The holiday season may be winding down, but the pandemic is still in full force and we need fun celebrations more than ever. So here’s an idea that you can do any time of year and you don’t have to be present in person.
Last year about this time I was invited to a favorite things party. It was one of the most fun and engaging gatherings I’ve been to in a long time – food, drinks, and a gift exchange. Gobs of favorites and laughter and “oh my goodness – I love it!” filled the evening and I vowed to host my own favorite things party in 2020. I mean, a regular girl’s night out is essential to a woman’s sanity and a favorite things party is just the ticket.
Then 2020 arrived in full force and a gathering just wasn’t realistic. I bemoaned the lack of community and connection with my friends and assumed that I’d just have to plan my own favorite things party when life returned to normal. As the months passed it became apparent that we all need a dose of fun now! And so, I started brainstorming how to host a VIRTUAL favorite things party!
What is a favorite things party?
Traditionally, a favorite things party begins with each guest purchasing five of the same items – a favorite thing! – that costs $5 and under, so a total of $25.
At the party everyone puts their favorite things on a table (that’s right, no wrapping required) and writes their name five times on a slip of paper and places it in a bowl.
Once snacks are had, the host can supply a spread or it can be potluck style and everyone can bring a favorite appetizer or dessert to share, everyone gathers for the official exchange.
The first person explains what they brought and why it is one of their favorites and then draws five names – redrawing if they pick their own name or two of the same. Then, those five people receive that gift! You go around the room until each person has shared and gifted their favorites and everyone goes home with five different favorite things from their new favorite people!
So. Much. Fun.
How Do You Make it Virtual?
Obviously doing this kind of event in person is ideal. But it is totally possible to make it a success in a virtual format. It even opens the door to include girlfriends who live both near and far! Here’s how:
1. For simplicity’s sake, the virtual format is easiest with just six friends – including you, so think of five girlfriends who need a pick me up ASAP and rally them to join the fun.
2. Have everyone choose their favorite thing(s) and purchase five of it. Buy a favorite snack of your own too … you’ll need it for the favorite things Zoom call.
3. If everyone is local you can opt for a porch drop off day; if not, choose a delivery deadline and arrange shipment. Many potential favorite things can be shipped directly through Amazon to each guest.
4. Choose an evening to Zoom and open your gifts together. If this is a local favorite things party it can be the same day that you porch drop. If you opt for a long distance/mailing party you’ll want to confirm that all the shipments have arrived and then schedule the Zoom call.
5. On virtual party day, break open your favorite snack (I’m personally obsessed with crackers, Dubliner cheese, and a dollop of red pepper jelly), log in to your Zoom call, and have each guest share the why behind their favorite thing.
6. Open each gift as it is introduced and enjoy!
7. Ta da! You just rocked your first ever virtual favorite things party!
What Favorite Things Cost Less than $5?!?
Every time I’ve discussed a favorite things party someone always baulks at the $5 price limit. “But my favorite lip gloss is $18!” they’ll say. And I get it, I have many spendier favorite things too. But trust me, there are gobs of favorite options that cost less than $5.
At the last party I attended I took a little bundle of my favorite chocolates – those Trader Joe’s peanut butter cups, a homemade essential oil roller, and a laminated bookmark printable I downloaded from Etsy. The one before it was my favorite hand soap. I’ve also taken a combo of notecards and washi tape because I love sending encouraging snail mail. See? Sometimes you can even put together a favorite things gift that has MORE than one item adding up to LESS $5!
Here are a few ideas of favorite things you could gift:
• Dry shampoo, Batiste is pretty awesome and would pair great with a hair tie or scrunchie
• Bamboo kitchen tongs, ideal for toast and serving
• Plant food spikes, tinted perfect for the plant lover
• Your favorite pen paired with a notepad, for all you list makers
Gretchen Bossio is a homeschooling mom of four from the Pacific Northwest. Writing has always been one of her favorite pastimes so she takes great joy in moonlighting as a freelance writer covering topics such as parenting, wellness, education, fashion, and travel.