Episode 6: Favorite Things Party

I’m Heather Anderson, and this is Episode 6: Favorite Things Party.

Hello, my friends. Welcome back to another episode of The Mommy Whisperer. I hope all is going well with you and with your children and your family, and remember if there is anything you want to talk to me about please come talk to me. I’m here to help you figure things out whenever you’re ready.

We talked, last week, about the importance of our healthy female friendships in our lives, and I wanted to continue the idea of our female friendships in kind of a different way today. This podcast is about all things motherhood, and I also promised tips, tricks, and ideas. Well today is an idea day!

Sometimes, you know, you just want to get together with your friends. And build those healthy friendships that we’re trying to foster, right? And what better way than a “party with a purpose”? This is something fun to do with your friends each year. It’s called a Favorite Things Party. You not only get together with some of your favorite friends, but you get to spend the evening learning from each other.

I need to give a shout-out to my sister, Carrie, for this idea. She has been doing Favorite Things Parties forever. She did them long before I ever got brave enough to pull one together. This idea is for women young and old. It is never too early or too late to start a Favorite Things Party tradition with your friends.

But in the spirit of trying not to enter into that all-or-nothing mentality of it having to be a tradition if you start it: just start simple. Tell yourself when the time is right you’ll just do the one party, and see how it goes. Then, from there, you can decide if it’s something you want to turn into an annual thing.

This is one of my favorite things I do. It’s one of the highlights of my year. You know, it’s hard to connect with all of our friends each year. I never feel like I get to see my friends enough, and spend enough time with them. So this is my chance to let my friends know that I love them and even get to know new friends that I may have met through the year.

I’m sure there are a lot of different ways you can throw a Favorite Things Party, but I’m just going to share with you how I do mine. A good Favorite Things Party has anywhere from 6 to 12 people. If you have too many more than that, it gets kind of overwhelming and really long. And that’s a lot of little gifts for people to bring to each other to share, so I really try to keep it to no more than 12 people. But that’s the hard part, sometimes. Some years, I have way more than 12 friends that I would like to invite, and I do invite more because there’s always a few who can’t make it. So it’s a bit of an exclusive thing, which I don’t like to do. My sister solved this problem by having two parties of 12 each year. A little more time and effort, but she loved it: twice the ideas and fun and friends.

The idea behind the party is that everyone thinks about their favorite things from the previous year. The first time you do a party like this you’ll give your friends a few weeks’ notice, maybe even a couple months’ notice, so they can start thinking. But once you do it for a year or two, it’s fun because your people start thinking all year of the things in preparation for it, and it just becomes better and better. So the first years like the training period for your friends. They each come to the party with their top three favorite discoveries of the year. It can be a book, blog, craft idea, beauty product, nail polish color, favorite new snack at the store, a place they traveled with their family, a podcast, or a household cleaning product. And they also need to think about their one favorite recipe. So they type up a little explanation of their three favorite things on a piece of paper with their favorite recipe at the bottom; so I guess it’s four things on this piece of paper. And then they bring copies of their paper for everyone at the party.

They also bring a gift of one of their three things to share with everyone. So when we create our three favorite things we are always thinking that one of them needs to be conducive to something small and inexpensive that we can give to everyone at the party. I encourage everyone to only spend between 2 to 5 dollars on a gift. Some have gotten really creative and have hardly spent anything, which is fine too. I don’t want this party to be a financial burden to anyone at all. The gifts at my parties have ranged from a favorite pen (I love this! This is how I discovered those erasable Frixon pens. Have you tried them? Oh my goodness, they’re amazing.), to maybe a favorite new flavored water drink at the store. Once someone loved a certain hair product, like a styling gel pomade-type product, but it was kind of pricey so she bought these tiny plastic containers and put some of it in each one so that we can try it ourselves before buying it. One year, I spent the year collecting used books from my favorite author I had discovered and I had everyone pick one. My friends have brought favorite candles, hand soaps, nail polish colors, and even earrings.

You, as the host, will want to bug everyone for their RSVPs about three weeks before the party and promptly send out the final headcount to everyone so they know how many papers and gifts to bring.

Okay, so on the night of the party, your friends come with their papers copied, their little gifts for everyone, and also–this is the best part because I’m such a foodie–that’s right! They bring the favorite recipe that’s written on their paper, prepared and ready for everyone to eat. Isn’t that awesome? Not only do you get all these new recipes, but you also get to try them and decide if that is something you would really like to make for your family.

When everyone arrives, we chat for a little while while we wait for everyone to arrive. I always have a three-hole punch available so people can do that to their papers if they haven’t already. Oh, the first year of my party I got everyone an inexpensive binder so they could add their papers to it each year; hence the need for the three-hole punch. But you don’t have to do this; you can just encourage everyone to put them in a binder at home because they are going to want to reference them. I’m surprised how often I actually reference my Favorite Things binder. Okay, so back to the flow of the party… So everyone gets there and then we get started. We eat first so we can sample everyone’s food. I so love this part! Then we move into the family room and we share our favorite things for the year. Whoever’s turn it is, passes out their papers and just briefly goes over their favorite things, maybe giving a little more info, if needed. I’m always taking notes on my paper that they hand out. There’s no right or wrong way to present, when it’s your turn. They pass around their little gifts for everyone, and that’s it.

This everyone-sharing part can take anywhere from 1 to 2 hours, so as the host you can call for a break halfway through if it’s getting a little long, for more sustenance! “Party with a purpose,” right? I love this. It’s one of my favorite things to do with my friends. I’ve learned so much from all the amazing women in my life.

I would love to hear from you if you end up doing a Favorite Things Party with your friends. You can always go to my website the-mommywhisperer.com and click on any podcast episode, this one or any other episode, and leave comments at the bottom. They will come directly to me and I personally read all of them. I would love to hear from you. I would love to hear how your party went; what creative tweaks you made. I would even love to hear about some of the favorite things and recipes that you and your friends have discovered. Oh! And I almost forgot: I also put some things on my website to help you get started. You can go to my “Mommy Resources” part of my website, and under Podcast Mentionables you can download my invitation. It’s very simple; it’s just mostly the wording that you’re going to want. It’s the one I email out to all my friends each year so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. And I also put in there a sample of the paper I typed up for one of my favorite things parties a few years ago, so you can see a sample of what you’re asking each guest to bring, so you can visualize the paper that I’m talking about. You might want to include the sample in your email to your friends so they can understand exactly what you’re asking of them to do. I hope all of this helps. I hope you have fun planning this!

So go out there and make this year a year of finding, of fulfillment, of joy, peace and purpose.

I’ll talk to you next week!

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I am a Certified Life Coach with a Master’s Degree in Education, and a happy mother of 10 wonderful children (4 children of my own plus 6 bonus children) and 7 grandchildren. I am just like you. I am a mother who wants the absolute best for myself, my children, and my family. I have the privilege of helping hundreds of mothers just like you who want to be better and feel better. Mothers who want to learn more effective parenting skills, who want their children to be more respectful and responsive, who want to improve their relationships with all those around them, and who want to hit the pillow each night feeling happy about their efforts and accomplishments…

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