How to Plan an Inspirational Kwanzaa Sweet Sixteen

Kwanzaa is a fun and interactive holiday that is meant to be celebrated with family, loved ones, and anyone in your community. If your birthday falls around this time, its the perfect opportunity to bring your family together and host a Kwanzaa themed party. Consider some DIY projects to go along with your Kwanzaa Sweet Sixteen. Celebrate the tradition Kwanzaa by following these steps:

1) Add some vibrant uplighting to your walls to follow the red, green and black color scheme of your Kwanzaa themed Sweet 16.

John The Photographer

John The Photographer

Pinterest

Pinterest

 

2) Adorn your table with beautiful Kwanzaa inspired centerpieces to add to your colorful Kwanzaa Sweet Sixteen celebration.

Camille Styles - HGTV

Camille Styles – HGTV

**Extra tip: Consider using black spandex chair covers to match the color scheme and add a tidy look to your chairs throughout the Kwanzaa party.

3) Add some DIY crafts to your Kwanzaa Sweet Sixteen and relate it to some of the seven Kwanzaa principles.

Fun Family Crafts

Fun Family Crafts

Fun Family Crafts

Fun Family Crafts

 

Having Kwanzaa themed games is an entertaining way to bring everyone together to learn more about the history and purpose of Kwanzaa.

Pinterest - Etsy

Pinterest – Etsy

 

4) When the games are over, light a candle on your kinara (candleholder) to tie all of your activities together and to discuss Kwanzaa principles.

Akron - Metrocreative Connection

Akron – Metrocreative Connection

Inspire your guests with the rich and beautiful tradition of Kwanzaa. Each of the seven days of Kwanzaa is dedicated to one of the following principles:

  • Umoja (Unity): To strive for and to maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.
  • Kujichagulia (Self-Determination): To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves.
  • Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility): To build and maintain our community together and make our brothers’ and sisters’ problems our problems, and to solve them together.
  • Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics): To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.
  • Nia (Purpose): To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.
  • Kuumba (Creativity): To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.
  • Imani (Faith): To believe with all our hearts in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.

Inspiration and Ideas for an Amazing Christmas Sweet 16

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! (Especially if you are a Christmas baby) Share the joy of the season on your birthday! No matter the size of your holiday party, make this Christmas Sweet Sixteen spectacular.  Celebrate the most joyous time of year by following these easy steps:

1. Deck your halls with boughs of holly – literally!

The Wild Geese . Irish

The Wild Geese . Irish

As one of the most festive and meaningful holiday decorations, holly will add the perfect seasonal touch to your Christmas Sweet 16 party. The beautiful green leaves and red berries will encompass the Christmas spirit in all your guests.

2. Add beautiful touches of red, green or blue uplighting to wash the walls of your Christmas Sweet Sixteen event in color.

Red uplighting adds a delicate touch of elegance to any venue.

Pinterest

Pinterest

Blue and green uplighting are the perfect cool tones for your Christmas holiday Sweet 16 party.

Cater Source Arising Images

Cater Source Arising Images

WeddingWire

WeddingWire

3. Add a customized holiday themed gobo to your Christmas Sweet Sixteen.

Pinterest

Pinterest

Flickr

Flickr

Monogram lighting, also known as gobos, put any custom text or image in lights. his is the perfect opportunity to personalize your Christmas quince by putting the princess’s name in lights. Happy birthday to the queen of the party!

4. Spoil your sweet sixteen guests with some tasty holiday treats.

Real House Moms

Real House Moms

Give your guests a warm, feel-good drink for the cooler winter days. Follow these easy steps to create a slow cooker candy cane white hot chocolate for your Christmas event.

