Dohl Celebration!

{ traditional korean rice cake }
We celebrated Nathan's one-year birthday on September 26.  In Korean tradition, the one-year birthday (called "dohl") is a big celebratory event because long ago, many children didn't make it to their first birthday. 

It seems like the current trend is to throw incredibly elaborate dohls which could easily end up costing a couple grand (if not more).  I always thought this was absurd considering the baby wouldn't even remember the birthday!  But tradition is important and every birthday is worth celebrating, so we have been elaborate while trying to keep the costs affordable.  For CJ and Nathan's dohl, we incorporated the traditional elements such as the hanbok (Korean outfit), duk (rice cake), dohljabi (selecting an item to foretell future), and colorful decorations.

Since we were working within a tight budget, we hosted a small, intimate party for Nathan at our home and invited family and our church growth group.  To be even more economical, I had to be creative with the decorations.  I think the end results came out nicely.  So here are some ideas for those working on a budget.

{ We placed the main decorations in front of our fireplace.  The hanging tissue fans were bought at a really great price from Devra Party.  Cutting the fans into various sizes and hanging them was probably the most time consuming part of decorating but so worth it.  I simply printed out the "Happy Birthday" letters on white cardstock paper, cut them out, and then taped them onto the fans.  We ordered the food and rice cake from caterers in Palisade Park; they also supplied the plastic fruit display for free.  The dohljabi items (bottom center) were gathered from around the house. }
{ For the dohljabi game (where you guess which item Nathan will choose), I simply printed out photos of the different items and placed them on the kids' easel (courtesy of Ikea).  Then I glued the same photos on little brown bags from AC Moore.  Guests wrote their names on little sheets of paper and dropped it into the bags.  The hanbok was ordered from ebay, but you could just as easily rent one or borrow from family or friends. }

{ These decorations were placed on a table near a different wall of the living room.  In the upper lefthand corner are the small favors for the children (decorated with colorful ribbon).  I found these simple and adorable mini pinball games at Michael's in their clearance section for $.49/each.  The train piece (upper righthand corner) came from Michael's as well.  You can purchase the cd case, train decal, wheels, and frames separately.  The photo frames come painted, so I just had to handpaint the train and wheels with acrylic paint.  I then put in flower pots and inserted these colorful pinwheels from Pier 1 Imports (set of 16 for $2).  The white photo tree (bottom center) was also a fabulous Pier 1 Import find (in the clearance section for $7).  And the cute 1st birthday photo frame (bottom left) was a gift from our cousins. }

{ And here's our sweet birthday boy!  He was rather uncomfortable in the hanbok so it was hard to get a good photo of him.  But he had a great time especially when it was time to eat cake!  Instead of purchasing a cake, I decided to bake cupcakes instead.  These were super easy to make and piping the swirls on top was really simple.  Here's a great website for learning how to pipe swirls and great cake ideas in general. }

It did take a lot of work and preparation (lucky for me I was no longer working full-time as of September 1).  It was a splendid affair for our little guy and didn't cost a huge fortune.    


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