Favourite Things Party Gifts

Last week I was invited to a dear friend’s going-away party, and was informed that the event was going to be a “Favourite Things,” party. The concept is kind of like non-seasonal version of Secret Santa parties: everyone has to choose an item that fits within the established price range that they would call one of their favourite things. You pick up five of the same item, which will be distributed amongst the group, and in return you get to go home with five different things brought in by other guests. At first I was skeptical about the concept (and annoyed that I had to make a special shopping trip), but it turned out to be a great party game.

Here’s how it works: you go out and buy your goods, keeping the price range and guest list in mind. We had to spend between $7 and $10 and the guest list was entirely made up of women, which meant that make-up and other lady items were fair game. I picked up five of my favourite lip balms (Maybelline’s Baby Lips). Once we were at the party everyone wrote their name on five slips of paper and stuck them in the hat (which was actually a big bowl).

Now, this part is important: you need to take care when distributing the names. There were about 20 people at the party, which meant that we had to be really careful that no one drew the same name twice or picked their own name. So the host went around the room and made people ensure that their draw was good before moving on to the next person. Be sure to exchange any names and make sure that everything is kosher before proceeding.

From there, each guest does a little spiel on their items, explaining why it’s a Favourite Thing. Then they announce their lucky winners and distribute the gear. Our party featured a ton of great stuff, including food, tea, books, several different kinds of lip goo, kitchen items, and much, much more. I walked out with some awesome natural lip balm, delicious dairy-free chocolate bars (not pictured here because I ate them as soon as I got home), a really handy silicon spatula, dry shampoo (which I have never tried before, but I’m now a convert), and an always-appreciated tube of Arnica gel. Not a bad haul!

Obviously, you can adapt the rules to tailor the game to your specific party. Why not do a Favourite Things specific to food for your foodie friends, books for your book club, or baby items for your moms’ group? Not only do you get to learn about (and take home) some cool stuff, but it’s also nice to have an actual program portion to a party or get-together so that you’re doing more than eating, drinking, and chatting with people you already know.