Not your typical Sweet 16

16 gifts for Sweet 16

When you think about a Sweet 16 celebration, most people (including myself) envision a big party atmosphere with fancy decorations, teenagers everywhere. But over the last few years, both our girls have been opting for smaller get togethers with just a couple close friends.  (unlike the parties we used to have when they were in elementary school! Like her 10th birthday where I planned a surprise trip to the Taylor Swift concert with her group of friends (with the help of the other moms. I’ll have to do another post with all the details about that party.)

Anyway, over the past almost 2 years, our world has been very different. Big gatherings just aren’t happening like the used to…yet!  I won’t get into my thoughts on all of it because thats not what this post is about.  This post is simply me wanting to share how we celebrated our sweet Kendall turning 16! I kinda figured there wasn’t gonna be a big celebration but wasn’t gonna let that stop me from making it a memorable birthday!

In late 2020, we did a birthday countdown for my hubby’s 50th birthday. (Again, no big party due to COVID)  Each day he picked a number from a board we had made with a 5 0 on it.  Then he’d open the corresponding gift.  So it was a 50 gifts in 50 days.  We documented the who thing over on TIK TOK Jason’s setup looked like this!  50 gifts was a lot!  But there were some dollar store finds and gag gifts thrown in to keep in within our budget and not go cray cray!!

Sweet 16 Birthday Countdown

As we were trying to figure out what our soon to be 16 year old wanted to do for her 16th birthday…she chose the same thing…a 16th birthday countdown in lieu of a big Sweet 16 celebration!!  So unlike my hubby, Kendall did know that we were doing a birthday countdown for her where she’d be opening a gift a day leading up to her 16th birthday.

Right before we were to start her birthday countdown, we were finally able to get her a car.  It had been the plan for us to use a portion of the money that we had been earning with The Scrunchie Sisters Etsy shop for the girls a car when they turned 16.  But the challenge was finding a used car that wasn’t super over priced – thanks to COVID…the used car market is insane right now.  After missing out on getting two cars, we were finally able to get her a used VW Jetta.  It was one her list of cars she liked!  So it all worked out.

Now onto how the Sweet 16 countdown went down!!


Kendall was anticipating much of the same type of setup!  But with me being a little extra, I of course went over the top on the decor…and lets be honest, this was her Sweet 16 celebration so would you expect anything less? Needless to say when she came home from school on August 3 and saw the set up…she was surprised!

Here’s a brief overview of what everything was!

The biggest surprise was probably the number 16!! I had seen these big numbers trending on Tik Tok and Instagram but had never attempted to make one!  So I went to my favorite place to find stuff…Etsy!  I found these numbers and followed the instructions to make it! Here is the shop I ordered from:   Sydney and I were able to make the letters one night while Kendall was at her bff’s house for a few hours!!

Ironically, the hardest part wasnt making the numbers…it was actually figuring out how to get the right size balloons (order more smaller size balloons 5-7 inch ones than bigger ones) and getting them to stay put inside the numbers.  We tried so many things from glue dots, double sided tape and foam tape…but in the end what worked the best was low heat hot glue.  IMPORTANT: make sure it is a low heat glue gun!   The 16 lasted the whole duration of the 16 days but sometimes we’d have balloons fall out and I’d just have to glue them back in.  I think I’ll be more generous with the glue when I make one of these again!

The next thing was the pictures above the 16!  I wanted to include something I dug through all my school pictures and found these and used double sided tape to stick them to the mirror.  Again, I tried glue dots first…but the double sided tape worked the best.  Side note: I might have made color copies of the pictures if I didn’t have extras because the tape is pretty much stuck to the back of the ones I used.  So they wouldn’t stick together, I just put a piece of paper in between each one as I was taking them off so they wouldn’t stick together!.

And finally, the balloons and gifts! I bought the balloons off Amazon…any balloons will work.  I bought a variety pack. I printed off two sets of numbers 1 – 16 and cut them into squares.  I put a number in each balloon and then blew them up!  I used the balloon arch maker that came in the kit I bought to make the balloon strand.  I bought this one! Then I taped a number on each of the 16 gifts I’d purchased for her!  Each day she would pop one of the balloons and open the corresponding gift!  It was a lot of fun!

By the end of the 16 days, she had received all the things she had wanted to get her car all ready to drive!  You can see each of the gifts she got on my Instagram Reels or via the same TikTok account above!

On her 16th birthday, I took her to get her license (she passed) and its like she instantly grew up!  Its been a weird feeling as a mom to have one of your kids driving for the first time.  The first couple days were hard and I was worried sick. But as each day passes, it gets easier and easier.  But I have a feeling she’s gonna be checking in when she gets places for awhile!

If you have any questions at all on any of this…please don’t hesitate to reach out!