A 22-year-old from southeast Michigan went viral for sharing an embarrassing story of the time his mom asked his dentist to keep his braces — which she later turned into a Christmas ornament.
People are not only celebrating the mom for the absurd craftiness, but the video has inspired other Gen X parents to do the same — because the cost of dental work in the US is absurdly expensive.
Austin told BuzzFeed News he came across the ornament in storage about two weeks ago, and thought, "I bet a lot of people don’t do this." So he made a TikTok about it.
Austin says in the video that during his appointment to get his braces taken off in 2014, his mom stopped his dentist from throwing the hardware out. He cringed.
"She goes, 'Austin, we paid $6,000 for those braces. I'm not letting her throw them away,'" he recounts.
"The dentist thought it was kind of weird but had no problem putting them in a bag for us," Austin later told BuzzFeed News. "In all honesty, I wasn’t as embarrassed as I claim to be in the video. Our family isn’t shy to speak up — not in a Karen sort of way — but by being respectful and speaking up."
Later that year, Austin's mom surprised him with a gift: It was his braces, only turned into a Christmas tree ornament. He said the family hangs it up every year during the holidays.
His TikTok has been viewed over 1.4 million times. Many comments affirmed that this was a, um, special and spirited idea from his mom.
"Omg I work in orthodontics and Ive never had someone ask me to keep their braces," one person wrote in the comments. "Maybe I'll start giving them away in December for ornaments."
"This feels really ✨white✨and I'm here for it," someone else added.
Austin said he wasn't too surprised by most of the reactions, but he did not expect to reach so many moms on the platform.
"I've had about 3,000 moms comment that it’s a great idea and that they wished or plan on doing this for their kids," he said. "I think it mainly went viral because it’s just a strange idea that most people don’t think about doing. But Gen X moms love keepsakes, and getting your braces off is somewhat of a milestone in kids' lives... which is the point of a Christmas ornament."
He said his mom "was very happy" to know she's inspired other parents to do the same.