Author: Sarah Olson

Serves: about 8 1/2 cups

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 gallon whole milk (8 cups)
  • 2 (4-oz.) pkgs Ghiridelli white chocolate baking bars, broken up into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup crushed candy canes or starlight candies
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • whipped cream for serving (I use Reddi-Whip)
  • more crushed candy canes for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Add the milk, broken up white chocolate, crushed candy canes, and vanilla to a 5-quart or larger slow cooker.
  2. Cover, and cook on HIGH for 1.5 hours (stirring every 15 minutes).
  3. Serve topped with whipped cream and topped with crushed candy canes for garnish.

5. Complete your Christmas sweet 16 celebration with an interactive and fun gift exchange.

A Moms Take

A Mom’s Take

Even though its YOUR birthday, this birthday bash will still be a great opportunity to give your loved ones their Christmas gift as well. Consider a new take on the traditional holiday gift giving with a new and unique gift exchange game that all your family and friends will enjoy.

 Roll For It – Start 1-3 dice around the room, depending on the number of guests. Each player rolls once, and then passes the dice. If they roll a 6, they get to pick a gift from the center pile, or they can choose to “steal” a gift from someone already holding one. The person who was stolen from can select a new gift from the center. This game continues until the last gift has been picked up from the center.

 Right / Left – Read a classic Christmas story, such as “The Night Before Christmas”. Select two keywords that appear frequently in the story. Let all the guests know that one word means pass your gift to the right while the other word when spoken means to pass your gift to the left. Read through the story until the end, and then let all the guests open the present they ended up with.

 Hot Potato – Have all the guests form a circle and start with a 30-second countdown timer. Start passing one or two unwrapped gifts, depending on the size of the group. Whoever ends up holding the gift with the timer dings keeps that gift and is out of the game until everyone ends up with a gift.

 Musical Chairs – Set a present on each seat around the room and play a favorite Christmas song. Have all the guests circle around the room until the music ends. They can then open the gift at the seat they stopped at.

 Truth Be Told – Make a set of 10-20 “If you are a…” or “If you have ever…” sayings. Pull one of the slips at random and read it aloud. Any guest that fits the description has to get up, leaving the gift at their spot, and switch places with someone else who also fit the description. You can include things like: grandparent, blond, teacher, female, visited another country, gone on a blind date, rode on a motorcycle, etc. Continue through all of the slips until the last one has been read, then have everyone open their gifts.

 

Inspiration and Ideas for a Hanukkah Sweet Sixteen

Also known as “the Festival of Lights”, Hanukkah is filled with traditions meant to commemorate important events in Jewish history. If your coming on age celebration falls during this very special occasion, a Chanukah themed sweet sixteen should be perfect for you. Host the perfect Hanukkah Sweet 16 and celebrate the glorious eight days and nights of Hanukkah with these eight steps:

1) Add a festive gobo to your Hanukkah Sweet Sixteen celebration to light up your ceremony along side the traditional menorah.

Rent My Wedding

Rent My Wedding

A white textured patterned gobo adds elegance to your walls at your Chanukah Sweet 16. You can easily customize the design to be any pattern or personalized text you choose. Shine it on the wall behind the menorah; its sure to impress your family and friends during the candle lighting.

2) Using blue uplights can add a radiant effect to your Sweet Sixteen and complement your gobo design.

pinterest blue uplighting 2

Pinterest

pinterest blue uplighting

Pinterest

Uplighting and gobos are a perfect match and so easy to set up. Create a wow effect at your Hanukkah Sweet Sixteen by covering every inch of the walls in blue and white color; this effect is called color washing.

3) Pay homage to the 8 nights of Chanukah with a starry night light effect.

Pinterest

Pinterest

The starry night light will be a beautiful accent to your Hanukkah Sweet 16. Blisslights will keep the ambiance of a beautiful night sky to help memorialize the tradition of a dimly lit Hanukkah.

Pinterest

Pinterest

4) Sometimes, less is more – add a solid color table cloth to your banquet to help your head table stand out for the lighting of the menorah.

mazelmoments

Mazel Moments

With all the colorful decor for the head table, a solid colored table cloth will complement perfectly the menorah and any Hanukkah themed decorations that your head table is adorned with.

