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37 Sweet 16 Gift Ideas That Don’t Involve Keys

It happens once in a lifetime: the Sweet 16. The ceremonies that mark the transformation of a girl into a young woman vary from culture to culture, from elaborate Quincenearas to debutante balls to candle ceremonies to Daddy-daughter dances. In America, it’s often marked with the gift of a car—this gift list contains all the best Sweet 16 gift ideas that aren’t cars.

A girl’s 16th birthday is a special time, and you don’t have to get her a car to make it epic. With this list of Sweet 16 gifts I was able to get my sister a really meaningful gift with no down payment needed.

The Book of Awesome Women

The Book of Awesome Women

At 16, she’ll know her own mind, but might feel constricted by what society expects of her. Show her that it’s okay to buck the trend with ‘The Book of Awesome Women’. Detailing 200 women who broke the boundaries and blazed a trail, it will inspire her to follow her dreams.

BUY FROM AMAZON.COM

Photo Clips Lights

Photo Clips Lights

Forget photo frames with straight edges and neat corners and give her a different way to display her memories with these Photo Clip Lights. They can be draped, shaped, and hung across the wall, with each pretty light illuminating a clip to hold a photo, ticket stub, or postcard etc.

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16 Year Old Coloring Book

16 Year Old Coloring Book

Being 16 can be stressful and full of teenage angst. Give her a way to work off her tension with the #16 Year Old Coloring Book. Full of funny, snarky pages for her to color in, this book is a great way for her to flex her creative muscles while also easing the stress.

BUY FROM AMAZON.COM

Call Your Mom Keychain

Call Your Mom Keychain

If she’s thinking about learning to drive, this keychain will be the perfect reminder to do all the things you, as her mother, always tell her to do; have fun, be safe, and make good choices. There’s one additional request on this fob though – to call her mom!

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Photo Coaster Resin Craft Kit

Photo Coaster Resin Craft Kit

If she likes arts and crafts, this kit will allow her to try a medium she might never have tried before – resin. The clear resin will allow her to set her favorite photographs onto a pair of wooden coasters, which she can then keep as mementos or give to a friend as a gift.

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Hear My Voice Charm Necklace

Hear My Voice Charm Necklace

Sweet 16 gifts should reflect the importance of this exciting milestone, and this necklace will definitely make a statement. The ideal gift for feisty girls, this necklace comes with a fist of resistance charm, a megaphone to represent her voice, and the female symbol to embody the sisterhood and all it means.

BUY FROM UNCOMMONGOODS.COM

Dear Daughter Necklace

Dear Daughter Necklace

She’ll always carry your love and support with her when she has this touching necklace to wear. Made from sterling silver, it is inscribed with a beautiful reminder to her to always remember your love, even when you can no longer remind her of it yourself.

BUY FROM UNCOMMONGOODS.COM

Starry Sky Lantern

Starry Sky Lantern

Give her a subtle reminder that she really can reach for the stars with this stunning Starry Sky Lantern. Handmade from porcelain, this lantern stands at 10” high, and features a myriad of tiny holes that, once the lamp is switched on, will produce a galaxy of stars in the room.

BUY FROM UNCOMMONGOODS.COM

Birthstone Wishing Balls

Birthstone Wishing Balls

A Birthstone Wishing Ball is a wonderful way to encourage her to write down her wishes before sending them out into the universe. Designed never to be opened, this beautiful glass globe in her birthstone color will keep all her wishes a secret as she waits for them to come true.

BUY FROM UNCOMMONGOODS.COM

Shattered Glass Ceiling Necklace

Shattered Glass Ceiling Necklace

Show her that you firmly believe she can achieve absolutely anything with the stunning Shattered Glass Ceiling Necklace. The sterling silver and glass frame holds a piece of manually cracked glass, to represent the way women can shatter the invisible barriers that society sets. A 24” chain is also included.

BUY FROM UNCOMMONGOODS.COM

Sweet 16 Magazine Cover

Sweet 16 Magazine Cover

Every girl dreams of seeing their name in lights and making the cover of the latest celebrity magazine. Even if she’s an alternative type, she’s dreamed of making the front page of something. Make her dreams come true with this professional-looking magazine cover you can customize for your special girl.

BUY FROM YOURCOVER.COM

Sweet 16 Birthday Basket

Sweet 16 Birthday Basket

She’s the sweetest thing in your life, so shower her with the sweetest Sweet 16 gift basket out there. This basket overflows with treats she’ll love. She and all her besties can snack on these treats all night long during her final slumber party as a young girl.

