Party planning runs deep in my blood and any excuse I have to host an event I’m all for it! The girls in my neighborhood have been planning monthly get togethers and this month I decided to host my very first Favorite Things party! Because I’m a girl who thrives on all the little details that add up to a big impact, I’ve decided to make things easier for you to host your very own party without hardly lifting a finger!
What is a favorite things party?
A favorite things party is a gathering of your favorite people: girlfriends, neighbors, co-workers, church group, etc. Each guest brings their favorite things (wrapped or unwrapped – you decide) to be exchanged & in return will go home with new favorites from fellow guests! You can determine how many presents your guests will bring depending on the number you’re expecting. For example, if you’re hosting a small party you can have your guests bring enough gifts for everyone. For larger parties you can limit gifts to 3 (a great number) or even less.
Because December fills up fast for everyone, I suggest that you choose a night towards the beginning of the month & send your invite out at least three weeks in advance. The invitation will include how many gifts each guest should bring, what the price limit should be, and if you want guests to provide anything else. These type of parties work great as potluck to share the load of providing all of the food!
What to bring to a favorite things party?
Once you set a price limit for your guests it’s time to get shopping! Black Friday sales, clearance items, and spotting a good deal are great ways to give extra special gifts for reasonable prices (within the limit!). I chose to limit the gifts to $10 and have each guest bring three each.
You could increase the limit to $15, $20 and even $25 if you’d like. The higher the limit, the nicer the gifts can be – but also keep in mind it’s an expensive time of year & it may be difficult for guests to shell out loads of extra money.
The gifts should all be the same (i.e. if your favorite thing is candles, you’ll bring three different candles). However, it’s fun to add variety by changing scents or colors when possible. Love candles but have a handful of favorite scents? Bring three different ones! Blankets happen to be your favorite? How about three different colors, patterns or prints! Add a little variety while keeping the gifts the same!
How do you choose who gets your gifts?
When each guest arrives, they will write their name on three slips of paper (the number of slips of paper is determined by the number of gifts everyone brings. Everyone bringing five gifts? Write your name on five slips of paper).
At the start of the gift exchange you’ll draw numbers for the amount of guests you have. Have ten attendees? Write 10 separate slips numbered 1-10. This will determine the order in which guests will present their gifts.
Starting with #1, the guest will gather their gifts & proceed to draw three names* from the name bowl. If they choose their own name, they replace it with another. If they choose two of the same names, they replace one with another until there are three separate names other than their own. These three will be the recipients of their favorite gifts. As they pass out their gifts they explain why they’ve chosen them as their favorite!
Helpful Tip! *For our party, we somehow got down to the last two people before one of the guests had their name drawn at all! While this is unlikely, a good way to prevent this would be to have three separate bowls & have each guest put one slip of paper into each. That way for the first round you’ll get through everyone’s name at least once, then for the second round you’ll get through everyone’s name a second time & so on and so forth.
How much does it cost to host a favorite things party?
This is entirely up to you! The beauty of this party is that it can be as minimal or as elaborate as you want – or as your budget allows!
Because this was the first year of being a host I basically started from the ground up. For future parties I’ll have most everything I need. Therefore, this will be the most expensive year & it will become cheaper in future years. And trust me, this will definitely be an annual tradition from here on out!
For the printables:
- These are a small touch that will make a big impact on your party & lucky for you all the hard work has been done! I’m providing all the party printables for FREE to you! Each printable is sized for “poster” printing and can be scaled down to 8.5×11 (which is what I did for most all of them except the soda bar instructions I had printed as an 11×17). To have them all printed on bright white cardstock was less than $5 at my local printing shop.
- You’ll only need one copy of most everything, and duplicates of the potpourri recipe & thank you tags depending on the number of guests you have.
- The Wooden Magnetic Hanger Frame‘s were a really nice touch. I already had them on hand, but I did find some on an Etsy shop if you’d like to purchase them for your party as well. I’ve also seen a few people DIY them if you’re really feeling ambitious.
