How to Host a Favorite Things Party

Last week, Ali-Shaun and I hosted our 3rd Annual Favorite Things party and I swear, they just keep getting better and better!  We have the planning down and it’s an easy party to put together because it’s pot luck, so the heavy lifting doesn’t fall on any one person.   I’m so thankful for these women in my life and have the best time with them.  If you’ve been thinking of hosting your own Favorite Things Party, I encourage you to do it.  I bet it will be one of the highlights of your holiday season.

How to Host a Favorite Things Party

Pajamas favorite things party

 Flannel PJs

Pajamas favorite things party (1)

 Flannel PJs


How to Host a Favorite Things Party - the invite

How to Host a Favorite Things Party - the invite


We included a message to our guests that said : “Sips & Bites”  Please bring something to sip or something yummy to eat.  Easy, peasy!

Knowing there’d be lots of indulgences, I prepped an easy bagged salad to that people could get some greens on their plate if they wanted.  I also make a naked cake using two box mixes and prepared frosting.  Just add a bit of rosemary, cranberries and a dusting of powdered sugar to make it look festive!

Naked cake

The spread included various cheese and crackers, a Trader Joe’s Kringle, possibly the most delicious chocolate chip cookies ever and Ali-Shaun’s special Trader Joe’s Spanikopita!

Favorite Things Party - food


Before the party, Ali-Shaun and I hit up the dollar store for gift bags, tissue paper, plates and napkins.  The cost is minimal and you can easily get everything you need for under $30!

Favorite Things Party

See more of our Christmas decor here.

HOW IT WORKS “The Rules”

Upon arrival, each guest dropped off their wrapped bag and then wrote their name on 3 slips of paper and dropped them in a bowl. When it was time to exchange gifts, we all drew numbers. These numbers determine the order we present our gifts.

Once we all have a number, Person Number 1 goes up and explains her gift, where she got it and WHY it’s her favorite thing. She then picks THREE names out of the bowl. Those three people get Person Number 1’s gift. If you draw your own name or if you draw the same person twice – you put that name back and draw again.

Unlike most White Elephant gift exchanges there are no “steals” or “freezing” rules. Because we’re all friends, there’s usually some trading going on at the end of the night – but it’s not part of the game!


Favorite Things Party - gift exchange

So many presents! Ali-Shaun and I also supplied some fun “raffle prizes” to continue the giving!  Things like scarves, candy and a necklace.

Now on to the actual favorite things! Our rule is that you bring 3 items under $25. When searching for these items I found that some of them are a little over the $25.  Since this is something our friends look forward to – these smart friends of mine shop the Thanksgiving week sales pretty hard!

Favorite things for travel

TRAVEL ORGANIZER : First out of the gate was this travel organizer. You pack it while hanging in your closet, fold it into your suitcase and hang it in the hotel when you get to your destination. How convenient is that? If you travel a lot for work or find yourself on longer trips in need of some organization – this could easily become YOUR favorite thing! There’s even a little laundry bag at the bottom.

COLLAPSIBLE TOTE BAG : Angela brought this tote to bring her food and drink and gifts with her and got so many compliments on it! Good thing she brought it as her favorite thing! She also included a gift certificate to get it monogrammed at our local Monogram Shop!

TOTE BAG ORGANIZER : This little organizer is a lifesaver when you switch purses a lot, especially if you use tote bags often!

EBAGS PACKING CUBES : Every time I travel I rave and rave about the amazingness of these packing cubes. They’re super helpful for organizing but also help make more room in your suitcase!

Favorite accessories & clothes

RUNNING SUNGLASSES : These are Ali-Shaun’s favorite thing! She can found in them almost any time she’s outside. She brought 2 different color with 3 awesome names. Her go-to is called “Going to valhalla…witness!” These are great glasses for people who spend a lot of time outside as they don’t slip off your nose and they’re polarized! The names of these glasses alone are worth a look!

GLITTER SLIPPERS : These were a big prize! Danielle brought sizes 7, 8 and 9 and there were trade offers flying as soon as she pulled the names! They are so comfy cozy when you put them on and I mean… #glitter!

