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Five steps for a perfect first birthday

Some moms and dads can't help but get overly emotional when their baby turns 1. The first birthday is a big milestone, so it's important to craft the perfect party for your little one. While they may not remember it now, years down the road your son or daughter can pore over photos and truly understand just how much you cared about them.

However, like any other event, throwing a successful shindig can be a difficult endeavor. But if you follow a few simple steps, you'll be able to breeze through planning and give your child the party that he or she deserves.

1. Use plenty of pictures. Most people stress out about decorations for birthday parties, but for your child, it's really quite simple. A few understated additions, such as criss-crossed ribbed lanterns and mini cupcake candles, are a great place to start. Guests of all ages will be sure to find the adorable pictures delightful.

2. Clever games. Almost everyone has played some variation of classic birthday party games, so why not try something different? A time capsule may be a good idea, as it will provide your son or daughter with a window into their younger days when they reach a certain age. Ask everybody who comes to bring a little memento with them so they can contribute!

3. Keep it short. You'll probably only be able to get your kid's attention for a while, so you should make sure the party doesn't take up longer than an hour and a half. While there's nothing against quietly continuing the celebration after they've been put down for a nap with a few personalized birthday cookies, but their participation probably shouldn't last exceptionally long.

4. Location, location, location. If you're lucky enough to be hosting a party in warmer weather, take things outside. Everybody likes getting some fresh air, and what better way to enjoy the summer than celebrating with friends and family? This also gives kids plenty of room to roam and play.

5. Favors aplenty. As is the case with any party, you'll want to leave your guests with a parting gift. A personalized photo magnet or personalized snip snap photo tin are your best bets.