For the hostess favorites:
- Because gifts are a love language of mine I had an extremely difficult time narrowing down my favorites to only the three assigned gifts. To rectify that I decided to throw together a handful of EXTRA separate gifts just for fun!
- Since this is just an added bonus to the party depending on your budget, you can choose to do this if you like, or eliminate if you feel it’s unnecessary. I had four separate gifts to raffle off (using tickets): a poinsettia in an adorable snowman mug, a set of Mrs. Meyer’s holiday scented cleaning products, a full-sized version of my favorite Wells + Co candles (the mini version was included in my party gifts – heads up, her candles are only available for a limited time each quarter’ish) and a ThirtyOne bag. I could have had more, but figured I had to stop somewhere!
- The adorable IKEA Korken Glass Jar w/Lid & Raffle Tickets I had on hand, so this wasn’t an added expense for this party. This would be a great place to just use what you’ve got rather than buying new. Don’t have raffle tickets? Just have your guests add their names to an extra slip of paper!
For the party favors:
- Christmas potpourri is such a simple & timely gift. I had the plastic Gift Sacks & Jute Twine on hand already, along with the Cinnamon Sticks & Nutmeg. The oranges & cranberries I picked up at Costco. 1 box of oranges was $11.99 & one bag of cranberries was $2.99. Between the two I was able to put together 14 party favors & have oranges leftover. Because each bag has 1 tbsp. of Whole Cloves I’d recommend buying those in bulk.
For the soda bar:
- Aside from the gifts, this will be where the bulk of your party expense comes from. I consulted a couple of soda-shop loving friends for their expertise. I picked up (4) twelve packs of the most popular sodas: Mtn. Dew, Dr. Pepper, Diet Coke & Sprite that were on sale for $12. If you don’t want to do cans you’re also welcome to do 2-liters as well (they’re quite a bit less expensive). For the non-soda drinkers I picked up a case of sparkling water from Costco for $5.89.
- One of the reasons it seems people love the soda shops is because of the pebble ice believe it or not. This is another one of those little details that can add up to a big impact. I purchased three good-sized bags directly from the soda shop for $2.50/bag. It’s certainly fine to just buy regular bagged ice or even simply using the ice directly from your freezer trays.
- Because I’ve worked with Torani in the past I had about half of the syrups on hand already. The other half I purchased at a restaurant supply store for $4.99 each (only to realize they were cheaper at my local grocery store I frequent on a regular basis for 2/$7.00). I know Torani syrups are also sold at World Market, although I’m not sure of their pricing. If you don’t have access to any of the above you can find them online at their website as well!
- You’ll definitely want to invest in the syrup pumps if you’re going to have the syrups at your party. Not only for the appearance but also for the convenience. Each pump of syrup is 1/4 oz. which helps determine how many pumps of each syrup you want to add to your drinks! I was told the best place to purchase these is on Amazon where I got mine. I purchased a 6-pack for $12.81 + a 2-pack for $5.49 (because I needed eight total).
- The 16 oz. Styrofoam Cups were purchased at the restaurant supply store also for $1.50/20 & the lids were $2.29/100.
- I already had the Christmas Drinking Straws on hand, but if you need to buy some they are usually around $5 per pack.
- Because presentation was important to me I opted to have a uniform setup of the sodas in Foam Insulated Coolers. I picked these up at a Maverik gas station for $4.99 each & will definitely be using them again & again (especially in the summertime!). I had one for each type of soda as well as one for the ice.
- Lastly your add-ins for the sodas include cherries ($2.99), limes (3/$1.00) and half and half ($1.99)
For the potluck:
- This will depend entirely on what you decide to make for your party. Are you doing finger foods? Appetizers? A main course? Cost will be determined by what you choose to make. I made this Creamy Tomato & Tortellini Soup (which is always a crowd favorite. I was about 50/50 on the ingredients – I had half, I needed to buy half.
Easy & inexpensive party favors
Party favors are an easy way to thank your guests for coming to the party. This Christmas potpourri will be the perfect way for the attendees to ring in the holidays in their own home. In addition to guests being able to grab a bag on their way out I also had a pot of this summering on the stove all evening!