LUCITE BRACELET : These bracelets were a huge hit – they come in so many colors. Kelly brought a purple, a grey and a tortoise shell.

SNAP FLEECE : Begonia showed up to the party in this super cozy fleece – that she claims she’s known about long before the Amazon Haul on my blog. She brought 3 mediums in black, navy and white. This was another big crowd pleaser!

PLAID SCARF : I love all the accessories I’ve ever found on Accessory Concierge – and I’m not alone! Tara brought a variety of plaid blanket scarves!

YURMAN DUPE BRACELET : These may be a dupe, but Manuela found them at the Ritz Carlton so they must be perfect! She’s a huge fan of all things Yurman (she was wearing at least 4 real pieces at the party) and the bracelets she brought were a perfect find!

Favorite in beauty

FACE OILS : Christmas is the time for gift sets!! Shannon shared her favorite clean beauty routine essentials in an adorable mini size version! They’re best for either Brightening, Plumping or Detoxing!

PRIMER & CONTOUR SET : Travel and beauty seem to be something everyone appreciates! These travel size items are perfect for keeping you looking your best (and photo ready) when you’re on the road. Very appropriate coming from my photographer friend!

BAREMINERALS LIP SET : Again with the amazing holiday gift sets! This set has 6 total pieces in all the best nudes! We all gushed over our love for Bareminerals products – you can’t go wrong with this.

EYE PRIMER : This is such a great find to keep you eyes looking fresh all day long! You can wear it alone or under eyeshadow. It’s a favorite thing for our group and was even called “something I don’t leave home without” which is high-praise if you ask me!

Favorites for sipping

WATER BOTTLE : This awesome water bottle comes with a storage compartment for your keys, ID or other necessities when you’re out exercising. It was quickly brought up that it’s also the perfect size for a light workout snack or treat! And if water isn’t your thing. Shannon included a little prosseco to put in your new drinking container!

CORKCICLE : This pretty little champagne flute will keep your champagne at the perfect drinking temperature (if it makes it that long), but more importantly it’s SO PRETTY and shatterproof! This Favorite Thing also included a little bit of prosecco – perhaps that’s our new theme!

Favorites for Home

ESSENTIAL OILS SOAP : Courtney, the owner of Mela & Roam has a son at our school and this was her first Favorite Things party and man are we lucky to have her!! She brought this soap set wrapped in the cutest paper and decorated with the cutest little Camel Ties!!

CHRISTMAS PILLOW COVERS & CAR COASTERS : 2 things you didn’t know you needed – adorable Christmas themed pillow covers and these little coasters for the cupholders in your car!!!

OIL DIFFUSER & LAVENDER OIL : This is the gift that I brought. In the last year, this little diffuser has changed my life! I know that sounds dramatic – but it helps me sleep.

TURBI TWIST : The best part about this favorite thing was when everyone was modeling them at the end of the party. Pro tip : these work better on wet hair as they’re intended!

Favorite Things Party - gift exchange (1)

This party is seriously so, so fun and I look forward to it every year.  It’s a blast to see what everyone brought, but it’s even more fun to just get together for some girl time.  It’s really hard to coordinate schedules with everyone being so busy, so being able to get this big group together for a few hours is such a treat.

I was enjoying the party so much that, unfortunately, I didn’t get many pictures. 🙁  But, I also have to mention that several of my friends stayed waaaay late and helped with the clean up and dishes.  How sweet is that?!  It’s a good feeling to go to bed with a smile on your face AND a clean kitchen!

Do you and your friends do something similar?! I’d love to hear the details on yours and YOUR favorite thing under $25!

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Meet Megan

Hi! I’m Megan, mom to a thoughtful teenager and spunky young girl. We call Houston home and recently moved into our dream home. I traded my lawyer hat to become a full-time blogger in 2010. I love sharing my passion for affordable fashion, home decor, organization, & fitness to help inspire you to take care of you!


  1. Hi Megan, watched your party live and you girls had the BEST time. Can your correct the link for the oil diffuser ……the link actually is to boots. Thanks!

