Last night I threw my annual Favorite Things Party. I started this last year and quickly decided it’s my favorite Christmas tradition that I do solely for myself and my friends. It’s a really unique way to get people together and have a gift exchange that’s a little more exciting than your typical white elephant ordeal. It’d be fun for any time of the year, but especially festive around Christmas!
I did some research on favorite things parties and everybody does it a little differently. A common theme is to have a set number of participants and then everybody picks one favorite thing and brings enough of it for each person at the party to take one home. I love that idea, but I imagine it could get really expensive really quick. So I altered the rules a bit and asked everybody to bring three of their favorite things. It could all be the same thing, though variety is sometimes a lot more fun. At the party everybody writes their name on three slips of paper and then we take turns going around the room and drawing names for each of our gifts. It’s exciting to see what everybody brought and always fun to get three presents back for yourself!
Last year I threw this party in the morning for my fellow stay at home moms. It was fun, but also a bit more chaotic with a bunch of little people running around. This year I wanted it to feel more special and celebratory, so I planned it at night and was able to invite some of my working friends as well.
My favorite party food these days is a well planned cheese board, so that was the focus of our “meal.” 🙂
I also bought a package of fancy Italian meats from Costco. I realized I most definitely do not like fancy meat, so if anybody wants all the leftovers…
I also made a veggie pizza wreath.
And a cranberry salsa that was so easy and so delicious!
I wanted to keep all the party food relatively simple and stress free to make, so I bought some fancy chocolates, made my favorite cookies, and my new favorite salty caramel corn treat from my favorite cookbook of the year: The Cookies & Cups Cookbook.
I had a hot chocolate bar.
And wine! The pink moscato from Innocent Bystander is my all time favorite wine. (Seeing a theme, here? :))
The gift pile. A lot of people asked me if they should wrap their presents or not and I suggested not since you usually say what and why you brought each thing. But I guess everybody preferred to wrap anyway! 🙂 We had a really nice selection this year, with 14 people at the party. Some items included books, coloring books, wine, blanket, coffee, socks, notebooks, pens, movies, mugs, lotions, and a wide variety of sweet treats.
Last year I knew exactly what I wanted to bring and this year I had a lot harder time narrowing it down. I wanted to give things that were truly my favorite, but would also make a nice gift for someone to take home. The book Bread & Wine is one of the best I’ve read this year. It was my first venture into the food memoir genre, which has quickly become of my favorite types of book to read. But it’s also about friendship, family, entertaining, faith, and simply finding joy in the people around you and the food that nourishes you. I adored this book.
The second gift I brought was a Turkish towel. I discovered the awesomeness of these towels this past spring. I found it to be the absolute perfect little blanket to toss in my purse for park outings, baseball games, and even the pool. They’re bigger than your average towel, but extremely lightweight and fold up SO tiny. I have two of them and I’ve used them many times for a variety of purposes.
I really struggled with my third gift. Most of my favorite things are more abstract or a bit too expensive for this kind of exchange. I really hesitated about giving a media item since everybody’s tastes are so different. But I loved this CD so much I had to do it. I’ve never even heard of JJ Heller before, but I randomly came across her new Christmas album on Spotify and I haven’t been able to stop listening to it since. It has all of my favorite Christmas songs on it, but they sound so fresh and unique. I totally love it.
Overall, I’d call the party a raging success! 🙂 I can’t wait to do it again next year!