From parallel parking to prom: Celebrating your teen’s big moments

A teenage boy sits smiling at a kitchen table behind an iced birthday cake with a lit

For the parent of a teen, no moment is too small to celebrate. There’s just so much during these years to get excited about—their sweet 16, prom, getting their driver’s license (and no longer having to be their personal chauffeur). Above all is the beauty of watching them blossom into someone ready to take on the world in their own way. 

But while you have the benefit of experience and hindsight, for them it’s a time that can feel overwhelming and confusing (because what else is being a teenager?), and celebrating them on important days can be reassuring. So to help you support them at every step of the journey, we’ve got some fun party ideas using our new Celebrate! collections to make any teen milestone more memorable. 

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Looking to celebrate a specific teen moment? Jump right to our ideas using the links below.

Celebrate your way  

Make every scrapbook-worthy moment snapshot-ready using our new Celebrate! partyware collections. With a range of colors and patterns, you can mix and match for fun or create a look that matches your party theme.

Collections include:

  • Gilded Garden Party: elegant and sophisticated with a mix of deep green hues, mint, ivory and gold for a modern approach to an elevated gathering
  • Sunny Cheer Birthday: festive patterns perfect for mixing and matching
  • Mod Graphics: bold and trendy staples that pair perfectly with a rainbow of colors
  • Butterflies and Blooms: full of pink hues and floral patterns, this line creates an ethereal vibe fit for garden parties or ladies’ nights
  • Blue and White Watercolor: a mix of blue and white floral watercolors gives a feel of casual elegance


We also used party supplies from our Color Pop line, a collaboration between Hallmark and Crayola full of bold, bright hues for celebrating colorfully.

  • Basic Kit: Get started with service for 12: dinner and dessert plates, napkins, cups and utensils (forks, spoons and knives). 
  • Premium Kit: Take your look to the next level with 12 napkins and 12 specially shaped plates with foil accents, 12 paper straws and 12 place cards.
  • Decor Kit: Push your party over the top with a table runner, paper fans, oversize confetti and a customizable banner.

Sweet 16 party  

A teenage boy sits at a kitchen table, looking down and smiling at an iced birthday cake with a lit

When it comes to moments that define being a teenager, it’s hard to choose one more iconic than turning 16. And with this festive cake party, you’ll make their sweet 16 what birthday wishes are made of. 

No birthday is complete without some cake, so why not make it the main attraction (besides the newly 16-year-old, of course). To create this vibrant look, we used pieces from the Sunny Cheer Birthday Party Essentials set. Grab enough plates, napkins and utensils for all your guests and get ready for pics that’ll brighten any Instagram feed. 

Pro tip: If you want to really lean in to the sentimental feels, consider getting a birthday book for guests to fill out. They can add words of wisdom, funny stories from their own 16th birthday or just kind messages for your teen to look back on. And don’t forget sweet 16 birthday cards to celebrate them, too! 

First job  

Getting your first job in high school is basically the rite of passage into (almost) adulthood. It can be an exciting time full of independence, exploration and finally having your own, non-allowance money. However, it can also introduce newfound responsibilities and pressures your teen isn’t quite used to. That’s why boosting their confidence and showing how proud you are of their new employment status is so important. 

 You can easily create a festive setup to surprise them on their first day of work using items from any of the Celebrate! collections. We love the idea of having their favorite breakfast waiting on the kitchen table or a special dinner planned for when they get home. And with just a few touches like a “Congrats!” banner or colorful table setting, you can plus up any meal. 

 For some extra support, slip an encouragement card into their lunch or bag—they might need a pick-me-up during their big day! 

New driver  

A downshot of a

Your teen getting their driver’s license or first car can be bittersweet. On one hand, you don’t have to worry (as much) about giving them rides to their friend’s house and soccer practice and the movies and allll the other places on their social calendar. Plus, they can start helping with errands like picking up a younger sibling from school or making that last-minute grocery store run for you—hooray! 

On the other hand, having their license or a car means telling them a million times a day to wear their seatbelt, check their mirrors and WATCH.THE.ROAD. Still, it’s a big deal and something worth celebrating! So to wish them luck the morning of the test (and give a not-so-subtle safety reminder), we used a banner from the Sunny Cheer collection and added fun pieces for a family breakfast celebration in their honor. 

Other fun ways to make them feel special and confident behind the wheel might include:

  • Buying them a new keychain or ID case. 
  • Making them a playlist of songs perfect for cruising around town and singing their heart out. 
  • Gifting them gas money. They need funds to fill up the tank, and you can make it extra fun with these creative ways to give cash.
  • Getting them a special photo frame ornament like this one made just for new drivers.  

Senior trip  

For high-school seniors, a senior class trip is one of the most memorable, “something we’ll tell our kids about” moments they’ll experience before graduating.

Make it even more special by waking them up to a festive message using a banner. You can also grab a few items from any of the Celebrate! collections to make breakfast a little more festive and get the fun started the morning of their trip.  

