Service Sweet 16

Of all the milestones I was dreading would come for my kids, sixteen was a big one. And she hit it! But her sweet 16 was anything but ordinary. This year in lieu of lot’s of gifts, she chose to do a service sweet 16. Read on to see how we put this incredibly simple sweet 16 birthday party together. 

christmas sweet 16


The idea for a service sweet 16 came about because she was pretty depressed about her Dad not being there for her birthday this year. She had been struggling a lot, and decided instead of being depressed, she wanted to serve. So the idea of a service sweet 16 was born about two days before her birthday. Once we had the idea, it was time to implement an action plan. 

My daughter was really wanting to go out and do some sort of service on her birthday, but she kind of didn’t give me enough notice to book something with an organization, although I spent a lot of time looking for places the whole family and friends could come participate. With the holidays, most places around here are turning away volunteers so I opted to do a project that was a little easier. 

I had a few projects that were laying around the house so I opted to go with the gift of money, time and material goods. Once we got the ideas, we went to Instagram and Facebook to put our ideas to work and spread the news with the short notice.

Money:We have a lot of sweet people in our life who are unable to help bring donations over physically or live too far away so we asked that anyone that wanted to give a donation give it to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation where there is a memorial fund set up in her Dad’s name. We were FLOORED when one of her friends a few minutes after seeing the post donated $50! What a HUGE gift from a high school student. It definetely brought tears to our eyes. 

juvenile diabetes research foundation

Time:  Those who may not have had anything to donate but just wanted to come over and visit were welcome to come over and help make placemats for Meals on Wheels. Each placemat had a handmade note on it. These were leftover from a project I did with my social skills groups last Christmas. 

meals on wheels placemat

Each placemat made also included an ornament and a candy cane so each person getting a delivery also got a little bit of the holidays delivered too. 

Material Goods: Those who wanted to could bring over a bag of clothing, shoes or books to give to Tabitha’s Way. We had a large number of donations on her birthday, and people have continued to bring us clothing donations which has been GREAT! We love having her birthday last more than just a day.


With her sweet 16 falling close to the holidays, we kept the decor simple, low key and Christmas themed. My bench I’m waiting for parts on before I move it to the front door as a shoe and jacket holder served as storage for her few gifts I did get her and a place to hold all the donations people brought in.


Those that brought donations were given cake! I also went very simple on the decor for this one and made sure that it was very traditional.

christmas cakes

I LOVE this tobaggon sled I found at Target. My daughter played with it and broke it, so we opted to use it as a plate and napkin holder.

tobbagan sled

 I had to leave for a little while and when I got back, someone had made sure she labeled all the cakes. 

cake labels

Gluten free, dairy free peppermint chocolate cake:

gluten free dairy free peppermint cake

Eggnog white chocolate cake:

white chocolate eggnog cake

Funfetti cake:

funfetti cake

Triple Chocolate Fudge Cake: 

triple chocolate fudge cake

Chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting:

chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting

Together it was beautiful and the visitors that came loved it. 

The party was very low key. Prior to the guests coming, the kids always get to pick where they want to eat for their birthday. Since she was going to be home part of the time, and gone to a concert for a little bit, we ordered dinner in. Grubhub is my saving grace nowadays.

maglebys fresh

She opted for her favorite, Magelby’s Fresh. 

The breadsticks are amazing. You can try this recipe. It’s close to the same, but not quite. But it will give you an idea of the deliciousness of these breadsticks. You can even use ready made frozen bread dough if you’re in a hurry. 

maglebys breadsticks

WHAT WE LOVED: We loved that people were able to come inside, drop off their donations and visit. It was nice and low key that way. 

WHAT I LOVED: She’s DRIVING!!! And YES!!! I am absolutely 100% milking it. She’s gone to the grocery store twice for me, picked up the kids from places…it has been GREAT! I absolutely love it. I know it’s not going to last so I’m taking advantage of it as long as I possibly can! 

first drivers license

And this dog is available for your events to guard the cakes. She was absolutely 100% pouting the entire night because there was always someone watching her watching the cakes. We know her game. She ‘pretends’ to guard the cakes, and then goes in for samples. 

dog guarding cake

Happy Service Sweet 16!

sweet 16

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