How to Throw a Gluten-Free First Birthday Party in Winter

Some mamas would start this post by saying they can’t believe how fast the first year went and they can’t believe their baby is already one. Yes, I feel that way, too, but I’ll save you the schmaltz.

Except for this. Just look!

gluten-free-winter-first-birthday

This post is about how we celebrated our baby’s first birthday just a few days before Christmas without it feeling like an extension of the winter holiday season.

The party was held in Tiny Apartment Land during the lunch hour on a cold December day, so the food had to be warm, filling, and easy to eat. And gluten-free.

The decorations needed to be reusable. As little waste as possible, please. And not wintry or Christmasy. So down came the snowflakes and stockings.

On my first trip to the party store, I found my inspiration: these cheery cupcake liners with polka dots in robin’s egg blue, apple green, golden yellow, and pumpkin orange.

gluten-free-winter-first-birthday

Armed with a distinct color story, I felt like maybe I could pull off a non-Christmasy party three days before Christmas.

Decorations
A special new wreath on the front door featuring felt flowers in the party’s colors. (It’s the same base I’m using now for the Valentine’s Day wreath. I wrapped a straw wreath in super fuzzy white yarn and made felt rosettes to match the party’s color story.)

gluten-free-winter-first-birthday

A special book for guests to sign (Dr. Seuss’s Happy Birthday to You!). We are a bookish sort of family, so what better way to commemorate the first anniversary of our little bookworm’s hatching?

Paper lanterns & robin’s egg blue tableware (disposable, sadly) – but the lanterns were later repurposed to nursery decor.

gluten-free-winter-first-birthday

gluten-free-winter-first-birthday-tableware

Name bunting above the birthday girl’s high chair. (I Photoshopped out her name here, for privacy, but you can see the colors that each letter came in.)

gluten-free-winter-first-birthday-bunting

Cupcake toppers featuring the birthday’s girl mugshot.

gluten-free-winter-first-birthday-cupcakes

The menu
Sauceless Swedish meatballs (made with gluten-free bread crumbs).

A variety of roll-ups (black beans with roasted red pepper hummus, ham with brie, and turkey with guacamole) all on gluten-free tortillas.

Fresh fruit and veggie trays.

Corn tortilla chips with salsa.

Cupcakes (made with Bob’s Red Mill vanilla cake mix) with buttercream frosting. Yes, even the Bambina got to eat one. She later threw most of it back up. After months of breastmilk spit-up, I had happily forgotten what real barf smelled like. I’ll take sour milk anyday.

gluten-free-winter-first-birthday-menu

Keeping it waste-less (not quite waste-free)
The invitations were sent via email.

The paper lanterns, bunting, and flowers on the wreath became nursery decorations. (Is it called a nursery when the little girl who sleeps there isn’t technically a baby anymore? She is still nursing, but we do that all over the place…)

Leftover food was shared at the very-extended-family Christmas dinner the next day and unopened packages of the disposable tableware were returned to the store.

Happy birthday, baby girl!

We take our cake very seriously around here.

gluten-free-winter-first-birthday-serious

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