February 22, 2012

How to Host a "Favorite Things" Party

Earlier this month I hosted a "Favorite Things Party" with eleven of my girl friends. This is a themed party idea that I first became aware of when I attended a similar party this December. To describe it briefly, a Favorite Things Party is a girls night which includes a gift exchange of favorite things.

About a week before the party I sent an email to the invitees (which you can read here) to explain the complete details of the night. I told the ladies that I would provide the beverages and a dessert and asked them to bring a favorite appetizer. I also asked them to bring three identical gifts to participate in a gift exchange. The three identical gifts could be from any genre, home, beauty, food, entertainment, etc - anything the giver was particularly fond of and would consider to be one of her favorite things.

Because many of the guests were from different circles and had not previously met, I began the night with introductions (after everyone arrived). In addition to stating the individual's basic introductory information, I also shared an interesting fact or memory about each person. Not only did this prompt conversations amongst new acquaintances, but the guests also got such a kick out of hearing which fact I chose to share about them (nothing embarrassing, of course :)

After we'd had a chance to eat, drink, and chat for a while, we gathered together for the gift exchange. We took turns standing before the group to explain why the item we brought was a favorite. The giver then drew names from a bowl to randomly select which guests would receive her gifts. The women came with three identical gifts and left with three different gifts from various guests.

It was so much fun to see which items the women chose to bring as favorites and be introduced to new brands/products. The gift variety was incredible! Some of the items presented included, snacks from Trader Joe's (the guest's favorite store), EOS lip balm, diaper pail deodorizers, hot chocolate with candles, celebrity magazines, velcro Command strips, Left Right Center (dice game), a bottle of wine, a hot glue gun with glue sticks... I'm forgetting a few, but this is a good representation of the variety.

I chose to suggest a price range of $3-5 per item (total cost $10-15) because I wanted to keep the night affordable for my friends. I chose to use the name draw method with multiple gifts partly to expose each of us to more products and partly to avoid the "stealing game" mentality. Because let's be honest, we all want to contribute a gift that is highly coveted, and feel discouraged if it isn't. However, one person did comment that it was difficult to think of favorites under the price limit. If I hosted again, I would probably raise the price range by a buck or two.

I also received a lot of questions before the party about whether or not to wrap the gifts. I told the guests that either way was fine. Honestly, the gifts don't really need to be wrapped because they are described in detail before distribution anyways.

To prepare for the party, I decked my home out in lime green and pink party decor. I figured that given the theme, it was only appropriate to decorate using my favorite colors - even if the bright green did clash with my forest colored walls.

I created this pink and green chandelier display with just a few bucks of party supplies. Excluding the wreath, it was only $3 in paper supplies (and I could have made more with the left over paper). Using two spools of tulle, the wreath cost a little bit more, but by embellishing with an easily removed wreath cuff (i.e. empty toilet paper tube) I knew I could easily reuse and modify this ivory wreath for any occasion. Plus by using a wire shirt hanger for the form, I was able to lower costs.

Chandelier Party Decor 
(and links to tutorials)
1. Tissue Poms - Accordion fold eight small layers of tissue paper, tie in middle, point trim the ends while folded, then pull apart to fluff. Google tissue pom tutorials for tons of tips.

2. Crepe Paper Rosettes - Accordion fold four layers of crepe approximately the length of your arm. Use a single hand stitch at one end through all the folded layers before opening. Fan out into circle and use glue to secure open.

3. Crepe Paper Party Garland - Click here to read full tutorial.

4. Tulle Wreath - Minimize costs by tying to a wire hanger instead of a wreath form. Click here to read full tutorial.

5. Interchangeable Wreath Cuff - Specialize your wreath for any occasion with this easily removed wreath cuff made from a toilet paper tube. Click here to read full tutorial.

(The miniature tree at the bottom of photo is a playroom prop I brought up for the evening)

Additional Party Props
For a wine bucket, I tied a green ribbon around my large cooking stockpot. I used the "real" wine cooler (borrowed from a friend) to hold ice cubes for the five pregnant or nursing guests and their non-alcoholic drinks.
Stockpot, ice, ribbon = wine bucket
I used vases as candle pillars in the fireplace for instant ambiance (and a temporary fix for our ugly fireplace).

To conclude, a "Favorite Things" Party is girls night event which includes a gift exchange of favorite items. The specifics of the exchange can be modified to suit your group's needs, but for my friends, randomly swapping three small identical gifts worked best. This was a fun themed night with the perfect balance of structure and spontaneity. There was wine, appetizers, chatting, and laughing. Everyone agreed that it was nice to have a kid-free, husband-free evening to catch up with the girls. The semi-organized part of the party lasted about three hours, but most of the women stayed longer. The last group of women lingered around until almost midnight. It was so much fun! I just might make this an annual event!!

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  1. I'm actually planning one of these right now...Glad you shared it on OneDogWoof, nice to have some more ideas on how to do the draw for gifts. I really like how you did it!

  2. Oh, I wish I could have been invited to this one. How much fun!

  3. That sounds like such a fun idea for a girls night, great party :)