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by Hannah Jackson

When my daughter turned one last fall, it was all I could do not to go all out and spend lots of money on a big bash. After all, it was her first birthday! Not actually having the tons of money to spend, I had to be frugal for my little girl’s big day. First birthday parties can be big productions if you have the money and time to put into them, but if not, there are plenty of ways to still throw a great party.

Utilize The Season: Instead of buying every single Minnie Mouse party item the stores have to offer and never using any of it again, make it about whatever season your little one’s birthday falls on. My daughter’s birthday is in October, so we put pumpkins on the tables, used hay bales for seating, cooked up a couple crock-pots of chili and had her party right in our backyard.

However, if your child's has a spring birthday, take advantage of the nice weather and rent a pavilion at a park. Most of the time they are free and there are plenty of natural options for entertainment for the kids. You can also have beautiful arrangements with fresh, spring florals and use food that's in season to create tasty treats.

Get Family Involved: Most likely your family members will be just as excited (if not more) to celebrate with your little one. So, take some stress off yourself and let them help. Delegate between them, having someone make their own pot of chili while someone else handles a couple of yummy desserts.

Chances are, your mother-in-law is going to be dying to pitch in as much as she can. Recruit moms and siblings to help run errands or help decorate once the big day arrives. This frees up your time to set up party decorations or do last-minute prep.

Do It Yourself: The internet is full of DIY ideas for parties. This route tends to be a little bit more budget friendly, and it gives your child’s party a personal, rather than completely commercial, touch. One thing we did for my daughter was order cheap prints online of her first year of life and display them in a timeline for guests to enjoy.

It was fun to go back and pick a couple of pictures of her from each month and see how much she had changed in only a year. Your family will love to see the transformation. Party favors, while not totally necessary, are still a fun way to put a finishing touch on the festivities, which again, you'll find lots of ideas on Pinterest that are definitely DIY friendly.

Realize it’s Not About You: When it comes down to it, the day is really for your child. Keep in mind that they are not going to notice, or even remember, that you hand wrote/stamped/decorated all 47 of the party invitations. They are just going to enjoy being around everyone they love. Add to that by getting to open some carefully selected presents and eat cake, and they will be smiling for days.