thank you for coming: the party favor

Weekend before last (busy days, guys), I co-hosted an entertaining class/gathering with my Vida Vegan partners, Janessa and Jess. (If you couldn’t attend, we will be putting together an e-book, possibly a printed zine with loads of tips and recipes.) What was one of the biggest stress points? The take-home gift. It’s what our guests would be leaving with and revisiting, reminding them of us and our evening together.

In talking with folks planning weddings and other parties, the favors kept coming up as a concern. Obviously, you want something that won’t just end up being thrown away. Ideally, you’d like it to be useful and enjoyable and somewhat unique. Yet you need to put these together without blowing the budget…even more than you already are by hosting this party in the first place.

While I love little potted succulents with place cards stuck in them and handmade pins incorporated into napkin rings for sit-down dinners, for a more casual gathering, nothing’s easier to present and grab on the way out than the jar-of-foodstuffs. Mason or jelly jars are already useful, and while they’re more expensive than most bags or boxes, they’re half your favor battle. Plus they’re very easy to doll up, by slipping fabric over the top, wrapping in a pretty ribbon, or making a custom label for them.

Then you get to fill them! Here are some easy ideas for filling (that don’t include pastel candy-coated almonds):

  • Dry cookie ingredients, poured in layers
  • Hot chocolate mix with mini marshmallows (Both Sweet & Sara and Dandies come in minis now!)
  • Custom coffee, tea, or spice blend
  • Stack of pretty cookies
  • Homemade candies, like truffles or caramels
  • Homemade flavored syrups

And here’s what we gave our guests: The hot toddy kit, with a Vanilla-Cinnamon Stash tea bag, cinnamon stick, star anise, dried orange peel, and brown sugar cubes. Just add hot water and booze and it’s the perfect wintery warm-up. We would have loved to include a little airplane bottle of whiskey with them, but these ingredients started to add up for us as it was—ain’t it always the way?

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