Need message inspo? We’ve got you covered!

  • Today’s the day
  • Take pics
  • Senior szn
  • Have fun

Gift idea: If you want to treat them to an early graduation present, a scrapbook and digital or Polaroid camera before the big trip is perfect! 

Casting congrats  

If your teen is into the theater scene, scoring a role in the school play or musical is a major feat. Make them center stage and shower them with love by hosting a special get-together in their honor. 

You can invite some of their other castmates, friends or family who want to celebrate them. For a vibe that feels casual, elevated and theatrical, the Mod Graphics collection is our pick. 

Pro tip: For an over-the-top congrats (because something tells us they live for the dramatics), surprise them with a card shower! 


The day of the party, have guests fill out congratulations cards. Then, when the moment feels right (this could be the next morning, a day when they seem down, the night of the show—you decide), show them off and make your teen smile. 

Last performance  

Two downshots of a table set up to celebrate a the completion of a high school performance; on the table top are Celebrate! plates in different shades of light orange and pink with a star pattern, as well as flowers, salty snack foods like cheese puff balls and open cans of soda with paper straws inserted in them.

Watching your teen follow their dreams and passions is a beautiful thing *cue teary eyes*. That’s why the last concert or sports game of the season feels so sentimental and special. So when you’re done drying your eyes, acknowledge all their hard work with a little party! 

You can host their fellow teammates/castmates, include all their favorite snacks and set up a station for taking the cutest instant photos. To create a vibrant party setup and a backdrop for scrapbook-worthy pics, we got creative with this Color Pop party kit and some pieces from the Sunny Cheer collection.

If the activity you’re celebrating is one they’ve been doing forever, this is also a perfect time to pull out old photos, reminisce and be proud of how far they’ve come! Plus, let’s be honest—adorable baby pictures make any moment better.

Pro tip: Flowers are always a popular gift for big events, so we came up with these fun ways to wrap them and add a little pizzazz. 

Prom send-off  

Limos, corsages, awkward dancing—did someone say prom? If your teen is prepping for a night of burning up the dance floor soon, a prom send-off is a fun way to join in. 

To craft a mood that’s sophisticated and elegant, we recommend using the Gilded Garden Party, Mod Graphics or Blue and White Watercolor collections. You can definitely add in pops of color where needed, too, by mixing in pieces from a Color Pop party kit. Once the scene is set and feeling flawless, take allll the pictures—we guarantee that even the folks who can’t make the party will be begging to see them later!

Pro tip: If you want a light snack for guests and the prom-goers, we recommend lots of non-messy finger foods (don’t want to ruin any suits or dresses!) Think cheese and cracker spreads or anything you can stick a toothpick in. 

College acceptance  

A college acceptance party table set with Celebrate! dinner plates in shades of red and blue with pizza and salad being served; next to this is a downshot of the table with a piece of cherry pie on a blue hexagonal dessert plate, with a gift bag stuffed with a college sweatshirt lying nearby.

Helping your teen find the perfect college consists of many hours of research, campus visits, filling out applications, sending in paperwork—in other words, it’s a long journey! So when they finally find the right fit, it marks the start of a beautiful new adventure for them and a joyous moment for the whole family to share in. 

 One way to commemorate the beginning of their new chapter is by hosting an intimate family dinner. For a look that feels fresh and exciting, we mixed pieces from the Mod Graphics, Blue and White Watercolor and Sunny Cheer collections, plus this Color Pop party kit. 

 You can also help them walk campus in style with merch from their new university, like a sweatshirt they’ll definitely appreciate during late night study sessions. Don’t forget to share some encouragement cards to remind them how proud you are, too.  

College send-off  

The momentous day has finally arrived—they’re leaving for college! But before they hit campus, make sure you send them off in style with a party all for them.  

For this special occasion, you can get super creative with colors and patterns. Our easy go-to would be decking out the scene in their university’s colors with Color Pop party kits and showing some school pride. 

Other ways to commemorate the day might include: 

  • Creating a video montage. On the list of things that can make anyone cry, seeing someone you love leave for college and step into adulthood is pretty high. Make a video compilation of your teen through the years that ends with them heading off to college, and we bet there won’t be a dry eye there!
  • Checking items off their dorm checklist. You’ll probably stock up on tons of stuff once they get to campus, but it doesn’t hurt to ask guests to bring what they consider college essentials. You can send out a registry beforehand, or make it really fun and just ask folks to bring something wacky or random for the new freshman. 
  • Having a graduation card shower. Because when you’re feeling homesick and need some encouragement, uplifting words from your favorite people can mean everything. 
  • ]Making them a care package. Favorite snacks, gift cards, cute mini cards, books—stuff it full of things they love! 

Pro tip: Need help with the menu? Check out these festive (and delicious) graduation-themed recipes!

We hope these ideas have you feeling warm, fuzzy and ready to celebrate your teen with love.  

We have more party ideas and inspiration for all things teen-related right here: