant craving for adventure and love to pack as much fun into life as I can. Becoming a mom to one sweet boy has caused me to slow down - a little, and provided me with a wonderful new way to find joy in life. I try my darndest to soak it all in, as I have already found life to move a lot quicker since welcoming this little hunk of love into it. I am married to an amazing man, and I'm still trying to figure out how to embrace the changes in our relationship that have come with new pa ... More

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