You guys must live in some backwards places! Around here, 1st birthdays are HUGE as well as 1st Christmas, etc. We had family from both sides, friends, some long time family friends at DS's 1st birthday. i don't know what to suggest as far as other stuff though. We just had adults and one other baby at our party, so they played with the toys and gifts once they were opened. We just grilled out and had cake/ice cream. It was just a big fun social thing.
I actually toned it down quite a bit for the second one.
My husband is like " he isnt going to remember anything. And I told him " yeah but he is only going To have one first birthday".