How do I put together a soda bar?
This was one of my favorite parts of the evening! I’m personally not a soda drinker but I’ve ALWAYS wanted to include a soda bar at a party – it was perfect!
Basically you’ve got your soda, your syrups & your mix-ins. Lay it all out & let your guests go wild! Again, I reached out to my soda-shop-drinking buddies for their help in drink combos & decided to switch up the names to go along withour holiday theme. I LOVE how they turned out!
This is a great place in your party to let your attendees creativity shine. The drink combo recipes are for those who need a little direction, otherwise feel free to mix up and mash any flavors that your heart desires!
What do you eat at a favorite things party?
As I’ve mentioned before there are a number of options here. You can go as easy as finger foods/appetizers to as elegant as a three course meal – pick your pleasure! We did a potluck style for ours (although this was the only photo of food that I took… whoops!). Since our party was around dinnertime I wanted to have a substantial option in the event that everyone decided to bring a sweet treat.
I absolutely LOVE making this Creamy Tomato & Tortellini Soup recipe from my friend Alli! It’s ALWAYS a hit at parties. A couple of things I switched up from her recipe was instead of using the cans of condensed soup I opted for the Pacific Roasted Red Pepper & Tomato Soup carton (which we already had on hand because we buy it on the regular from Costco).
I also decided rather than chopping the sun dried tomatoes I prefer them a finer consistency (I don’t particularly care for fishing tomato skins out of my mouth while I’m eating) so I drained the jar & blended until a paste formed so all of the skins were microscopic essentially. Voila! Already I’ve had a couple of friends from the party reach out & ask for the recipe!
What supplies will I need for my favorite things party?
- Torani Syrup
- Fresh Limes
- Maraschino Cherries
- Half & Half
- Cinnamon Sticks
- Whole Cloves
- Gift Sacks
- Jute Twine
CREAMY TOMATO & TORTELINI SOUP:
- Pacific Roasted Red Pepper & Tomato Soup
- Heavy Cream
- Chicken Broth
- Sun Dried Tomatoes
- Dried Basil
- Onion Powder
- Garlic Powder
- Cheese Tortelini
What are my favorite things?
Because our limit was $10 I had to get pretty creative with how I wanted to put things together & in the end it worked out perfectly!
I’ve talked on my Instagram about some candles that I’m absolutely head over heels for: Wells + Co. If you know or follow Sara from Our Best Bites she’s created a candle line that’s quickly become my favorite over the past year. She typically launches new scents each quarter and I kid you not I’ve bought almost every single one of them. She recently started selling a mini trio set for $22, which makes the candles $7.33 each.
She also launched this winter line with the most adorable set of holiday matches which of course I HAD to have (these were an impulse buy at $5 each… and I’m not even sad about it!).
Lastly I have been obsessed with Newport + Home hand soaps & Costco sold a 4-pack for $9.99 – a STEAL of a deal! Making these $2.49 each! Minus the impulse matches I was right on target for our price limit!
Need more ideas? These fun goodies were brought to our party!
- Face Masks
- Hair Treatments
- Bath Bombs
- Makeup Wipes
- Christmas Movies
- Hand Soaps
I think that covers it all! If I missed anything I’d love to hear from you! Chime in and let me know if you end up throwing your own party & if you’ve got more tips & tricks to share.
What a great article! I’m hosting my first FT party this year, and this was so helpful! Thank you!
This is awesome! Thanks for sharing the great print outs. They are so cute. Am I able to edit the Invitation to place my info? I would love to stay consistent with the rest of the print outs. I can’t wait to host this event!!!!
This is great! Curious, Do you just put the nutmeg powder in the bag? Does it get on everything?
Great question! I am also curious :)
I’m sure you put a whole nutmeg or perhaps a half/quarter. Once your grate your own you’ll never go back to pre-grated which wouldn’t work in this anyway.
This is awesome! Thanks for sharing