  2. This party sounds like so much fun and a great way to get friends together. Just so you know I clicked on the oil diffuser and it a pair of Kenneth Cole boots is what it is linked to. Can you let me know about the diffuser.


  3. What a fun party! And so many great finds. Unfortunately, most of the links don’t link to the item. Maybe another post? This one had so many mistakes…lol.

  4. This party looks like so much fun. I did get to watch it on Insta live and I love atmosphere of the party. So many cute ideas for Christmas shopping. I am hoping you will share some recipes of the apps that were served during the party.
    I also got a pair of Kenneth Cole boots instead of the defuser link.

  5. It was so fun to read through what everyone brought as their favorite things! I added several to my cart for gifts!
    My workout girlfriends and I do this every year too and we will definitely be taking some of your tips. Thanks for posting! Merry Christmas!

  6. What a fun idea and I love the variety of gift that were exchanged. They also make for great gift ideas for friends, sisters, moms etc. at a very reasonable price! Happy Holidays!

  7. I look forward to this post every year and often go to past posts for gift ideas. One of these years, I swear I’m going to host my own “favorite things” party! Thanks for sharing all of the gifts and your ‘how to host’ notes, all super helpful. I’m off to shop!
    Happy holidays!

  8. What a terrific Christmas pijama party Megan ! All the girls look adorable in their PJs.
    Great tips too. Thanks for sharing and Merry Christmas to all of you !!


  9. Love this post, Megan! Thanks to your previous Favorite Things posts, I’m co-hosting my first Favorite Things Party on Friday!! Soooo excited!!! I’ll let you know how it goes. Thanks for the inspiration!

      1. Hi, Megan. Just wanted to say that my first Favorite Things Party was a HUGE success!!! We had about 25 ladies and everyone had so much fun and loved leaving with three of everyone else’s favorite things, which included among other things a cross-body bag from Amazon (my favorite thing), the cutest animal-print bracelets, the softest and coziest throw blankets, books, wine, special silver cross necklaces, games, picture frames, glass candle holders, chocolates, fresh flower arrangements (which I thought was a genius idea), flasks, and last but not least a spray to cover gray hair! 🙂 I tagged HWH on my FB post and credited you for the inspiration. Thanks again for the great idea!

  10. What a fun party! I love that festive naked cake! Does 2 boxes make a 3-layer cake? Hard to tell from the picture…

  11. This might be fun to do as a pre-Valentine’s Day celebration. Ladies can catch up after the holidays and get a Valentine treat.

  12. Silly question, and I’m sure it’s been answered but do you buy 3 of the same thing or 3 different favorite things?? Such a fun idea and party!

  13. Hi Megan! I loved watching your stories from this party! We have done an annual February Favorite things party in my neighborhood for years. The way we do it is everyone puts their favorite things out on display on a big table. Then we draw names and go down the line (like 1-20) and when your number comes up you go up to the table and pick which item you want to take home with you. Once we go through it once, we put the numbers all back in a bowl and draw again so you don’t have the same number all three times. Everyone goes home with three items.
    We do it as a white elephant where we can steal from each other if we don’t want to go to the table to grab a gift. I loved the format of yours though and I am going to present it as a new idea for this year‘s party! Love the PJs too…totally doing that!

  14. Quick question
    I love this and I’m hosting this week
    So with the names once a name is pulled do you put it back in the bowl or leave out?

  15. I love how you do this with everyone bringing 3 gifts. That makes it so much more manageable. The link for the soap is incorrect.

  16. I’m planning to do something like this and was wondering if the $25 covers all 3 items or each item is no more then $25…so you could potentially be spending $75 total? I just want to explain this correctly!! Thanks.

    1. This is how my friends like to do it, but I think it could be equally as fun with gifts of a lower cost. For me, the most fun is getting together with friends and secondary is the gifts. Although, it is fun to see what everyone’s fave thing is. I would never want anyone to not attend due to budget constraints, so everyone is welcome whether they participate in the gift exchange or not.

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