I personally feel the OPPOSITE of what a lot of people say! For my child's 2nd, 3rd, 4th birthday I'll be super simple. A friend from next door, my personal best friend, me and my husband...maybe as he gets a little older a couple friends from preschool. BUT the 1st birthday is...well...the FIRST BIRTHDAY! I totally think it should be commemorated!!! What we did was get a frame that says "my first year" from a local (Grapevine) vendor: it's got 12 small spaces and one big space on top. That way you can put a picture for each month, and one big one from the birthday party. We displayed it at the "gift table". We rented the ampitheater at a local park which included private bathrooms, tables, and chairs. We made a jambalaya, white beans, veggie tray (fed 40 people for about $50, and it was delicious). Got a Walmart birthday cake for friends/family and they give you a free smash cake for the birthday boy. We played music, took lots of pictures, the older kids had a ball on the playground while we ate and compared notes on parenthood. (It's more for you than him at this stage, but it's a special occassion to celebrate--you survived parenthood the first year, your child is graduating from babyhood to childhood). We also made our own giftbags for the kids in attendance (ages happened to be 3-11, just kids of my friends/family). We had a pullstring pinata which our son didn't understand but made funny pictures. After a great meal, we danced (my son loves music and sat on his knees bouncing and flapping his arms), we had cake (lots of pics of Joe making a mess), we changed him and opened gifts. Noone wanted to leave. We left at 1 hour, 45 minutes to put him to sleep though. Very fun. We got a plain white tshirt (his dad's size) and had guests leave handprints and sign them. We had a little drop box where people wrote sweet little messages for his scrapbook. But yeah, after that you don't have to do much til they hit the school years. I don't regret the big party AT ALL. I think I would have regretted it more if we'd had pizza at home.