holiday party favor ideas

holiday party favor ideas

If you are in the midst of planning a holiday party of any kind, you might be worried about favors. First of all, I would think about whether you need favors at all. Holiday parties were one casualty of the economy tanking – some companies eliminated them altogether, while others scaled them down to a shadow of their former selves. If your company (or association, group, etc.) is running low on funds for the holiday party, eliminating the favors might be a good idea. Most likely your employees (or volunteers, or guests, etc.) won’t even miss them.

If you still want to proceed with a favor, consider your budget. If this is a work holiday party and the guests are employees, any money spent on lavish favors could be perceived as money that could have been given directly to the employee as a bonus – so tread carefully. If you do want to spend a lot, make sure you select something that your guests would truly appreciate, such as gift cards (which is basically like giving cash). Consider several gift options – such as a bottle of wine or a fancy cheese basket – that way people can select the item they want more.

If you aren’t planning on spending a lot of money and just want it to be a small token, make sure it’s something that is useful. Just printing your company name on a pen and giving it out probably won’t cut it. Consider some sort of tool, such as a wine opener or coasters. Those types of items are still affordable but look more like holiday party favors (not like you raided your company’s promotional swag closet).

Ornaments are popular (so long as you won’t offend your guests), so long as they are tastefully done. If you do ornaments every year, you can change them from year to year so employees feel as if they are starting a collection. This is also a way to incorporate the theme of this year’s party.

One idea that I love that is pretty cost effecting is having a proffesional photographer do portraits – especially if you have spouses and/or children at the party. Most couples and families rarely have professional-quality photos of them, plus if it’s an evening affair, the guests are likely dressed in their best. You can hire a photographer and just collect the photos digitally and email them the next day, or you can have them print the photos right there and the photos are a take home gift. You can even provide inexpensive frames. This might be an opportunity to have some fun with the backdrop for the photos to have it blend with your party’s theme – just err on the side of caution and stay away from a company branded backdrop so your guests don’t feel as if they are props in a promotional shoot.

One last piece of advice – beware the DIY. Lots of overzealous planners with low budgets figure out a cute homemade favor that would be really affordable. However – it probably takes way too much time to make, wiping out any cost savings. I made this mistake last year when I hand-stamped 200 wooden ornaments for a holiday party, and then tied all the ribbons by hand as well. It took way too long (my poor husband ended up having to help me so I’d get them done in time – he’s such a saint!) and because I had spent so much time and energy on it, it was easy to take it personally if not every guest wanted one or appreciated how much effort went into it. I learned my lesson – no more DIY crafts for the company holiday party!

Those are just a few ideas for holiday party favors. What do you suggest?

Related: Holiday party themes & ideas

{Photo Credit:  Punchbowl }