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Making a Memorable Baby's First Birthday

When you have a child, you want to make each birthday celebration special. Luckily, the first birthday is (literally) a piece of cake - after all, baby has no idea what's going on, so his expectations are low. A new toy and a cupcake pretty much makes for an awesome birthday for the average 1-year-old.

But let's face it: First birthday parties are more for the parents than the child. It's a celebration acknowledging they-and baby-got through the first year alive and well. And when you look at it from that perspective, it's understandable some first birthday parties are as extravagant as wedding receptions.

There are ways to celebrate the big day without going overboard, however. Simple themes such as cartoon characters, astronauts or anything else that piques a now-toddler's interest can be simple to create with little fuss. Here are some of my favorite ideas:

ABCs and 123s:

Keep it educational and fun with simple decorations-balloons shaped like letters and numbers, candy alphabet and numbers adorning the cake ... you get the idea.

Decorate your own cupcakes:

Kids of all ages love to make masterpieces from the blank canvas that is a vanilla-frosted cupcake. Extra sprinkles? No problem. Pink icing? Bring it on? Gummy bears? Step right up. You'll be surprised how many parents enjoy this theme also.

Stuffed animal zoo:

Babies love the zoo, so why not create your own backyard zoo out of stuffed animals that also can serve as take-home gifts for the guests?

Picture-perfect birthday:

Similar to the idea of putting disposable digital cameras on the tables at a wedding reception so attendees can take candids during the event, offer each guest (or each family) a disposable camera to take pictures during the party. The snapshots can be printed and used as decorations for your child's second birthday party.

Bubbles and balls:

Babies love bubbles about as much as they love ball pits! Create a safe ball pit using a plastic baby pool and filling it with rubber ball-pit balls, which are available at most toy stores. And if your party is outside, rent a bubble machine to make baby's day!

Baby's first birthday shouldn't break the bank. All it takes is a little imagination to create a day that parents will appreciate, even if baby doesn't remember it.

Image: Huggies

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