For children this age, keep it simple. While games and activities are not necessary or expected at a party for one-year-olds (unless you have invited young children you'll need to entertain), colorful decorations and a fun theme will complete your event. Meghan Hardy of Birthday Express says to make your party zone colorful and festive. "Babies are drawn to bright colors. Hang streamers in the party room and decorate the party table, often the focal point of the room," says Hardy.
Ryan agrees to go all out on decorations because you'll probably be saving on party favors and entertainment for a first birthday. If you do have balloons, make sure they are well out of the way of any children as they pose a choking hazard.
You might feel compelled to invite everyone who has played a role in your child's life, but be assured the wonderful labor and delivery nurse who helped with your breathing exercises is not expecting an invitation.
Take into consideration your child's personality and how she reacts to large groups of people. Hardy suggests keeping the guest list relatively small by inviting only immediate family and close friends to the event.
Of course, everyone wants to buy your baby the best possible gift, and part of the excitement of gift-giving is seeing the recipient open presents. Yet, at this stage in a child's life, he may be more content to play with empty boxes and shiny wrapping paper. Make sure your guests know how much the gifts are appreciated and mention something unique about each item.
Ryan says your child will most likely receive gifts that are not yet age-appropriate, and you can put them away to play with later. "It will be total overkill to expose the baby to all these new things at once. Your child has no idea that this stuff is for him, so stow it until you need it." Ryan says this will also help to minimize the anxiety your child may feel.
Susan Held, of Cooksville, Maryland, commemorated her son Patrick's first birthday by asking guests to write a special note and make a donation to their favorite charity in her son's name instead of bringing a gift. She knew Patrick didn't need anything and would never know the difference, and she wanted to be able to help others less fortunate.