Getting together with friends, sharing good food and wine, exchanging little gifts… these are a few of my favorite things. If they sound good to you, too, then you’re sure to enjoy a Favorite Things party. It’s a great alternative to White Elephant, and one that can be held at any time of year.
Whereas a typical gift swap is driven by competition (albeit lighthearted competition), a Favorite Things gift exchange is all about sharing. Participants bring multiples of an item that they love, and award them to others via name drawing. The number of gifts is usually either three or five – in fact, you may have heard this type of gift exchange referred to as a “Five Favorite Things party.”
Like Christmas sock exchanges, Favorite Things parties typically work best with all-female groups. But hey, there’s nothing that says guys can’t be included. It just might be a little harder for everyone to find unisex gifts.
Favorite Things Party Rules
As with every type of gift exchange, the rules of a Favorite Things party aren’t exactly set in stone. Different people play it differently, and you can easily modify things to suit your preferences. Here’s the broad outline:
1. Each person brings multiples of the same item. The price range for the item should be spelled out in the party invitation.
2. Each person writes their name on a number of slips of paper equaling the number gifts they brought (again, usually three or five). These slips of paper go into a pot.
3. Each person takes turns showing off the item they brought. That person then draws names to determine who gets the item, removing those names from the pot as they go. If the gift-giver draws their own name or the same name twice, a re-draw is in order and that slip of paper goes back in the pot.
Note: This is where the variations really come into effect. There are lots of different ways to award the gifts, including having people pick what they want themselves.
4. Once all the gifts have been doled out, the exchange is over. However, organizers may want to allot some time for people to compare and trade items. In fact, it’s highly recommended.
Favorite Things Gift Ideas
The beauty of a Favorite Things party is that it draws people together. You learn something about what other people like, and often find out that you have things in common that you didn’t suspect. Therefore, the type of items you bring to this sort of gift exchange should reflect your own personality and tastes.
Of course, the price range of the item – $10, $20, or whatever – really limits your choices. Here are some options to consider:
- A novelty glass or coffee mug that is “so you”
- Lipstick, lip gloss, or other beauty products
- An unusual type of candy or cookie that others may not know about
- A bottle of wine and/or a novelty wine glass
Obviously, there’s a lot of overlap here with popular White Elephant gifts. The main difference is that, for this type of gift swap, you typically don’t bring gag items that don’t have any real value. Remember the name of the game – it’s all about sharing a few of your favorite things with your friends.
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