My Son’s Virtual First Birthday

My Son’s Virtual First Birthday

When I started brainstorming birthday party ideas for my son’s first birthday, during a pandemic, I wasn’t finding too many Pinterest ideas for specifically a totally virtual party for a one year old. There were lots of ideas for older kiddos but not too many ideas floating around on how to handle a birthday party for a 12 month old little human that doesn’t really speak or walk around. So below are all the details on how I planned my son’s first birthday completely virtually.

My Budget

  • Invitations (digital copy) – $8
  • Invitations (printing costs) – $40
  • Mama bear shirt for Mom(me) – $21
  • Papa bear T-shirt for Dad – $19
  • Bear onesie for Paul (I already had) – $0
  • High Chair “1” banner – $13
  • Woodland decorations for behind high chair – $11
  • Birthday Smash Cake (I made my own) – $0
  • Birthday “1” candle (set of 10) – $12
  • Birthday gifts from Mom & Dad – $240 [yikes!]
  • Thank you cards (digital copy) – $8
  • Thank you cards (printing costs) – $28
  • Party favor / Milestone Magnet (digital copy) – $21
  • Party favor / Milestone Magnet (printing) – $28

That adds up to about $450 in expenses for my son’s birthday party.


I found these cute invitations off of Etsy, from littlebirdieprints. This is a digital copy of the invitation that you can then email to your guests or have them printed, which is what I did. At the time I purchased the digital invitation is was $7.94.

I went ahead and added my Zoom meeting ID to my invitations, but you could also send that to your guests at a later time. I also did not add an “RSVP” section to my invitations as I did not see this necessary as I did not need an official guest head count for anything like food or a venue. I did touch base with everyone we mailed invitations to just to make sure they received the invite itself.

Front View
Back View

Here is the link to the exact invitation digital design I purchased:

Party Decorations

I decided to use our dining room to hold the virtual party, as it was the best place in my house for decorations. I have one big wall that was perfect for the woodland themed decorations, and for my husband, baby, and myself to sit during the party. I went very simple with decor. My theme was woodland animals, which goes along with Paul’s nursery. Below are the decorations I choose.

The woodland themed wall decor & high chair banner were both from Amazon:

Party Outfits

Going with the woodland party theme, I decided to go with a bear theme for the clothes we all wore. Paul already had a bear onesie from Carters, so that was no additional cost. I bought a “mama bear” thin and soft sweatshirt like shirt which I absolutely love. For my husband, who is always hot even in January, I found him a “papa bear” T-shirt on Amazon.

Smash Cake!

There are SOOO many smash cake options out there. From the super healthy to the extremely professional (and expensive). I feel like we opted to go middle of the road, and I made my cake myself. I personally feel like the less fancy of a birthday cake the better, and if you make it yourself its made with love (the best ingredient). I do realize cake making and decorating isn’t for everyone, so this is really just a personal choice.

I also really love the big chunky number candles for kids birthdays, there is something so nostalgic to me about them. I found a box of ten number candles on Amazon (linked below), and you get the numbers “0” – “9”. I hope to use these candles through my son’s 10th birthday, reusing the “1” from this year’s first birthday (awwww).

I made a vlog about how I made Paul’s smash cake:

The birthday candles I used


Okay so here is the deal …. I might have gone overboard, okay I did go overboard, with gifts for Paul. Considering he is a January baby, and Christmas was literally only a month prior to his birthday party. Paul definitely did not need anything, clothes or gifts, for his birthday. He was extremely lucky to receive a ton of amazing gifts from friends, family, and Santa this year for the holidays. ALSO, if you are new to my blog or vlogs, I am a self proclaimed quasi montessori Mom. Most of the theories resonate with me but not all of them, so a majority of Paul’s toys are made of wood, non electronic, and meant to stimulate his ever growing brain through play. I am also a huge fan of both the Kiwi Co Panda crate (STEAM toys & books for babies) and LovEvery box subscriptions. Both companies sell products in addition to their subscription boxes, and that is what I spent nearly $240 on (gulp). Below is what I purchased for Paul:

KiwiCo Magnetic Car Set
Kiwi Co Cell Shape Sorter

During the Virtual Party

So we used Zoom to host our parties, though there are a ton of options out there from Google Hangout, to Facebook, to Facetiming. I used Zoom mostly because I was most familiar with the platform and my sister had a professional account that we used, mostly to ensure we didn’t have a restricted time limit. The whole party itself only lasted us about thirty minutes, and that was about all the attention span the birthday boy had in him. The “schedule” for the party went as follows:

  • Waiting a few minutes for everyone to log on (help troubleshoot any issues your guests might have)
  • Welcome your virtual guests, thank them for “coming” to celebrate your little munchkin’s birthday
  • (what I wish I had done) give a really quick ‘order of events’ to your guests so they know what is happening … ie. opening gifts first and then singing happy birthday. I feel like this is the organized way to do it (?)
  • We opened presents. Which was challenging because naturally Paul wanted to play with every gift, not fully understanding the concept of opening gifts as he is only a year old
  • We brought out Paul’s smash cake, with the number ‘1’ candle lit and all sang “Happy Birthday”
  • Then we watched Paul go at his smash cake, from all angles, until he was bored
  • We thanked everyone for hanging out with us and said our goodbyes

After the Party

For the thank you notes I knew I wanted to go “extra”, and with photo holiday cards in mind I decided to make personalized thank you notes for friends and family using a picture I took of Paul during the party. I also wanted to give guests something as almost a party favor to thank them for attending. Our friends and family are spread out all over the country so baking something to mail with a thank you note would have been too much.

So in looking for thank you notes on Etsy I found a store that not only did woodland themed thank you notes but also something called a milestone digital. I instantly thought the milestone would make an adorable magnet. I purchased the digital copies of both the thank you notes and milestone from the Etsy store ThreeLittleBirdsDsgn. At the time of purchase, the thank you notes and milestone digital rights were about $28 for both. I then had the thank you notes printed to an open card and the milestones printed to magnet sheets, both using

Paul’s Thank you Card
Paul’s Milestone party favor printed on a Magnet sheet

After thoughts …

This was not how I would have imagined my first baby’s first birthday going in my head, BUT considering the times and wanting all to be safe, it was the best option for our family. When life gives you lemons kind of a deal. I will say hosting a virtual party was a LOT less work on my part … there was no venue to book, there was no food to either make or order, there was no power cleaning my home for guests coming over. So in that aspect it was nice to host. But I still would have traded all of the “convenience” to have our family and friends here in person.

Watch my Vlog talking about everything above