Initially we had grand schemes of pulling off a fantastical photo booth, complete with Elf, Santa, and even Mr. Narwhal props. Pin the Elf hat on the Elf game, snowman making crafts and we even at one point, dreamed of building a sleigh out of cardboard (I swear, the kids got really into the party planning and their ideas were genius). But at the end of the day, I had to keep reminding myself that this was a party for a 1 year old, who I really didn’t want to neglect for 2 weeks while I crafted up intricate props and backdrops, so on and so forth. Plus, with our last minute road trip just the week before, there simply wasn’t any time, even had I wanted to follow through on some of those genius ideas.
So we kept it simple, focusing on decorating just one part of the house, nixing the photo booth and craft station and even games, and opting to let the kids swim the whole time instead. Outside we did set up a kids table with a few Etch A Sketches, wooden hammer toys, very Santa’s Workshop-like, an old school Lite Brite and some Legos. I never even made it outside to take pictures of the play table though, because there was just too much going on and I had to let some things go.
For the decorations, I made yards and yards of paper chains using plain ol’ white printer paper, to resemble this scene from the movie. The kids helped by making most of those snowflakes you see as well, and my husband made the chains of gingerbread men, which took a bit of time but was actually quite simple. You just cut a piece of 8.5×11 paper in half lengthwise, tape rows together (he taped 4 rows together), then accordion folded the paper, and then cut. Voila!River and Bridge designed especially for Hayden. She creates custom party packages that include the invite and thank you cards, and I added on the banner and cupcake toppers. I ended up loving the handwritten font she used, called Matchmaker, that I bought it myself and used it to make the food labels and a candy bar sign.inspired by this pin, but it would have been $40 to overnight them and I decided to just let it go because, really, he was turning 1!??!? I think it might have been dangerous anyhow considering we had 25+ kids swimming at all times. The paper goods were found at Target, and the polka dot cupcake liners from Michael’s. Miranda took while we sang him Happy Birthday, I let the bad decor pictures go, and came to tears at just how happy we all look, feeling grateful for our sweet Hayden. He has completed our family and touched our lives in a way we never could have expected. His smile and joy is contagious, and while this past year was awfully busy and went by in a blur, I can honestly say that I enjoyed our blur of a year to the fullest. I kissed and held and rocked and nursed that boy till my heart was content. I lost so much sleep, productivity, motivation and aspirations to do many of the things I “wanted” to do, and instead focused on what I “had” to do, which was love on this sweet boy as much as possible.