Party Favor Favorites

By Sharon Naylor

October 11, 2013 5 min read

When you host a holiday party or the holiday dinner for your family and friends, it's a wonderful finishing touch to your celebration to offer adorable, unique favors for your guests to take home. You have two options: Either buy or make holiday-themed favors, using the do-it-yourself craft option to personalize your little gifts and create an activity for kids to join in on.

Here are the top trends in holiday party favors.

*Edibles

Party guests love edible favors. They can enjoy them in the car on the way home or snack on them another day. "Everyone loves my frosted spiced bars so much. I served them on a platter for my party dessert bar, and our guests enjoyed them during the party, and then I packaged up single bars as their take-home favors, along with a printed card of my recipe," says Melanie Everett, who hosts her neighborhood holiday party every year.

A popular trend in edibles are individually packaged baked items such as bars, brownie squares, fudge squares, rum balls, holiday-themed frosted cookies, cake pops and handmade chocolates in holiday shapes. Stock up on cellophane favor baggies at your craft store to keep edibles safe. Add some extra holiday flair to the baggies with colors and patterns (like snowflakes), and tie them with ribbons or twist-ties.

Other edibles include personalized M&M's with a holiday message or a holiday design from the website My M&M's. This season, you'll also find personalized Hershey's candy bars, York Peppermint Patties, Hershey's Kisses and other poppable sweets with cute holiday-themed wrappers. Scoop a good amount of kisses into a baggie, and there's a favor your guests will enjoy.

Simple break-and-bake cookies from your grocer's refrigerator section are always crowd-pleasing favors, especially when you make a variety that includes chocolate chunk and peanut butter, giving guests their choice from labeled platters or bowls set by your door.

Packaged cookie mixes let guests go home and bake their own, and packaged hot chocolate mixes also provide a later-on treat, with personalized or holiday-themed labels thanking guests for attending your party.

Of course, there are Godiva truffles in classic milk chocolate and dark chocolate presented in mini ballotins, or in individual truffle flavors you choose at the store (Champagne, pumpkin spice, berry!) and then package yourself in your store-bought favor baggies.

And then there is the big trend of homemade jams and jellies, which are made using fruits and berries you may have harvested from your own garden and canned earlier in the year. Your signature jams are made with love, and guests appreciate the time you took to do so.

*Usables

Little photo frames are passe as party favors, but little photo frames that double as ornaments are a fresh new take on the idea, providing guests a cute way to display their own photos on their Christmas tree. Other ideas for usable holiday favors include:

--Snowflake-decor wine bottle stoppers.

--Snowflake-motif bookmarks, which can be used all winter long, unlike a Christmas-specific design such as a stocking or Santa.

--Personalized, holiday-themed lip balms (many just 99 cents, as a budget-saving option).

--Coasters with snowflake or ice-effect designs.

*Favors for Kids

If children will attend your holiday party, have a party-favor bowl for them filled with holiday-themed bracelets, lip balms, stickers, stamps, erasers and other non-candy options chosen with safety in mind.

And a big new trend in party hosting is providing bags of organic pet treats for guests to take home to their four-legged family members who couldn't attend the party.

*Charitable Favors

In place of take-home favors, a big trend that has come to holiday parties from the wedding world is donating to a charity. This is, after all, a season of giving. So display a sign letting guests know that you've made a donation to a terrific reputable charity such as the World Wildlife Fund or the Arbor Day Foundation or a health-oriented charity in memory of a survivor or departed relative who was loved by all of your guests.

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