During the holiday season, a Favorite Things party is a perfect low-key party that you could throw as a way to get to know people better!

Try throwing a Favorite Things party this season!

When I lived in California, my friend Sara from Tell Love and Party threw a Favorite Things party every year at Christmas.

If you’ve never attended one, it’s the perfect way to get to know people better, and is so easy to host.

What is so great about about a Favorite Things party?

There are a few reasons why I think this is a great party idea for the holidays.

  1. You can invite a lot of people with very little work or stress
  2. It’s a fun party for everyone because everyone gets involved and interacts
  3. Everyone goes home with a few new gifts!

Here’s how you set up a Favorite Things party

These are the basics: 

  • Everyone brings two identical gifts with one or more of their favorite things. You set a budget for each gift, so you could do $5 per gift, or up to $20 per gift.
  • All the guests at the party put their name in a bowl two times, and then each person shares their favorite thing in turn, draws two names from the bowl, and gives their two gifts to those people.

A few thoughts about the budget for gifts:

  • Definitely do what’s best for your circle of friends and your budget, but our budgets were always $20 per gift minimum. You could do $5 per gift, but honestly it’s hard for people to come up with things they actually love that are under $5. You get a lot of chapstick and nail polish (which is totally fine, just be aware of that). I think setting the budget a little higher, if you can, allows people to bring things they actually use and love – not just things that are cute and under $5. I’m sharing some at the end of this post that have been super popular in years past!
  • If you sent out the invitations far enough in advance, it gives people time to find their favorite things on sale! Especially if you host this party during the beginning of December, lots of my friends would purchase their favorite item while it was discounted below $20, even if it was normally above that price.
  • For the past two years, we did a $5 winner takes all in addition to the regular $20 gifts. It was completely optional, but anyone who wanted to bring a $5 gift would put it in a pot and then two winners are chosen to take it all. I’ve included the exact details below.

What to put on the invitation for the Favorite Things Party

  • Send out the rules for the night in the invitation so that expectations are set and everyone’s on the same page. Here’s what the invitation said last year:
    • “Think of your favorite thing for $20. Go to the store and buy 2 of that favorite thing (needs to be the exact same). Each favorite thing needs to equal $20 dollars. You may need to add a few extra things to make it equal $20. Please spend no less than $40. It is not fair to others. Come ready to share that favorite thing with the group and then exchange it with 2 others at random. You will go home with 2 fun gifts!”
  • If you do the $5 winner takes all option, this is what you can put on the invitation:
    • “For extra fun…also bring one $5 thing to share and we will put it in a pot. Two winners will be chosen to take home the loot! This is optional, but super fun if you win. You can only participate if you bring a $5 item.

How to set up the evening when guests arrive

  • When everyone arrives, have a bowl and slips of paper ready. Everyone will put their name into the bowl two times. Sometimes people come just for fun and don’t bring anything, so make sure they don’t put their name in the bowl. Your name only goes in if you brought gifts.
  • Arrange chairs in a sort of circle (we typically had several rows circling the couches in the living room) so everyone can see each other.
  • Everyone should hold on to their two gifts. Then go in a circle, taking turns sharing your item(s) you brought, then choosing two names and giving their gift to that person.

Do you have food at this kind of party?

What is a holiday party without some food? We also usually had light snacks or treats that people ate when they arrived and after the gifts were over. The party typically started at 7pm, so light bites are best.

Do you wrap your favorite things gifts? 

It’s totally optional, but I say yes! Most people put them in gift bags so they were easy to take out and show during your turn, but then people still felt like they were taking home a special gift.

I’ve also seen some people not wrap them, and have a display table where everyone sets them out and everyone can see them at the beginning of the party.

I think it’s fun to have them be a bit of a surprise, but it’s up to you!