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Personalized Bobblehead

Personalized Bobblehead

Freeze this moment in time forever: your Sweet 16, just like she looks right now. Send in photos of the birthday girl, and the makers will work with you to customize the clay figurine from head to toe. They’ll even send you a prototype you can look over and change to suit your wishes.

BUY FROM AMAZON.COM

Peace/Love/16 iPhone Case

Peace/Love/16 iPhone Case

Peace, Love, and Sweet 16! Get the flower girl in your life—friend, sister, niece, friend of the family—a cool gift that will be with her more than all of her other gifts combined—because it’ll be attached to her iPhone. And count yourself lucky you’re not the one who has to spring for the big one.

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Trucker Hat

Trucker Hat

Take it back to the boondocks with this Sweet 16 gift for country girls. Or hip girls who like to sport a cap low over their eyes at a rakish angle. Yeah, a gal can be rakish—it’s the modern world, people. We have a feeling this will be her go-to lid all the way to college.

BUY FROM CAFEPRESS.COM

Customized Bangle

Customized Bangle

BFF’s forever? Get this personalized bangle for your girl for her Sweet 16 and seal the deal. Let her parents and relatives get all the expensive stuff: you can swing this one with just one or two babysitting gigs. It’s handmade and comes in a cute gift box.

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International Summer Travel

International Summer Travel

Language immersion in China. Community service in Nicaragua. Conservation in Indonesia. Peace-building in Rwanda. Did your Sweet 16 ask you to give the money you wanted to spend on a birthday gift to charity instead? With an international travel program, you can give her a taste of the world—the world she wants to change for the better.

BUY FROM WHERETHEREBEDRAGONS.COM

Luxury Princess Canopy Bed

Luxury Princess Canopy Bed

Mind: Blown. A luxury designer canopy bed handcrafted in Italy is the least you can do if you’re not getting her a car, right? Your princess will sleep like royalty every night, dreaming of glamorous evening gowns, court dances, and princes lining up to ask for the next dance. Glass slippers not included.

BUY FROM AMAZON.COM

Memory Book

Memory Book

This large format memory book gives everyone a chance to write down a special note during her Sweet 16 birthday bash. The bound spine is built to last, and the pages are lined to make it easier for friends and loved ones to jot down a few lines. With its slim design, she can tuck it under her mattress and relive the memories before she goes to sleep.

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Who's Counting?

Who's Counting?

You are! This T-shirt brings some humor to the Sweet 26 birthday table. Sure it’s a big deal, but who says we have to get all maudlin about it. She’s only 5,844 days old after all. But like the shirt says, Who’s Counting? Just another day on the calendar, right?

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Sixteen Years of Awesome

Sixteen Years of Awesome

Made in 2000—the year that gave us the first wave of 21st century babies, aka millennials. This Sweet 16 gift is perfect to get for a friend, or for parents to get as an add-on to the big time gifts they have planned to knock her socks off.

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Sweet 16 Tote

Sweet 16 Tote

Tennis anyone? For the country club set or the up and coming sorority girl, this Sweet 16 tote is all the way cute. The “SS” design says it all. She can pack her tennis stuff, gym gear, or use it for a school bag until she graduates—because when she gets to college, she’ll replace it with her new letter bag after rush!

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Infinity Earrings

Infinity Earrings

Infinity is defined as the largest number you can conceive. That’s how much you love her: infinity. These silver infinity earrings are set with a scapolite stone, which signifies inner peace and commitment to be yourself. Get her this sweet 16 gift to let her know you want her to grow, thrive, and be true to herself.

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Promise Ring

Promise Ring

A promise ring from a father to a daughter symbolizes a lifelong commitment. It says “I’ll be there for you. Whatever life throws your way, you can lean on me.” The tradition dates back the 16th century, and the combined infinity/heart symbol means “you have my heart forever.”

BUY FROM ETSY.COM

Vanity Set

Vanity Set

Put a personal beauty studio on her own room—you can get it set up when she’s off at school, and when she comes home, she’ll be overcome with delight. This sweet 16 gift acknowledges that she’s growing up and you support and value her journey to womanhood.

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Personalized Leather Journal

Personalized Leather Journal

You have an artistic, reflective, deep thinker on your hands. She’s got ideas to end world hunger, stop wars, clean up the oceans, and designs for clean, free, renewable energy all up in her head. Give her this journal for her Sweet 16, and she can get it all down in black and white: we’re waiting!

