General Question

erichw1504's avatar

If you have children, where did you hold their 1st birthday parties?

Asked by erichw1504 (26433points) August 23rd, 2012

When your child turned 1 year old, where did you have their party? Was it at home or at another location?

I need some ideas, because the few places I’ve tried were either too expensive or weren’t possible.

For fun, what was the theme of the party?

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52 Answers

Nullo's avatar

My first birthday was held in the back yard at home. There was a cake, there was punch, and it was hot -mid July. No idea beyond that.

LuckyGuy's avatar

At home on the porch with the grand parents.
Don’t go someplace expensive. Stay home and save the money for something worthwhile.

geeky_mama's avatar

We’ve always had 1st Birthday Parties at home.
We’re fortunate to have cousins close in age – so the grandparents, aunts & uncles and cousins all come for the party. Usually I made cakes that represented their interests at that age.. I remember an Elmo cake for our middle daughter that turned out pretty well for example..

With the first two children the parties were low-key family meal + cake.
With the third child (a boy)..we had a bouncy castle that was a great hit. His birthday routinely became a sort of a family summer least until recently (he’s now old enough he wants “friend” parties).

One of the best parties when he was very little (maybe age 3?) was at a nearby Train Museum. He loved trains at that age and so having his cake & presents there with his cousins and a few playmates (all 3 or 4 yrs. old – from his preschool).. and them playing on the train tables followed by riding the caboose (they had a real caboose + engine and pushed it up & down a small closed track) was a big hit with all the kids.

erichw1504's avatar

Well, the problem is that we live a few states away from our hometown where most of our family resides. So, we have to have it somewhere there.

Nullo's avatar

Then discuss going to visit them, the more economical option. The kid won’t get much out of the party.

jca's avatar

For a one year old, they’re not able to do a whole lot – they can usually barely walk. We had my daughter’s at my parents’ house, in the yard. It was just a family party, no kids games or anything.

keobooks's avatar

We had it in this very tiny room at our local Knights of Columbus Hall. It was too small for a wedding reception or any big event, so they usually only rented out the room as an addon for one of the bigger rooms. It was 60$ to rent for 2 hours – not including setup and cleanup (which was nice of them)

We did this because we were in the process of moving and things were too chaotic and disorganized to have people over. It was nice – we brought a kiddie pool and filled it up with ball pit balls. We decorated it and it was just big enough for all the relatives.

bkcunningham's avatar

First birthdays were held at grandma’s house. The birthday child was placed in a highchair and given their entire cake. Take lots of photos.

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t have children, but I once was one. My first birthday party was at my grandmother’s house and a lot of the family attended. After that it was at home, a few neighborhood friends and a few very close family members. The kids played some party games, ate cake and ice cream, opened gifts and gave everyone a bag of goodies to take home.

My mom told me at 8 years old no more parties. I actually did have another party when I was 12 I think? It might have been a different age. A slumber party.

I can’t imagine for a one year old you would bother to make a big party that costs a lot of money, unless you have a lot of money in general. The child won’t remember the day, the family probably doesn’t have a high expectation, and when thenkid gets to 4,5,6,7,8 you will have to deal with pulling out the stops more because he/she will know better what they want. Barbie party, magician, bouncy jumpy thing, chuck e cheese, etc.

However, if you just want to have a party, and this is a great reason to throw one, have it anywhere you would have a party you would enjoy, and that it will be ok to have some kids in attendance. The party will be enjoyed by the adults most of all probably. Unless you have a big family with bunches and bunches of kids that will be coming.

josie's avatar

At age 1, my kids’ parties were in the kitchen.

gailcalled's avatar

^^ My children’s first birthday celebration was in the high chair, with a cupcake, a bib and a drop cloth on the floor, in the kitchen also.

It lasted 20 minutes and then the parents and grandparents had a meal together, cooked by grandmas.

