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Gift Ideas For a Favorite Things Party, White Elephant, & Secret Santa

November 30, 2023

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One of my favorite parts about the holiday season is the gift exchanges! I just love thinking of the perfect gift to give, and I’m pretty good at it, if I do say so myself. Whether it’s a Favorite Things party, a White Elephant exchange, or Secret Santa, I’ve put together a few gift ideas to help you during this season of gift exchanges.

How to Host a Favorite Things Party

Have you ever been to a favorite things party? I have to explain it so you can try it with your neighbors, friends, or family this Holiday season (or whenever you feel like it)! First, gather up a group and have everybody bring two of their favorite thing—not two different favorite things, but two of the same favorite thing! Decide what kind of price cap you want to put on it (like $15 or $35) so you don’t have too much of a price or value gap.

Once the party starts, one person draws two names from a hat, in which everybody’s name is entered twice. (If you draw your name or two of the same names, try again.) Then, they’ll introduce their favorite thing, explain why it’s their favorite, and gift it to the two people! You go around in a circle, and by the end, everybody has given their two favorite things and received two favorite things! It’s super fun and best paired with treats and drinks!

If I were hosting or attending a favorite things party, here are some of my favorites that I would bring. I hope this list gives you some ideas!

Gift Ideas For a Favorite Things Party

Edible Cookie Dough | $48 (pack of 3)

Finding treats that are dairy-free and gluten-free AND taste good is harder than you’d think. I’m such a fan of this edible cookie dough that you can eat straight out of the jar or bake into actual cookies.

Tech Gloves | $16

This time of year, I keep a pair of tech gloves in my coat pocket and a second pair in the car for driving. I would absolutely gift these at a Favorite Things Party.

Rare Earth Deep Pore Minimizing Clay Mask | $22

My idea of a perfect night in includes the comfiest PJs, the most extra skincare regimen, and an early bedtime. It wouldn’t be complete without this deep pore cleansing mask.

Dae Styling Cream | $28

I use this for styling my girls’ hair every single morning, and it not only smells delicious, but it’s the perfect non-sticky consistency.

Go Pouch Set | $40

You can’t ever have too many pouches. This Baggu set is so cute, and it’s something anybody could need or use.

The IceFlow Flip Straw Tumbler | $46

This will be the coveted gift of the party! I love the 40oz Stanley cups, but these flip-straw tumblers are much more practical for the gym, running errands, and travel.

Skinny Leather Western Belt | $48

If you hadn’t noticed, western is having a moment, and I am here for it! Love the metal details.

Hair Straightener Brush | $49

If you’re still straightening your hair with a classic clamp straightener, you need to upgrade to this straightener brush. It smooths and straightens at the same time!

Large Embroidered Keepsake Box | $37

A keepsake box would make such a great gift! Everybody has a collection of little cards and notes, so give them a place to keep it all.

Brazilian Bum Bum Jet Set | $30

I’m telling you, this brand has become one of my new favorites, specifically the cream! Whoever gets this at a Favorite Things Party will be eternally grateful.

Clean Skin Towels | $17

I started using these face-washing towels this year and they are such a game-changer! Highly recommend it if you too, are in your skincare era.

The Pearl Cove Necklace | $48

My new favorite necklace! I think the classic pearl is so understated and beautiful.

Flameless Taper Candles | $23

I almost never light my taper candles anymore and exclusively use these flameless candles and suddenly my anxiety has decreased.

Acrylic Book Stand | $32

I’m so obsessed with this acrylic book stand, perfect for keeping a coffee table book propped upon at all times. It’s one of my very favorite finds from the year.

Alo Scrunch Sock | $24

You cannot go wrong with gifting a comfy pair of socks like these double-layer scrunch socks. I have a few pairs I keep reaching for above all the others in my sock drawer.

Electronic Candle Lighter | $9

Without a doubt, one of my favorite things is this electric candle lighter. It’s so satisfying, plus it’s something everybody could use.

