Development Family

10 Ways To Celebrate Your Baby’s First Birthday Without A Party

Everyone loves a good party. Or do they?

There are many reasons why you might not want to throw a birthday party for your child (more on these shortly).

If you would prefer not to have a party in honour of your baby’s first, second or even third birthday, then that’s totally fine, because it’s important to do what you (rather than society) wants or expects.

So in this post we’ve researched some of the best no party birthday ideas for babies and toddlers, so you can all have fun without having to throw a “traditional” birthday party.

Is It OK Not To Throw A Birthday Party?

The answer to this is a big YES!

Parents should never feel obliged to throw a birthday party for a young child, or feel as though it’s something they absolutely must do.

Whether or not you celebrate your kid’s birthday largely comes down to personal choice, your individual circumstances and any cultural or social norms or expectations.

Some parents might prefer to throw a large party for friends and family, while others may prefer a smaller, more intimate celebration with just their immediate family, or even some of the birthday party alternatives listed below.

Just remember that the ultimate decision is always down to you and your family, and there is no “right” or “wrong” decision.

Reasons Why You Might Not Want To Host A Party

There are hundreds of legitimate reasons why you might not want to organize a traditional party to celebrate your child’s birthday.

Here are five common reasons to skip the party this year:

1. Cost

As we all know, raising a child is expensive.

Or to be more specific, in the USA it costs over $310,000 to raise a child from birth to the time they are 18 years of age.

On average that works out to $17,000 per year, so unless you’re comfortably well off, then the last thing you probably need right now is the expense of throwing a birthday bash.

man looking into his wallet

2. Stressful For Mom & Dad

Next up on our list is the stress that comes with planning, organizing and hosting even the smallest of gatherings.

Some of you might love hosting and catering for friends and family, but for a lot of people the thought of throwing a party right now might send you into a mild state of anxiety.

And that in itself is a reason not to throw a traditional party.

3. Stressful For Your Child

While we’re on the subject of stress, it’s worth remembering that this is something that can affect babies as well.

Again this will vary from person to person, or should we say from child to child.

But if lots of people, too much stimulation and being the center of attention are things that you think your baby won’t relish, then you might want to make life easier for your child by forgoing the party.

Related: Navigating Your Child’s Early Development

4. They Won’t Remember It

New research suggests that on average the earliest memories that people can recall are from the age of around 2.5 years old.

That means your baby most probably won’t ever remember their first or second birthday parties, however big or extravagant they were.

Sure, when they’re older they will be able to look back at photos or videos from the day, but then again they could do that for other gatherings like Christmas, Thanksgiving or family vacations.

5. Your Baby Won’t Know The Difference

If you’re debating whether or not to celebrate your baby’s first birthday with a party, then keep in mind your child won’t know the difference either way.

So in many ways the day is more about you, and more for you, than it is for your young baby.

Baby in White Onesie Holding Wooden Blocks

How To Celebrate Your Baby’s First Birthday Without A Party

Looking for a bit of inspiration on how to celebrate your child’s 1st birthday without a traditional party?

Here are 10 fun activities that cater to various budgets:

1. Family Day Out

A lovely and memorable way to celebrate your child’s first, second or any birthday for that matter is to all go on an outing together.

This is what we did when celebrating our baby’s first birthday and it was an awesome day all round.

When it comes to where to take your child on their birthday the options are endless.

From my experience, a few fun examples or activities include visiting a zoo or aquarium, going shopping, visiting a theme park or water park, enjoying some nice food together, hitting the beach or going to a beautiful park or botanical gardens.

2. Staycation

Find yourself a baby-friendly hotel and celebrate your child’s first birthday in style by going on a mini-break.

Your child will probably have a blast, and we’re sure mom and dad won’t say no to a night or two away either.

3. Vacation

The most extravagant and perhaps memorable birthday party alternative on our list is to pack your bags and go on a full-blown vacation!

Sure, this one won’t be cheap.

But if you were planning on spending a few hundred dollars on your child’s first birthday party anyway, then why not save up a little extra and treat the whole family to a proper get-away.

Man and woman with baby sitting on rock near seashore

4. Visit A Toy Store

See your child’s face light up when they’re given the opportunity to explore a cool toy store and pick out a toy that really takes their fancy.

Does your child have too many toys already?

In that case you can go to a book store instead.

5. Go Out For Breakfast

Many times the least stressful time to go out with your child is in the morning.

So make the most of this by hitting your favorite breakfast joint and let someone else prepare delicious dishes like waffles, pancakes, eggs and muffins that all the family can enjoy.

After breakfast, you could always take in one of the activities from our first example above.

6. Close Family Gathering

Probably the nearest thing on our list to a traditional birthday party is to throw a gathering for a select few members of your close family or friendship group.

You can have cake, decorations and presents, or choose to forgo all the above to make it feel less like a regular party.

The great thing here is because you’re not inviting the parents of kids from daycare (who you probably don’t know well), you’ll be able to enjoy the day with the people who are nearest and dearest to you.

7. Play Date

One of the best and most fun no-party birthday ideas for a one year old is to organize a play date for your little one!

Two, three or four other kids is probably a good number, and you could either have it at your house or go somewhere that the children will love, such as a soft play center.

Two Baby Boys Playing Outdoors

8. Go Swimming

It could be a splash pool in your yard, your local kiddies swimming pool, a water park or even the beach.

But whatever your choose, your baby is sure to have fun if your party-free birthday celebration involves swimming.

9. Painting

Young children love being creative and trying new things, so your one year old will probably love the idea of finger painting to celebrate their special day.

Depending on what they create, you can always save their masterpiece and display it in their bedroom as a memento!

10. Decorate Your House

Just because you’re not throwing a regular birthday party doesn’t mean you can’t make your home look fun and inviting!

Order some colorful animal balloons, streamers and other decorations as they’ll not only grab your baby’s attention and make them feel special, but they’ll also look great in any photos you might take.

Tori is mama to 3 year old Isabella and co-founder of Rockinbaby. She has a BSc in Psychology, is a certified yoga teacher and is a working mom. In her free time Tori loves cooking delicious foods and baked treats, entertaining and working out. Learn more about Tori here.

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