The birthday child then roared around and yelled a lot to work off the sugar high.

ucme's avatar

Both of my kids’ first birthdays were held at home, pointless having some lavish, expensive party when children of that age are not only largely unaware of what’s going on, but are bound to become tired & in need of a good sleep.
I’ve always thought those parties are held more for the parents benefit, some kind of hideous status symbol.

creative1's avatar

My mother lives on a lake and we had a big cookout style birthday party where I cooked steak on the grill along with making all the cookout fixings which I pre made the day before. I got a small cake for her which was the biggest hit of all, after singing happy birthday I put her little cake before her and she began eating it by putting her whole face into it to take a bite. After that she took little piece and fed herself but I have to say that was the biggest hit of the party watching her devour her cake.

digitalimpression's avatar

At home. He was only one so the party was more of an excuse for the adults to get together and drink a little.

zenvelo's avatar

For my firstborn, my son, we had it around the pool in the back yard. I grilled burgers from Costco, had about 4 or 5 cases of soda, a big sheet cake and a small cake for my son to smash his hands into. Total cost was under $75.

For my daughter’s first birthday, we had a table for 16 at the local Chevy’s Mexican food.

Neither of these were specifically set up for family. They were welcome but it was more for friends.

wundayatta's avatar

I think the first birthday is really for the parents, who have, amazingly, surivived that first year. The kid can’t understand what is going on yet, anyway.

So it doesn’t matter. Wherever you want to do it. Remember, you are doing it for the family and you, not really for your kid.

erichw1504's avatar

Also, it’s going to be in November… in New York: cooollld.

wundayatta's avatar

Cold? Where do you live now? It won’t be that cold. Sweater weather. Don’t forget about global warming.

Seek's avatar

At home. We threw a kegger.

We didn’t know a lot of other people with kids, but all of our friends love our son. So we got lots of beer and had a fire in the back yard, and about a hundred people with their instruments. Even had a drum kit in the back yard. The party was nominally a baseball theme, but there was much more metal than baseball happening there.

captainsmooth's avatar

1st daughter: at the local pizza/italian restaurant with extended family and friends.

2nd daughter: catering part of the diner. We had a magican for the older kids. Lots of space for everyone.

Pandora's avatar

First birthday party for my kids where at home with the neighbor kids who played with them, but who’s parents where really our friends. At one, or below their social skills aren’t much. They don’t remember anything and really don’t care for anything but to get their hands on the cake.

erichw1504's avatar

@wundayatta Virginia. Have you been to upstate NY?

Nullo's avatar

I’ll tell you now that the kid probably isn’t going to appreciate the party.

jca's avatar

@erichw1504 and @wundayatta: Yes, upstate NY in November definitely will be a bit on the chilly side. Maybe decent, if you’re lucky, mid-day, for a few hours, but not for long and not without jackets and people complaining that they’re cold. Plus the wind may blow away your stuff!

keobooks's avatar

I was just thinking of another place – my sister in law hosted her youngest son’s first birthday at a local burger place (not fast food – one of the places that’s locally owned and a little fancy) they rented out the room for a cost, but the cost of the food ordered was deducted. Everyone ordered their own burger, fries and milk shake. With the cost of the cake they provided the room ended up being “free”
I know it sounds extravagant to rent out a place for a first birthday, but sometimes you have to – especially if you have a big family or your house is really small (or messy and you can’t clean it up on time)
Another friend had a party at a local park for free. It’s free but it’s first come first serve, so you should stake out a place early – especially in the summer on a weekend. That was nice – except the bathrooms were really far away – and I heard they were gross. But the party was really short and after the cake all the bigger kids went to play on the playground

geeky_mama's avatar

Hey @erichw1504 -

Based on the added information.. (Cold, in NY, November – and holding a party in a city someplace other than where you live).. I’d suggest considering:

Have you heard of the Little Gym? It’s like an indoor playground place with cool toddler friendly play equipment & classes. I looked and they have about 14 or 15 locations in NY. (Tho not sure if you mean Upstate or greater NYC area..)

We’ve been to little-boy birthday parties there in the past and they were a hit. If you have other kids/family members with small kids attending then this might be a possibility. (The link I pasted in above is about what their B-day parties are like.)

linguaphile's avatar

My son’s 1st birthday party, 20 years ago, was at home in our backyard with a good number of my mother’s friends and my friends. There weren’t that many other kids there- the next youngest kid was 11 years old, so a cookout in our backyard was perfect for what we needed it for.

