Congratulations, you have a baby who is about to turn a year old! This is a major milestone and marks the first transition between babyhood and toddler-ville. With all the firsts you’re documenting, you probably feel even more certain that you need to make your baby’s first birthday the most special day of the year. That date on the calendar is indeed special, but sometimes things don’t go according to plan. The good news is that even if you couldn’t get the cake just right, your child won’t even remember the party anyway. But that just makes us consider what we should be aiming for as moms when planning that all-important birthday celebration. What can moms do to create a birthday that is wonderful in the moment and also fun for your child to learn about when he or she gets older? Read on.

Closest Friends. There’s almost too much emphasis on celebrating birthdays with a big party. Everyone seems to be trying to out-do each other with bigger and better parties every year. It’s totally understandable to want your little girl or boy to have a big party with lots of other kids and parents. But keep things in perspective – at age 1, your child doesn’t really have a lot of “friends.” He or she has a many years to have a party with all the other kids his age. Keep this first one reserved for your closest friends and family. Include the people who have been the most meaningful to you in your first year of parenthood. That will make it an event to remember.

Smash Cake! Smash cakes have stood the test of time for a reason: they’re lots of fun for everyone! Buy one cake for your newly-minted 1 year old to smash and another for the rest of you to eat. Be sure to get plenty of photos and videos of the event. Since your baby won’t remember this first birthday, make it a goal to show him or her the video when they turn five. They will shriek with delight at seeing themselves as a baby, smashing their face into a cake.

Dress-Up. Plan the most fun outfit for your little one to wear to the big day. Maybe it’s a variation on a theme, like a Minion costume or your child’s favorite animated character. Or maybe you could opt to dress him or her up like a little princess or prince. This is one of the last times you will be able to dress your child without their input and opinions (and just wait until they’re teens), so why not live it up and pick out a slamming little outfit?

Create a Guest Book. Years from now, when you and your child are looking back at his childhood, wouldn’t it be great to have a book with messages from everyone who went to his first birthday party? Imagine having such a memento when your daughter graduates from high school. So head to the bookstore and pick up a journal that you can turn into a personalized message book. Ask all of your guests to impart some words of wisdom about growing up. This will make the first birthday the best birthday.