A baby's first year is a magical experience, especially for the new parents who watch their helpless newborn develop into a little person (sometimes even walking) by their first birthday. Parents everywhere want to pay tribute and memorialize that special time in their lives and their baby's. Keepsakes and traditions are symbols of how important your child is in your family. They also are what help you to create a family identity. Traditions also convey to children that some of the most precious possessions a family has do not come with a high price tag. The true value of keepsakes and traditions lies in the time and love that was necessary to create them. So if you are a doting parent, grandparent or even aunt or uncle, here are some special first birthday keepsakes and traditions-
· Save special outfits - From the outfit you brought the baby home in to a cherished christening gown that has been passed down through generations, saving special outfits can mark important times in our lives. One creative family took a picture of their one-year old baby next to the outfit he came home in leaving them with a great photographic reminder of just how much he had grown over the past year.
· Find a new use for special outfits - While saving special outfits can be great you can also find a new use for them. One crafty grandmother gathered up some of each of her grandchildren's outgrown newborn clothes and other outfits that were worn the first year and turned them into beautiful quilts. Or you can mark your baby's first birthday by donating his outgrown clothes to a charity that helps the underprivileged. This way you can mark your celebration by helping someone else.
· Let photos (literally) tell a story - For a special keepsake why not ask family and friends to bring pictures of your one year old that have been taken throughout his first year of life. You can then have your guests write a short summary of the picture; be sure to include his age in it and then paste the story and the photograph in a book for the baby. Even babies as young as one love looking at pictures of themselves and this will make a wonderful memory keeper for years to come.
· Chronicle the months - You can easily make a special keepsake for your baby. Start by posting a newborn photo in the center of a page (perhaps with a birth announcement by it) and then every month surround the picture with photos. Your crowning achievement for your collage can be a one-year old picture of the birthday boy or girl.
· Write a letter to your child - While the actual birthday of your child may be too hectic to write him or her a letter, try writing one a few days before or after the celebration. Include your feelings, what happened at the party and include some highlights from the past year. While your child may be too young to fully appreciate the letters, for many years to come you will have a written record that chronicles your child's life and the special place they hold in yours.
· Scrapbook the party - Even if you are not an avid scrap booker there are many ways to commemorate the party of your one-year old. Have a scrapbook page or two where everyone can sign and give best wishes to the birthday boy or girl. You can take a picture of the guest of honor with everyone who attends and then send out pictures later. Or perhaps have a picture of your little darling with a plain matte around it where everyone can sign as well. Either way you are left with a precious keepsake of that special first birthday celebration.