9 years ago, my daughter’s birthday was at a park with a pavilion and playground nearby. I had my friends there with their babies and toddlers, but my son also invited his friends so with that many youngsters, the park was just right. The only drawback was that everyone got sunburnt, even under the pavilion.

jca's avatar

@geeky_mama: Little Gym is a good place, but IMHO unnecessary for only a one year old, as they can barely walk at that age, let alone climb up onto equipment or anything like that. Also, with a rented space like that, time is limited and usually strictly scheduled as far as first we’ll do this, then we’ll do that, then the last 15 minutes are set aside for pizza and cake, and then everyone gets kicked out. It’s not really conducive to a family get together, and will cost at least a few hundred (probably $300 or $400) just for the party. I’d suggest a place like Little Gym for maybe 3 year olds for the friends’ party, when the kids can really get a lot out of the space and the equipment.

JLeslie's avatar

What does cold weather matter if it is at home? Or, even somwhere else? As long as it’s indoors? My 1st birthday was January in NY. Now that ‘s cold.

@erichw1504 I’ll answer for @wundayatta. He went to school at Cornell, so he is pretty familar with upstate.

YARNLADY's avatar

The first four or so birthdays are always held at Chuck E Cheese. We went through one son, two nephews, one niece, three grandsons, and now two more grandsons. Luckily, the chuck E Cheese’s near us have always been delightful places to play and visit.

Finally a change, we took the youngest grandson on a train ride and joined the train museum for his third birthday.

Bellatrix's avatar

The party really isn’t for the child. It won’t remember it and apart from playing with the paper and boxes its presents came in and scoffing down some birthday cake, the little person probably won’t care much where it’s held.

With your added challenges of cold weather and needing to hold it away from your own home – a family friendly restaurant. Something simple, casual and not too expensive. All the little person needs is a high chair and some cake so choose something other children in the family can enjoy and the adults will have fun attending.

jca's avatar

@YARNLADY: IMHO a one year old is a bit young to appreciate and enjoy Chuck E Cheese.

Kardamom's avatar

My cousin had one of her kid’s first birthday parties at a local park. Another cousin and she (who were very creative) made the cake and decorations and I think it was a princess themed potluck, although my cousin supplied the main bulk of the food, which I believe was Mexican (they picked up catered stuff from one of our local restaurants) which was served from those big foil containers. Everybody else brought salads and side dishes and desserts (other than birthday cake).

The cousins also made little gift bags for all of the little kids (that were at least 3 years old) that came, filled with crayons and a coloring book and bubbles and some candy. As I recall each child also got an inexpensive superhero or princess watch.

They had an easy up tent set up where the food was, and another one set up for the present opening area, for mom and baby. Then they set up my neice in her high chair, with her cake in front of her and let her go to town, getting all messy and covered with frosting. My cousin brought several outfits to this party, knowing full well that her kid would get messy.

My other cousin also put together kids meals for all of the young guests, which were either peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or lunchables (something like that) and milk or juice box and cookies in brown bags.

Everyone had a wonderful time, adults and kids alike.

wundayatta's avatar

How far upstate are we talking? I lived in Lansing NY, on the shores of Lake Cayuga, for two years. We barely ever saw snow. The one time we did get snow, my girlfriend managed to put the car in a ditch. Sigh. But no. Upstate Novembers don’t scare me at all, especially not these days.

wundayatta's avatar

I remember that Halloween snowstorm last year! That was the only snow we got last winter. Ours was gone the next day and that was the last we saw of winter up until now (which is decidedly unwinterlike).

Mid-state, eh?

augustlan's avatar

We always had parties for our kids at home, at least until they got old enough to enjoy a destination party (bowling, ice skating, movies, pool, etc.) No themes at all for 1 year olds… just lots of colorful balloons and crepe paper.

