Q. What is a favorite things party?
A. A favorite things party is a very low maintenance, yet highly entertaining party in which people get together and share their favorite things with one another. Each guest brings a set number of wrapped gifts that represent things they absolutely love and would recommend to others. They also bring a favorite food or drink to share. Everyone goes home with gifts and a full stomach and a few new friends!
Q. So, how do I set it up?
A. I invited friends from several different circles like moms from my son's school, friends from childhood, family, work friends - all kinds of nice people who I thought could have a great time with one another, even if they didn't know each other coming into the party. On the invite, I asked everyone to choose 3 items they love in the price range of $5-$30, and wrap them so someone looking at the package couldn't tell what's inside. I also asked everyone to bring a finger food or drink. (Most of the drinks were wine at our party.)
To prepare the house, I set up two long tables for the gifts and cut out little slips of paper equal to the number of guests attending, times three so that we could draw a number representative of each gift. I purchased some cute plates and cups, put out napkins and utensils, and sticky labels and a sharpie so guests could make name tags and that was about it!
Q. What do you do when everyone arrives?
Ask everyone to make a name tag and place their gifts on the gift table and potluck items in the kitchen. Everyone fills a plate and mingles while all guests arrive. Once everyone has arrived, we count the total # of gifts and write numbers 1 - (whatever the number of gifts is) on the little slips of paper and put them in a bowl.
Q. How does the gift exchange work?
A. Each person draws three numbers from the bowl. The person who draws number one chooses a gift and opens it. The person who brought the gift shares why they love that item. Then, person two may steal person one's gift or choose a new gift. This continues all the way through the highest number, just like the white elephant game. We play so that each gift can be stolen twice, then it is "frozen." The stealing is what makes the game the most fun!
Q. What details should I know to ensure a successful party?
A. Make sure your guests know to bring items they genuinely love. (This is not the time to regift granny's unwanted Christmas gift.) Limit the number of guests to what can fit comfortable in your house and allow everyone to see each other open the gifts and hear the explanations. Suggest favorite foods and wines be brought for the potluck vs. wrapped as gifts, as food tastes vary widely and not everyone drinks alcohol. Allow your guests to invite a friend so you can make new friends at the party. Afterwards, if guests are on Facebook, it's fun to start a thread to share photos of the party loot so everyone can remember who ended up with what and what the items they liked, but didn't end up with looked like, in case they'd like to buy them themselves.
Q. What kind of items do people bring that go over really well?
A. Scarves, earrings, kitchen gadgets, cleaning tools, perfume, body wash, candles, nail polish, dry shampoo, fuzzy socks, a robe, yoga and Bar Method class gift certificates, mugs and coffee/tea, mascaras/cosmetics, home decor, baking items, Ulta gift cards and more!
Q. Should I host my own party?
A. If you like having fun with friends, eating yummy food and presents, YES. As soon as possible! Have fun!