Lindsay Gill: One year old birthday party (on a budget) checklist

Thursday, January 9, 2014

One year old birthday party (on a budget) checklist

Luke is turning ONE in 6 short days!  A chance to celebrate a full year of life, and a chance to start new traditions for his birthday.

Winter birthdays are tough here in New England!  The weather warnings say a few minutes outside could be dangerous.  I really wanted to try to make this celebration about Luke rather than the adults.

Here's my checklist to organize my thoughts (since I'm running out of time!):


  • Save the date text (I chose a Saturday morning  because Luke is best in the morning and worked around his usual nap time...but you never know.)
  • It will be about 1 hour (they lose interest quickly, and will need another nap soon!)
  • Real invites are still on the to-do list, but I made these for the family party.


  • Luke loves music, so I knew that I wanted to do a music theme.  We called a few "music centers" that do music classes for babies and kids and they gave us estimates that were out of our budget range.  Luckily, my grandfather plays the banjo and mandolin and agreed to learn some Wee Song songs and play music for the party! 
  • We will have it at our condo which is fairly well baby-proofed.  The music places said their only rule was that we don't get any food on the floor...ummmm how??? It's much more enjoyable for babies and their parents when the venue is safe and exploreable (is that a word?)
  • No-shoes policy so that everyone can crawl and walk around with little to no dirt in their mouths.
  • We're going to serve puffs and other finger snacks that don't require bibs or too much parent intervention.  Pizza and cake get very messy especially since we don't have high chairs to go around!  Luke would probably choose Puffs over pizza and cake, anyway!  Poor Luke doesn't get cake on his birthday????  Don't worry...he the family party!
  • Make banners like my friend NK did with photos from 1 month - 12 months.  
  • Get lots of balloons!  As long as your little one isn't scared of them.
  • I'm going to try to make each baby a drum from an empty formula can, and shakers from plastic Easter eggs.  I'll post on how this goes.  The drum and shaker will be part of their goody-bag!  
  • The homemade drum and shaker.  Maybe some animal crackers.  
Thank-you notes:
  • Snapfish is my go-to for photo projects and I plan to make thank yous with the same 1-12 month photos...or photos from the party...I haven't decided yet.  If you're not on a budget...get personalized stamps from Zazzle!  
Okay experienced Mamas...what am I missing?  Leave a comment!


  1. I made number cookies every year for my girls until they turned 9. Easy to find the cookie cutter and so easy to make. As they got older, they got to choose the color of the frosting. I kept a few cookies unfrosted the first year for the birthday girl to eat herself.
    Also, we did only family parties until they started kindergarten. Once they started school, then we started to add a friends party.
    Good luck for both of the parties!! And Happy First Birthday to Luke!!

    1. Love the number cookie idea! We're keeping the friend party small (more like a play date) but I can definitely see the benefit of waiting until Kindergarten! Will let you know how they go...and I'll extend your wishes to Luke ;) thanks for reading!

  2. I am actually going through the same thing right now. My baby girl (Paige) is turning 1 next month and I'm stressing about what we should do. I have sooo many ideas but not enough budget money to do it. haha!! Seeing your checklist was really helpful! Thanks!! And I hope your little guy has a great first birthday!


    1. Thanks for stopping by, would love to hear what you end up doing, and happy birthday to Paige!

  3. Thanks for stopping by my First Friday Link Party 1st for everything and Congrats on your child 1st birthday. Take care and Have Fun

    Your Host Maria

  4. Sounds like a fabulous party. Those first birthdays are exciting occasions. I bawled at both my girls' first birthdays (seriously started crying in the middle of singing happy birthday). Enjoy the day!

    1. I can see that happening...overcome with emotions! Will see how I do!

  5. Sounds like a great party! Time flies - mine turns 6 next month and it seems like 1 was yesterday!

    1. Every stage has been great so far, trying to enjoy every minute because I know 6 will be here before I know it!

  6. Thanks for linking up at the Bog Strut! I can't wait to see what you link up next week! I would love for you to hop over anytime to and link up with the parties I co-host throughout the week!
    Have a terrific weekend!

  7. One fun thing we did at Seb's first birthday party was that we invited people to bring a small item for a time capsule that he will open on his 18th birthday party. It was so much fun and everyone was very creative! Most people brought items that were quite inexpensive so it was a great 'budget-friendly' thing to add to his party.

    1. That sounds really cute! Will definitely consider!

  8. Thanks for linking up to the Thursday S.T.Y.L.E. link party! These are all great ideas for your little one's birthday party. My oldest was a huge grump at his birthday party. He wanted nothing to do with the festivities, only what HE wanted to do. We ordered about 10 pizzas too many and couldn't give enough away at the end. We definitely learned a lot for our second son's birthday. I wish I had a checklist like yours!