As they got older, we had several themed parties at the house: Little Mermaid, Halloween (for our October girl), Garden party, Luau, Puppy party, Winter Wonderland (for our December girl), Roaring 20s Murder Dinner party (for a teenager) and so on. When they were young, the parties would usually include a related craft activity, a custom-made pin-the-blank-on-the-blank (tails on mermaid and puppy, bee on flower, nose on jack-o-lantern, etc), sometimes face painting, a physical activity, presents, cake, goodie bags. Very low key, but the kids always enjoyed themselves.

**Oops, just read all the answers above me. Can you just have the party at the home of one of the NY relatives? It really will be more about the adults than the kids at this age, so someone’s house for a laid-back get together will be just fine.

jca's avatar

I’m down by NYC (about an hour away) and I remember that pre-Halloween storm last October 2011. Snow still on ground on Halloween, which was on a Monday while storm had been Saturday night. No power till Tuesday where I live, and Connecticut folks just over the border from me (so south eastern CT) had no power till the following Saturday (one week without heat or lights). That was no joke and illustrates how in this neck of the woods, nothing is predictable. That brings me back to the question at hand. You need an indoor venue.

filmfann's avatar

1st birthday was at my Mom’s house. It made it easier for my daughter to have a nap first, so she was in a good mood. Going out is unnecessary at that age.

gailcalled's avatar

@wundayatta; I am about 25 miles SE as the crow flies from Albany.

North of me there’s that 6 million acres of the Adirondack Park, in the blue line, where winters really have hair on their chest.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@erichw1504 We had a backyard BBQ. My son had his first ever really bad cold. This was July 3rd, so colds aren’t that common. :(

I would take time to plan a family gathering and also celebrate the 1st birthday. A one year old limits the ability to have too much time spent doing any one thing. Plan the party for the family, and celebrate together wherever you decide to meet up.

Generally, our family November b-days (there are a ton of them) all get lumped together on Thanksgiving or whenever we meet up for the holidays.

YARNLADY's avatar

Too late to add: The Chuck E Cheeses we use have toddler sections, pre-school sections, and older kids sections.

jca's avatar

@YARNLADY: I don’t doubt there are one year olds in the world who have had a good time at Chuck E Cheese. I just think (just my opinion, that’s all) that a one year old doesn’t necessarily have to go someplace like that, and can be just as happy at a house or yard party. Also, Chuck E Cheese is hectic and loud if the rest of the family (i.e. adults) want to gather and chat (also the food is awful but that’s a whole ‘nother story).

YARNLADY's avatar

@jca Yes, it’s true for just about any age, that paid entertainment is not really any more fun than partying at home.

P.S. Our CEC has a parents area in the front, some booths with no toys or games, right by the window. It’s very nice, and you can see the whole room from there. The salads and sandwiches are quite tasty, but the pizza is horrible.

YARNLADY's avatar

Also, note, birthdays are big business in our family. For many years, we got together in San Diego for the February Family party, including taking all our northern California family with us and staying in hotel rooms. Now, we fly Mom and Sis and cousins up to our place for the February Birthday bash, and stay in our favorite two bedroom, two bath hotel suite.

wundayatta's avatar

I have two children, now 16 and 12, and I managed to avoid ever being in a Chuck E. Cheese’s. My daughter got invited to one or two parties there. I think my wife took her to one, and we had an excuse not to go to the other. From the descriptions of the place I have heard, I know I would get an instant splitting headache upon stepping through the door.

If you are not a Chuck E. Cheese person, I encourage you not to ever give in. It can’t be healthy, not for you and not for your kid.

jca's avatar

@wundayatta: I agree. I hate Chuck E Cheese. It’s loud, dirty, sticky, hectic, gross. Food is awful, just awful.

YARNLADY's avatar

Ha, ha. My kids just went over to Chuck E Cheese a few minutes ago for a party. We are so lucky to have one that is nothing like what is described above. The noise level is the same as any arcade, it is clean, serves delicious sandwiches and has a decent all you can eat salad bar. Only the pizza tastes terrible.

jca's avatar

@YARNLADY: That’s great! To me, though, an arcade’s noise level is too loud and and not conducive to a child’s thinking and concentrating, or adult’s talking.

captainsmooth's avatar

How much thought is a one year old, or any age kid, putting in at their party at Chuck E. Cheese?

wundayatta's avatar

No thought at all.

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