It is an established fact that birthday parties for one year olds are the worst.* The baby can't participate in normal birthday party activities (because it's a BABY), so it's basically two hours of small talk. I sit there and watch the tired parents open the present I picked out after forty minutes of standing in Target wondering "What does a one year old want?" I can tell by the look in their eyes that they are going to keep it in the packaging and hand it off to the next one year old party they are invited to. Then the grandparents will unveil a power wheels or some expensive toy that the child is way too young to use. After gifts we watch the baby smash the cake and everyone laughs and we all go home and move on with our lives.
Plant a garden instead.
It's not that I'm not against parties for babies, I'm asking you to rethink the present part of it. I have three young children and know how quickly toys can build up-and how quickly the kids lose interest. Instead of asking your friends and family to bring a present how about asking them to bring a perennial instead. Most cost between five and twenty dollars, plus you'd be spending your money at a locally owned business instead of a giant chain. It doesn't have to be a fancy standalone garden, maybe a little patch in the corner of your back yard or along a shed.
Photo ops for years to come!
Take a picture of your son or daughter next to
their garden every year on their birthday. It will be fun to watch them both grow. Maybe you turn it into a little book. Maybe you bring it with you to the next baby party you're invited to and show it to the parents, all hintity-hint hint. When your child is old enough they can help take care of the garden too. This would be a great space for the child to "work" while you are taking care of your other landscaping. Or, it could be used as a cutting garden- the child knows s/he is safe to go in an pick whatever flowers they want out of their garden, thus leaving your other plants alone.
Free gifts for the future.
Invited to more garden parties? Divide one of your plants and put it in a pretty flower pot- two gifts in one. Don't know any one year olds? This would also be a great idea for house warming parties, or any party for that matter. Toys end up in landfills or at garage sales. Plants are beautiful and good for our environment. Worst case scenario you forget to water and the garden looks a little sad. Best case scenario: free landscaping!