Mazel Moments

Mazel Moments

5) Give your Sweet Sixteen a modern look by adding white spandex chair covers to complement your Hanukkah color scheme.

DH Gate

DH Gate

Rent My Wedding

Rent My Wedding

Spandex chair covers will stay tidy throughout the night and add the perfect touch of elegance to any Chanukah birthday party.

6) Prepare some Hanukkah themed party favors for your Sweet 16 guests to enjoy.

Better Home and Gardens

Better Home and Gardens

Cute dreidel inspired candy boxes are the perfect idea for a Hanukkah themed Sweet Sixteen. These easily customizable dreidel party favors can even be made by hand: http://www.bhg.com/holidays/hanukkah/crafts/dreidel-gift-box/

7) Bring your party guests together by giving them the option to play a few Hanukkah games.

Net Places

Net Places

Spinning the dreidel is the perfect traditional Hanukkah activity for your birthday guests to enjoy during your Hanukkah Sweet Sixteen.

Taste of Home

Taste of Home

8) Finish off the night by giving your friends and family traditional Hanukkah dishes.

Once Upon A Chef

Once Upon A Chef

Follow these simple steps to create potato latkes that your guests will enjoy:

Servings: Makes 18 latkes

Total Time: 40 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds russet potatoes (2-3)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled (about the size of a baseball)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 scant teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • Equipment: 2 heavy non-stick rimmed baking sheets*

Instructions

  1. Set oven racks in center preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Peel the potatoes, then coarsely grate them with the onion together in food processor or by hand using a box grater. Place potato mixture in a fine sieve and press down firmly with paper towel to remove excess moisture. Stir and repeat a few times with fresh paper towels until liquid is mostly drained. Transfer potato mixture to bowl and mix in eggs, salt, baking powder and flour.
  3. Fill two heavy non-stick rimmed baking sheets with 1/2 cup oil each. Place pans in oven for 10 minutes to heat the oil. Wearing oven mitts, carefully remove pans from oven. Drop batter by the 1/4-cupful onto baking sheets, spacing about 1-1/2 inches apart. Using the bottom of the measuring cup or a spoon, press down on pancakes to flatten just slightly. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until bottoms are crisp and golden. Carefully remove pans from oven and flip latkes (tongs are the best tool as a spatula may cause oil to splatter). Place pans back in oven and cook until latkes are crisp and golden brown all over, about 10 minutes more. Remove pans from oven and transfer latkes to large platter lined with paper towels. Serve immediately with sour cream or apple sauce, if desired.

*It is very important to use non-stick baking sheets so the latkes don’t stick.

How to Host the Perfect Thanksgiving Day Sweet Sixteen

Thanksgiving is a fun-filled holiday that everyone can enjoy. If you’re lucky enough to celebrate your birthday on Thanksgiving, hosting a Fall banquet may be right for you! Celebrate one of the most family friendly holidays of the year by inviting loved ones to a Thanksgiving themed Sweet Sixteen dinner with interactive holiday activities for every age. Make this Thanksgiving sweet 16 one to remember with these easy steps:

1) Add some yellow uplighting along the walls to give your Thanksgiving sweet sixteen a homey rustic feel.

Pinterest

Pinterest

Yellow uplighting is easy to set up and adds pizzazz to any Thanksgiving sweet 16. Amber colored table settings along with leaf patterned textured lighting will inspire your guests for the Autumn season.

The Knot

The Knot

2) Adding some interactive games before and after the big feast is a great way to include everyone into this family friendly Thanksgiving Day Sweet Sixteen.

Crazy Little Projects

Crazy Little Projects

Thanksgiving themed bingo is a fun spin on a classic favorite game that will keep your birthday guests entertained. Easily print Thanksgiving bingo cards online and offer some fun prizes for your guests to win. Extra tip: use candy as the bingo card markers for a sweet treat that makes everyone a winner.