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Kanji Charm

Kanji Charm

Amai juu roku, tien shyr lio—that’s how they say Sweet 16 in Japan and China, respectively. Don’t worry, it does not say “there’s one born every minute.” We checked it out for you. This sterling silver kanji charm comes as a bracelet, necklace charm, or pendant.

BUY FROM AMAZON.COM

Birthday Roses

Birthday Roses

Girls love getting flowers, no matter what the occasion. This sweet 16 gift might be the first real bouquet of flowers she receives. So make it mean something. Make it classy. Make it a dozen high-quality long-stemmed roses—she’ll save the petals, and remember the moment for years.

BUY FROM 1800FLOWERS.COM

Fixie Bike

Fixie Bike

Look Daddy, no carbon footprint! Steel frame, one gear, no brakes. It’s a mantra that only the cycling insiders know. Get your tradition-bucking, eco-conscious Sweet 16 the hipster equivalent of a car. Get her a fixie and she’ll have her freedom and the awe of her skinny-jean wearing peers.

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Fender Stratocaster

Fender Stratocaster

She’s the girl who gave all her friends lectures on feminism when they tried out for the cheerleading team. She thinks Sweet 16 is synonymous with gender oppression. What to do? Get her an electric guitar: the Stratocaster has been the preferred axe of guitar gods…er, goddesses for half a century.

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Canon Power Shot

Canon Power Shot

She’s a Sweet 16 with a knack for snapping that perfect pic. Give her the best: the Power Shot is tricked out with the best optics for still photos and 1080 p HD video capture. Teen dream: it has an on-board Wi-Fi system that lets you upload images to social networking sites directly from the camera.

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Sweet 16 Jammies

Sweet 16 Jammies

She may be growing up, but she still needs cute pajamas to cuddle up in when she goes to sleep at night. Lay them out on her bed the night before so when she wakes up, she’ll be in birthday mode already. Choose from flannel color combinations for the bottoms, from girly pink to grunge-style red and black lumberjack.

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Prada Heels

Prada Heels

Magical Moment: the Sweet 16 herself walks down an aisle of adoring friends and relatives in a pair of girl’s flats. Her father awaits with tears of pride in his eyes. She slips out of the flats and he helps her into her first official pair of high heels. The Angel wears Prada!

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Retro Ball Gown

Retro Ball Gown

Princesses, prom queens, aspiring homecoming court girls—this is a Sweet 16 gift made in heaven for young women who love all the trappings of tradition. She’ll look like she stepped straight out of the pages of a fairy tale when she puts this one. Get the hankies ready. The little girl is growing up.

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Final Cut Pro

Final Cut Pro

Final Cut Pro is the top-of-the-line video editing suite from software giants Adobe. It’s what the pros use to edit commercial grade, professional video. This is perfect for your Sweet 16 who’s into making movies and cutting together video. Get this software for your aspiring filmmaker and watch her art transform.

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GoPro Camera

GoPro Camera

If your Sweet 16 is a thrill seeker, she can relive the best moments of her adrenaline charged adventures with a GoPro Action camera. Or she can use it to record the shenanigans that go down at her birthday bash, and watch them all later—after editing out the embarrassing moments, of course.

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Princess Canopy Screen

Princess Canopy Screen

You guffawed, chortled, snickered, and spit out your coffee when you say the price of the princess canopy bed. Here’s a Sweet 16 canopy option that’s in a range that won’t strain the pocketbook. She’ll still dream of princes and being swept off her feet, and you won’t have to spend her college fund to buy it.

BUY FROM AMAZON.COM

Personalized Messenger Bag

Personalized Messenger Bag

She’s 16 and ready to graduate from a little kid’s book bag to a hipster’s messenger bag. No one ever said hipsters can’t be girly, though. This bag combines a classic monogram with cute design motifs to make a perfect sweet 16 gift.

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Wardrobe Revamp With Makeover

Wardrobe Revamp With Makeover

Fly your princess to Washington, D.C. and arrange for world-famous professional stylist to come give her a total wardrobe revamp and professional makeover. This stylist has worked with Presidents and Prime Ministers. This Cloud9 Experience is D.C. only, but you can easily find a similar makeover or spa package in your hometown.

BUY FROM CLOUD9LIVING.COM

(You may also like: 25 Gifts for Girls Who Hate Girly Things)

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