December 5, 2013

My New Favorite Thing: A Favorite Things Exchange

Recently I posted instructions for a 5-minute infinity scarf that I whipped up for a "Favorite Things" party, but I realized that this type of party was new to me so it may also be new to you. Here's the rundown on one of the best party ideas ever.

Ingredients for a Favorite Things Exchange:

1. A hostess (or hostesses) willing to have a clean house and set up everything.
2. Snacks and drinks, either provided by the hostess or brought by guests to share
3. Loot bags*
4. Vase or bowl to pull names from, pens, and paper*
5. Door prizes*
6. Party guests: In my opinion, the guest list should be limited to 12 or fewer.
* responsibility of the hostess

Steps for a Favorite Things Exchange:

1. Send out invites. This is a great mixer for people who don't know one another. Our hostess had old friends and new friends and neighbors all mixed together, and it was great!

Suggestion for wording your invite:
Think of something you love that costs under $10, and bring 3 of that item to the party. We will draw names and everyone will go home with 3 amazing new finds.
Now, you can decide to do 6 things under $5 or whatever combo that might be interesting (maybe 10 items under a $1) -- just do whatever sounds fun and appropriate for your group.

2. If you're a hostess, you'll need to supply loot bags for guests to take home their collected gifties.

3. You'll also need a stack of scrap paper for people to write their names down and a vase or bowl to collect them in. If your exchange involves 3 items from each person, then each name is written on 3 slips of paper. If you're doing 6 items, then names go on 6 slips of paper to ensure everyone goes home with the right number of gifts.

4. No party is complete without food and drink. Our hostesses put out quite a spread. Appetizers are perfect for this kind of party because you can try a little of everything and not feel stuffed at the end of the night.

5. Now for the Favorite Thing portion of the evening. Each guest stands in front of the group and shares why their favorite thing is their favorite thing.  Then that guest draws 3 names (or 6 or however many gifts you're distributing), and those 3 people get to take home that particular favorite thing. I shared that my sister Elizabeth had made me an infinity scarf that I wore when traveling internationally. I loved it because it was soft and it kept me cozy on drafty planes.  Then I drew 3 names and passed out scarves to those 3 guests.

Here are a few of the favorite things from our party. I ended up taking home the eye makeup remover and hair corkscrew, an EOS lip balm, and a pack of basil-scented Meyer cleaners for the kitchen (which I LOVE).

The best eye makeup remover and hair corkscrew
The best dry shampoo and Sharpie brushes
A favorite Essie nail polish and foundation base
A wire angel from a favorite store
"Party in your mouth" toothpaste and a cute cosmetics bag
The best thing post-pedicure to keep your feet soft

The best thing to end a cold day
The 5-minute infinity scarf (instructions here)
6. After everyone has presented and given out their favorite things, throw all the names back into the bowl and draw for door prizes. I won a December "Favorite Things" issue of Oprah's O magazine, and another guest won a picture frame from the hostess's favorite craft store.  We also went home with mini-pies from a pie shop that just opened in town. Any party that ends with a pie is alright with me!

I would love to hear about similar Favorite Thing parties. Please share and check out our Pinterest board we're building for Favorite Thing gift ideas!


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