3) Add these fun DIY Thanksgiving party favors all your guests can enjoy.

cleanandsensible

cleanandsensible.com

These cute do-it-yourself turkey shaped party favors are the perfect sweet treat to have for your Thanksgiving event. Using candies in traditional Fall colors and yellow and red pipe cleaners, you can have your guests create them at your Thanksgiving sweet 16 banquet themselves! Or have these ready made for your guests to enjoy as keepsakes.

3) Of course a Thanksgiving Day sweet sixteen wouldn’t be complete without the food! Make sure to add a few Thanksgiving inspired dishes for all your loved ones to enjoy.

Mashed Potatoes Recipe

cookingchanneltv.com

With just 5 easy to find ingredients, you can make a delicious mashed potato Thanksgiving banquet side dish that will impress all your sweet 16 guests. Follow these simple steps to get this mashed potato recipe just right.

4) When the feast and games have ended, take some time to capture the moment in a photo booth complete with fun Thanksgiving themed props.

sparkbooth

Spark Booth

Incorporate Thanksgiving themed photo booth props for your guests. Make sure to add a fun backdrop or a custom message on the drapes to match with the Thanksgiving sweet 16 theme.

Ideas for a Halloween Themed Sweet Sixteen

If you have a taste for horror, gore, and every spine-tingling thing that crosses your mind, hosting a Halloween Themed Sweet Sixteen might be perfect for you! Celebrate the most fun month of the year with a haunted house sweet 16 party. Some say Halloween is the darkest night of the year; light it up with these easy steps:

1) Textured lighting can project ghostly patterns, spider webs, and more onto the floor, ceiling, and walls of your Halloween Themed Sweet Sixteen

Christian Grattan Photography

Christian Grattan Photography

Pinterest

Pinterest

The scariest Halloween party of the year isn’t complete without ghosts flying in from the windows or creepy spider webs on the floor.  Set up is easy to create an amazing look to impress your guests. Simply place the gobo, that comes preset with the design of your choice on a tabletop and aim at the surface you’d like your Halloween design to shine on.

blumingcreativity

2) Don’t forget to bring out the werewolves in your costume party with a realistic LED Moon.

Rent My Wedding

Rent My Wedding

Starry Night Lighting will create the perfect eerie night effect with thousands of slowly moving star beams and a blue nebula. Complete your realistic night sky with an LED Moon that will add that perfectly spooky effect to your Halloween Themed Sweet Sixteen.

3) Get all the skeletons dancing in the glow of a black light!

Toledo-Bend

Toledo-Bend

Black lights are the perfect addition for a spooky haunted house sweet 16. Add glow-in-the-dark decorations and neon florescent skeletons to take the black light effect to the max! Guests will love the neon bar that glows under the Black Light. Add Halloween decorations to keep with that spooky theme.

4) Orange….orange lighting everywhere!

Shaharazran Photography

Shaharazran Photography

Nothing screams Halloween  like the unofficial color of the Fall season = orange. Jack-O-Lanterns shouldn’t be the only thing adding a little orange flare to your Halloween Sweet Sixteen. You can easily add bursts of color to your walls using uplighting. Orange uplighting is perfect to make your guests feel like they are in a true Halloween themed Sweet 16.

Pinterest

Pinterest

Pair the orange uplighting with black chair covers to complete the Halloween look.

Pinterest

Pinterest

Or add a touch of slimy green uplights to some creepy looking tree branch party decorations.

Rent My Wedding

Rent My Wedding

Even create ghosts inside your haunted tables with ghostly white table glow. Simply place a wireless uplight under your sweet 16 guest’s table and tilt the light towards the linens. Use white tablecloths for the best results.

Happy Halloween!

