Southern Belle in Training

Fashion, Travel & Lifestyle Blog || Est. 2012 || Virginia Beach, VA

December 12, 2022

How to Host a Favorite Things Christmas Gift Swap Party.

       Last weekend, I hosted my 2nd annual Favorite Things Christmas Party. After sharing some snippets from it on IG Stories, I got several questions. So, I thought I'd write a blog post on how I do this party and why it is always so much fun! This is also a great type of holiday party to host if you live in a small space like I do. You don't need to have a giant entertaining space in your home to host a favorite things gift swap.

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      I absolutely love entertaining. Although I've only lived in apartments in my 20s, I've made do with small spaces and have been able to still plan some fun parties and get-togethers over the years. In my first apartment post-grad in Charlotte, my best friend / roommate at the time, Ciera, and I hosted a fun hot chocolate bar Christmas party with a gag gift swap. I can still remember some of the hilarious items that people gave in that gag gift swap! During my years in Charlottesville, my close girlfriend group that I did Dinner Club with would do a Secret Santa swap. We would draw names and buy a gift for one girl specifically. Since we all knew each other well, it wasn't too hard to pick out gifts for the girl whose name you got. We would also all fill out surveys about items we liked to receive as gifts and things we didn't like or didn't need more of, which was helpful. 

      In Fall 2021, I had only lived in Virginia Beach for a few months. I knew I wanted to host some sort of Christmas party for the new friends that I had been meeting, but I wasn't sure what type of party format to do. I didn't feel like I knew anyone here well enough yet to do a Secret Santa party.  I still like the idea of doing a gag gift swap, but I think that is most fun at parties with both guys and girls attending. Then I remembered a Christmas party idea that I'd seen two favorite Charlotte NC bloggers, Christina and April, share about over the past few years: a Favorite Things party! 

Delilah loves people and always enjoys when I have parties! She also loves checking out the gift pile every year.

     Christina from Carolina Charm has several blog posts about the Favorite Things parties with her friend group that she's both attended and hosted. I think that Favorite Things is such a great Christmas gifting party idea. I feel like oftentimes at generic White Elephant gift swaps, you end up with some random item that someone rushed to buy that you might not even like or use. With a Favorite Things gift swap, the only rule is that you have to buy something that's one of your own personal favorites. The possibilities are truly endless! 

     You can bring:

  • Books
  • Makeup items
  • Skincare items
  • Food items
  • Wine or another beverage
  • Jewelry item
  • Home decor piece
  • Small gadget 
  • Travel accessory 
  • Gift card to a local business you love supporting
  • And so, so much more!! Think of all the things you love and use frequently in your daily life. What's an item(s) that you love so much that you'd recommend a friend try it? 😊

      During the first year that I hosted this party, the most popular gifts were wine and gift cards to local coffee shops. This year, the popular items were Trader Joe's holiday snacks and skincare items. I am already curious to see what the popular items will be next year! 

      The first year, I did a $15-20 price point. This year I bumped it to $30-40, and I think that was perfect!  While you can do Favorite Things with an under $20 limit, I do think it's significantly more limiting on what you can buy. $40 limit allowed for much more flexibility! Last year with the lower price limit, I gave some favorite Trader Joe's items. This year with the higher limit., I gave a set of my favorite packing cubes and a lip product I love

     As I mentioned earlier, I was inspired to start doing a Favorite Things party after reading Christina from Carolina Charm's blog posts about it. The way that her friend group does Favorite Things involves each woman bringing multiple of her item, so that everyone at the party ends up with one of everyone's favorite item! And you leave the party with multiple new things. While I love the idea of this, it is costly as you're buying 5-6+ items, not just one item! Having a gift swap where everyone brings just one gift is better for my budget and the budget of my friends these days. 

      Here's how I do the rules for my gift swap:

  • Everyone who brought a (wrapped) Favorite Things gift draws a number.
  • Everyone follows the numbers for their turn, starting at 1. After opening a gift that you pick out randomly from the gift pile, you can either keep your gift or steal for someone else's already opened gift.
  • You are allowed to pick up and feel gifts before choosing a final one to select and open! 
  • There are no limits to how many times a gift can be stolen! The more steals, the more fun I think! (I've also found that people are often so excited about the gift they do pick and open that steals are few and far between! Haha!)
  • 1 is the best number, as they get to go first! Then at the end of the swap, 1 gets to go again and they can steal any gift that was opened in the swap! 
  • 2 is the worst number to get, as they can only choose to keep their original gift or steal the one that 1 has. 

Favorite Things Party 2022

Favorite Things Party 2021

     I hope this helps answer any questions you might have had about my Favorite Things party! I'm already excited for next year's! For the past two years, I've held it the first Friday evening of December. I love doing it early as a fun way to kick off the season!

      God Bless,

      xoxo Annaliese 


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