Five Extra Special Ideas for Baby’s First Birthday

Your baby’s first year is filled with so many firsts: first smile, first time sitting up, first bite of baby food ... and to top it off, her very first birthday! No doubt you’ll want to throw a party to celebrate, but parties only last a few hours. Try these ideas to mark this important milestone in a way that will last.

1. Plant a tree
Like your baby, a tree will grow with each passing year, putting down roots and branching out into the world. Over the years -- and definitely on each birthday -- you can take photos of your child by her special tree. Not only is this a wonderful way to record your little one’s life, but as she gets older, it will teach her about the important connection we all have to the earth and environment.

2. Make a first-year quilt
Few things are cuter than baby clothes. But babies grow so fast that sometimes it seems your little one has barely worn an outfit before she’s outgrown it. A first-year quilt is a lovely way to save a piece of that adorable newborn onesie you can’t bear to part with or the red jammies with the dinosaur face that always makes your baby laugh. And don’t forget those first-year linens: blankets, sheets, and towels bearing irresistibly cute baby motifs. Assemble all the items, cut them into squares, and turn them into a quilt that you can appreciate for years to come -- and eventually give to your child when she gets older.

3. Record your baby’s story
Select your favorite photos from the past 12 months to go into your baby’s very own storybook. Put them in a scrapbook and write a tale highlighting the special moments and baby development milestones from your baby’s first year. Not a writer? Put the photos in a slideshow and add your little one’s favorite tunes as the soundtrack. Reading your baby’s story or watching the slideshow together is a perfect addition to your child’s bedtime routine, reminding her how special she is and how much you love her.

4. Make a footprint in time
Use a casting kit to make an impression of your child’s foot or hand. Put it in a double frame with the cast on one side and a portrait from her first birthday party on the other. As your child grows, you’ll both look upon the tiny cast and marvel at how little she once was.

5. Create a time capsule
Collect items that capture the essence of your baby’s first year: a photo of your home, a swatch from her favorite blanket, the rattle she adored, a recording of her favorite song, and so on. Then seal them in a box to open on her 18th birthday. It’s something you’ll both cherish for the rest of your lives.