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First birthday parties for you and your baby

Our birthday boy digs into the party supplies.

Our birthday boy digs into the party supplies.

Hosting a birthday party for a one-year old can be a tricky endeavor.

If you have a one-year-old child, chances are some of your friends also have babies of a similar age. Pregnancies among friends seem to come in a bunches, and you’ve probably also made a lot of new friends through birth class, day care and the endless trips to baby supply stores. So, understandably you want your little one’s party to stand out amid the battery of cartoon and princess-themed parties you’ve been to recently.

This gets easier when your tyke develops interests and hobbies. A baseball-themed party is an easy choice for a seven-year-old baseball player, but what about a 1-year-old? Many of them like the same things: rummaging for your cellphone, smashing boiled vegetables, chasing the cat and so on. Not exactly party fodder.

Our friends have conjured some innovative party themes: My favorite so far was a newspaper-themed party where the baby was dressed like a turn-of-the-century “newsie.” It was cute and fun.

A lot of parents -- including my wife and I -- choose to skip the theme altogether and use a baby’s first birthday as an excuse to get the family together and celebrate the amazing year we’ve had. Our family members all live out of state, so we’re inviting everybody over for a backyard party with light, summer-themed foods and drinks. Some friends with babies are coming over, and there will be space for the tots to run around and play in a sandbox. We sent invitations stating that gifts are not necessary, since this party is clearly as much for us as it is for our baby.

I do have some minimal pangs of guilt, because I’m essentially turning my baby’s first birthday party into a “We survived the first year!” party. But this gathering will be a fun, economical way to celebrate our little one’s first year of life, while also spending time with our family and friends.

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