I love, love a good birthday party. Especially a first birthday party! What could be more special than celebrating a full year or wonderful memories made with your baby? Nothing! I always celebrate my daughters’ first birthdays because they’re so special to me. They are far to young to remember anything or even really care about what’s going on that day. Sure, they look back on their DVDs and pictures and are able to see all the fun things I did for them and our guests on that day. But that’s it. It doesn’t leave much of an impact on them besides wanting more. With Zaynab’s first birthday, I wanted to do something completely different. Instead of giving her memories of taking and wanting, I wanted her to have the inspiration to give!
We had just moved into our new rental after a very sudden move. I loved our old rental dearly and wasn’t excited about being in the new place. Z was born at home in our old home and I was so sad that we couldn’t celebrate her first birthday in that home. Instead of wallowing in pity, I decided I would celebrate Z’s birthday in a very special and meaningful way. I decided I would host a charity themed first birthday to celebrate the many blessings that we had in our lives. So what if we weren’t in the same home? We were healthy and had a beautiful new home to make new memories in. Time to party!
Zaynab's 1st Birthday
The birthday girl! The goal of the day was to enjoy the company of our closest friends and family and reflect on the blessings we each have in our lives.
Tissue Paper Flower Backdrop
My only focus for decorations was to create the tissue paper flower garden wall I had been dreaming about since I first saw it on Pinterest via Snow and Graham.
With the help of my best friend, it came out spectacular as was the perfect party backdrop. I pretty much left it up all week it was so beautiful.
Birthday Donation Center
Zaynab had a ton of toys, clothes, and books. We did NOT need any more. In lieu of gifts, I asked guests to make donations to three different charities: a coat agency that supplies the poor with warm outerwear, an orphan fund, and an organization that collects scarves.
By the time all the guests had arrived, our donation center was overflowing!
DIY Greeting Cards
These may look like your typical coloring pages, but these were in fact greeting cards for the children to make for a friend of family member. Whether it was a nice note or just a cute picture, I encouraged the kids to create a card for someone else to brighten their day.
Create a Card Station
This was a great activity to start the kids on to get them into the giving mood while we waited for all the guests to arrive.
Knotted Fleece Blankets
Instead of typical party games, I gave the children meaningful activities to take part of. I prepared two fleece blankets to be knotted by all the children together. The fleece blankets were then donated to charity.
Knotted Fleece Blanket Activity
I was pleasantly surprised by the children’s eagerness to participate. It was very touching to see them involved in such a sweet act of charity simple enough for a child to take part of.
DIY Charity Coin Bank
Another charity themed activity for the kids was to decorate loose change coin boxes. This gave the kids the power to donate the money to the charity of their choice once their little banks were full.
I purchased mini gift boxes from the dollar store and cut out the coin slots on the top.
For lunch, I skipped cooking completely and just ordered pizzas from a local restaurant. But for dessert? That was all homemade! Baking all the dessert (except the birthday cake), was my way of giving to my guests.
I enjoy baking and my friends and family enjoy the results. It’s a win-win situation.
Charity Party Favors
The charity coin boxes the kids created had double duty by housing the party favors to take home. I included chocolate coins, a mini kaleidoscope, bouncy balloon, and bubbles. A small reward for the children for being so generous and caring throughout the party.
My True Blessing
Among all the activities, donations, and homemade desserts, I was truly the most blessed one at the party. I had a loving and wonderful baby girl that I shared an amazing first year with. Zaynab taught me so much about being grateful for my blessings and that’s truly something to celebrate.