You may be thinking, “Isn’t starting a tradition during the first year a bit early?” On the contrary, your baby may not remember being a part of these traditions, but the photographic evidence is something you will ooh and ahh over for decades to come. I mean, let’s face it – nothing is more adorable than a baby’s first time doing just about anything, and what better occasion to start new traditions than their first birthday? Unfortunately, with all of the charm and attention being poured into decorations, food, party favors and phone calls, we often forget to relax and enjoy a few firsts with our little ones. Here are a few traditions new and old to help you make this day special for years to come.
Ah, the smashing of the cake… a time honored tradition. The only time you don’t care how much sugar they’re about to inhale. When it’s not only laughable, but cute to clean cake out of your baby’s ears and nose for an entire week. When just throwing that outfit away (because honestly that’s not coming out) is heavily considered. It’s a glorious time for both yourself and your baby, and the perfect opportunity to make some memories by joining in and getting some cake smashed in your face too. Don’t forget to make the “smash cake” a separate cake from the one you serve! As a bonus tradition, find a Cake Decorator you love and use that same person every year.
The first year of your child’s life has undoubtedly been filled with very sweet (and most likely very gross) stories. One tradition you may consider starting would be to share a few of your favorite stories from the past year. In the beginning, this may just mean you reminiscing with fellow parents, swapping stories over mocktails at the snack table, but as your little lad or lady gets older you can share these stories with their friends (but maybe avoid the teenage years, yikes!).
Although it may seem like Pinterest is the generator of this tradition, we assure you it’s not. Parents dressing their little ones in the same (or similar) outfits every year for a single photograph has been going on longer than we may realize. Sure, we take photos of our kids nearly every day with our phones and personal cameras, but having an annual photo of your child wearing the same cute bow tie ensemble or pretty cotton dress is something special. It’s something they can look forward to each year (until their teen years when they don’t like mom, dad, birthdays, traditions, or in some cases, showers) and you can look forward to seeing how much they’ve grown and developed their personality. This may be the time to have a Photographer take over; they have a knack for capturing those adorable toothy smiles.
Birthday party videos are a relatively new spin on the classic, dad-holding-a-video-camera, hour-long VHS tapes (that mostly show Uncle Ron sleeping in the La-Z-Boy while little kids randomly poke him). Now you have the option of hiring a Videographer to capture the entire party for you, and edit it into a perfect little video of your baby’s first birthday. Do this every year and collect these special videos to later share with friends and family who couldn’t attend your party (or save them for embarrassing blackmail later). This may also help you narrow down which little one cleverly nabbed two extra cupcakes and shared them with the dog.
There has been another birthday trend going around that has caught our attention. Parents choose a very special book, perhaps Dr. Seuss’s Oh, The Places You’ll Go!, and each year have partygoers and/or parents write a note inside. After years of collecting the sweet memories, give the book to your child on their 18th birthday. If your special book has a Costumed Character in the story, you may want to have them stop by for a little visit.
A memory box is a great way to collect the most sentimental pieces from your child’s birthdays and safely store them until you’re ready to share the memories. You could collect photos, cards, their first outfit , their special book and anything that brings back memories.
Remember, the most beautiful moments in your child’s life are the ones they spend with friends and family, and the experiences you share together. So take the time to relive old traditions or create new ones, they make for the best memories.