Here are some Favorite Things party gift ideas

How to Throw a Favorite Things Party

A Favorite Things Party is one of my favorite parties during the holidays! Who doesn’t love learning about other people’s favorite stuff?

merrick holding a few favorite things red sweater

During the holiday season, a Favorite Things party is a perfect low-key party that you could throw as a way to get to know people better!

 

Try throwing a Favorite Things party this season!

When I lived in California, my friend Sara from Tell Love and Party threw a Favorite Things party every year at Christmas.

If you’ve never attended one, it’s the perfect way to get to know people better, and is so easy to host.

 

What is so great about about a Favorite Things party?

There are a few reasons why I think this is a great party idea for the holidays.

  1. You can invite a lot of people with very little work or stress
  2. It’s a fun party for everyone because everyone gets involved and interacts
  3. Everyone goes home with a few new gifts!

Here’s how you set up a Favorite Things party

These are the basics: 

  • Everyone brings two identical gifts with one or more of their favorite things. You set a budget for each gift, so you could do $5 per gift, or up to $20 per gift.
  • All the guests at the party put their name in a bowl two times, and then each person shares their favorite thing in turn, draws two names from the bowl, and gives their two gifts to those people.

A few thoughts about the budget for gifts:

  • Definitely do what’s best for your circle of friends and your budget, but our budgets were always $20 per gift minimum. You could do $5 per gift, but honestly it’s hard for people to come up with things they actually love that are under $5. You get a lot of chapstick and nail polish (which is totally fine, just be aware of that). I think setting the budget a little higher, if you can, allows people to bring things they actually use and love – not just things that are cute and under $5. I’m sharing some at the end of this post that have been super popular in years past!
  • If you sent out the invitations far enough in advance, it gives people time to find their favorite things on sale! Especially if you host this party during the beginning of December, lots of my friends would purchase their favorite item while it was discounted below $20, even if it was normally above that price.
  • For the past two years, we did a $5 winner takes all in addition to the regular $20 gifts. It was completely optional, but anyone who wanted to bring a $5 gift would put it in a pot and then two winners are chosen to take it all. I’ve included the exact details below.

What to put on the invitation for the Favorite Things Party

  • Send out the rules for the night in the invitation so that expectations are set and everyone’s on the same page. Here’s what the invitation said last year:
    • “Think of your favorite thing for $20. Go to the store and buy 2 of that favorite thing (needs to be the exact same). Each favorite thing needs to equal $20 dollars. You may need to add a few extra things to make it equal $20. Please spend no less than $40. It is not fair to others. Come ready to share that favorite thing with the group and then exchange it with 2 others at random. You will go home with 2 fun gifts!”
  • If you do the $5 winner takes all option, this is what you can put on the invitation:
    • “For extra fun…also bring one $5 thing to share and we will put it in a pot. Two winners will be chosen to take home the loot! This is optional, but super fun if you win. You can only participate if you bring a $5 item.

 

How to set up the evening when guests arrive

  • When everyone arrives, have a bowl and slips of paper ready. Everyone will put their name into the bowl two times. Sometimes people come just for fun and don’t bring anything, so make sure they don’t put their name in the bowl. Your name only goes in if you brought gifts.
  • Arrange chairs in a sort of circle (we typically had several rows circling the couches in the living room) so everyone can see each other.
  • Everyone should hold on to their two gifts. Then go in a circle, taking turns sharing your item(s) you brought, then choosing two names and giving their gift to that person.

Do you have food at this kind of party?

What is a holiday party without some food? We also usually had light snacks or treats that people ate when they arrived and after the gifts were over. The party typically started at 7pm, so light bites are best.

 

Do you wrap your favorite things gifts? 

It’s totally optional, but I say yes! Most people put them in gift bags so they were easy to take out and show during your turn, but then people still felt like they were taking home a special gift.

I’ve also seen some people not wrap them, and have a display table where everyone sets them out and everyone can see them at the beginning of the party.

I think it’s fun to have them be a bit of a surprise, but it’s up to you!

 

Here are some Favorite Things party gift ideas

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