How to Host a White Elephant Gift Exchange

The big difference between a Favorite Things exchange and a White Elephant exchange is the latter has more novelty. Rather than bringing a few favorite things, everyone brings a wrapped gift for a common pool. Players draw numbers to decide the order of choosing gifts. Each person either picks a new gift from the pool or ‘steals’ one from another player. A gift can only be stolen once per turn, and a turn ends after three swaps. In the final round, the first player can swap their gift with any other, and the game ends when someone decides not to steal a gift. It’s a playful and fun way to exchange gifts, often filled with surprises and laughter!

Here are some gift recommendations to bring to a White Elephant exchange:

Gift Ideas For a White Elephant Party

Snow Day Paint By Number | $29

A paint-by-numbers is a great gift that anybody would be happy to get.

Hot Dog Toaster | $28

This is one of those gifts that people have no idea they want until they see it. It toasts buns and hot dogs simultaneously, which sounds like the perfect simple family dinner.

Kitsch Heatless Curls | $15

Heatless curls are all the rage, and for a good reason, because who doesn’t want to wake up with effortlessly curled hair?

Puzzle Advent Calendar | $28

Puzzle lovers alike will steal this adorable puzzle advent calendar! Each day you get to put together one mini-puzzle, and by Christmas Day, you have one big puzzle.

The Cheese Board Deck | $11

With this cheese board deck, you get 50 cards to help you style 50 different charcuterie boards.

Karaoke Microphone | $20

Who doesn’t love a good karaoke night? This is one of our favorite “toys” in our house, but I’m thinking about stealing it for an adult-only karaoke party. Be sure to check the coupon for $3 off!

Neck Reading Light | $18

A great idea for a White Elephant exchange is to wrap something super practical like this neck reading light.

Self Tan Sleep Sac | $45

This is so random, but would definitely be a winner with all my fellow self-tan girlies out there. It’s a sleep sack to keep your tanner from rubbing all over your sheets!

Gel Face Mask | $10

At first, this will make the recipient laugh at the ridiculousness, but you know what? This is the ultimate self-care item.

Nertz Game | $29

Nertz is a fast-paced card game where you’ve got to stay on your toes to keep up. Where are my highly competitive people at?

Cookie Cutters Book Box (Set of 6) | $18

There’s never been a cuter set of cookie cutters. Open it up to reveal six adorable holiday cutters—snowflakes or stars.

Movie Night Popcorn Kit | $24

Who doesn’t love the smell of freshly popped popcorn coming from the kitchen? Make the experience extra special with this microwaveable gourmet popcorn kit with five different tasty flavors to try.

UNO All Wild | $4

Who agrees that the best part of the classic UNO is getting to play those special wild cards? Well in this game, that’s all there is!

Car Dip Clip | $9

This is another one of those gifts that will get some laughs but is actually super useful! You clip it onto your car vent, and it holds all your sauces for dipping. It’s all about convenience, people!

Book of Wrapping Paper | $18

I’m obsessed with my John Derian coffee table book, and this wrapping paper and gift tag book is something I use and reuse over and over again. The gift that keeps on giving!

Egg Frying Pan | $16

Now you can perfectly cook your breakfast without anything touching! Perfect for those picky eaters or anybody who loves a good fried egg.

How to Host a Secret Santa Gift Exchange

Lastly, we have the infamous Secret Santa! In this gift exchange, each person is randomly assigned someone else to secretly give a gift to. We like to use Draw Names to help us out! The fun part is that it’s anonymous, and you have time to plan the perfect gift. So, whether it’s in the office, among friends, or with family, you can refer to our full 2023 Gift Guide Collection to help you on your gift-hunting trip.

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What do you think?

  1. Joan Young says:

    Hi Julia, I always get a little confused when you’ve always sworn by Neccessaire and then you rave about another product to do the same thing like the Bum Bum cream. Which should I purchase?

    • I use Neccessaire EVERY day. I like the unscented best, especially right after the shower and I keep the hand lotion in my purse. I like the bum bum cream for extra shine and scent.

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