Photo via:

Pam Scott Photo

Sweet 16 Trend Alert! DIY PIPE & DRAPE BACKDROPS

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Its easy to get excited about new Do-It-Yourself Pipe & Drape Backdrops! The latest trend for Sweet Sixteen Parties is pipe and drape. Drapery adds elegance to any kind of event and with the option to set them up yourself, you can stay on a budget while creating a beautiful look for any size venue. If the walls of a room are dull, adding pipe & drape will convert the room into an alluring venue. This affordable option for is the first of its kind to provide DIY setup and nationwide rental options.  You can now transform any sweet 16 from drab to fab in a matter of minutes.  This versatile and convenient system makes it the perfect choice for cake tables, head tables, trade show booths, or even an entire room.

The best part about it is that there is no need to hire professional setup staff because set up can easily be done by a first-time host, planner, parents, etc.  DIY Pipe & Drape Backdrops make event decor and setup possible for anyone.

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Our featured vendor: Rent My Wedding, a nationwide event rental company, just launched their new DIY Pipe and Drape rentals! They will be offering a variety of options to completely transform your sweet sixteen into the event of a lifetime. Product highlights for their Pipe and Drape rentals include:

  • no experience required
  • adjustable width & height
  • light weight and sturdy
  • affordable price
  • free shipping nationwide

The pipe and drape backdrop kits are available for rent nationwide, starting at a price of $89 per kit with free shipping both ways.  Each kit includes a frame and drapes to create a backdrop that measures 12 feet wide by 10 feet high.  The pipe & drape kits can also be used to create wedding canopies, chuppahs, photobooth enclosures, and more.  For more details, visit www.RentMyWedding.com/Backdrop-Rentals or call 1-800-465-8020.

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Fire and Ice Themed Sweet 16

A lavish Fire and Ice Themed Sweet Sixteen is beyond stunning! It surely brings imagination into life. Every young lady that celebrates a grand ceremony like this will definitely dream of having a Sweet 16 just as breathtaking! Here is how you can create the 16th birthday party of a lifetime:

1) A special lounge area with beautiful uplighting creates an icy ambiance.

Lasting Memories Photography

Lasting Memories Photography

Guest will love to “chill” at a specially designated lounge area. Separate a section of the venue using pipe and drape, add a few cocktail tables and chairs, and welcome your guests to a most enjoyable night. Add an even icier effect with white, plum, and blue uplighting.

2) Perfect for a fire and ice themed sweet 16, fire effect lighting creates a dramatic effect across the ceiling.

Fire-Effect-Lighting

Burn the house the down, not literally, with a realistic fire effect lighting. With the easy set up of just aiming it at the center of the ceiling over the dance floor, a fire effect light will simulate flickering flames without “melting away” all other beautiful icy decorations.

3) Spectacular centerpieces of white manzanilla branches covered in icicles will look spectacular for this Fire and Ice Themed Sweet Sixteen

Lasting Memories Photography

Lasting Memories Photography

Centerpieces as gorgeous as this will attract attention from all your guests. By highlighting the bright white branches and brilliant ice crystals with centerpiece spotlights, your tables will look fit for an ice palace celebration. Contrast with a cool purple hue for the uplights lining the walls.

4) A gorgeous three-tiered cake with intricate details makes this sweet sixteen bash truly special.

Lasting Memories Photography

Lasting Memories Photography

Fire, ice, and everything nice has to include some sweetness in the mix. A beautiful fire and ice themed cake will be the center of attention of any desert table. Tie in the ice palace theme with delicate icicles on white fondant.

5) Heat things up with live fire and ice performers.

Lasting Memories Photography

Lasting Memories Photography

To really wow your guests, a fire and ice performance offers an entertaining show for your sweet 16. With their perfectly choreographed dancing and theatrical show, these fire and ice dancers will ignite the night up.

6) Add a memorable personal touch with monogram lighting.

Bat Mitzvah Gobo

Since a Sweet 16 should be all about the princess of the party, adding a custom gobo is the perfect personal touch. Shine the special girl’s name in lights against the head table or shine a snowflake pattern on the dance floor. Gobos are easy to set up and look amazing as part of this Fire and Ice Themed Sweet 16!