Is It Necessary to Give Guests a Party Favor?
While giving a favor to party guests is a very sweet custom, it's certainly not required. They're merely intended to serve as a thoughtful way to express thanks to your guests for attending your party, and a memory to take home of the special event.
Of course, it's understandable that your guests may have been looking for something as they left the party.
Party favors have become commonplace, as well as more creative and expensive in recent years, much more than is necessary. Your guests have been conditioned to expect something. Whether it's a children's party favor, a bridal shower favor, or a 50th Anniversary Party favor, I've seen hosts who have spared no expense. Unfortunately, this trend has created unrealistic expectations and put additional expense pressure on the host or hostess.
A party favor is not supposed to be an even exchange of gifts, such as a gift in return for a birthday gift with the same expenditure. The phrase, "it's the thought that counts", truly applies in this situation. In fact, in more recent years, some hosts will make a charitable donation in the name of all guests in place of an actual item for each guest. Each guest receives a card notifying them that a gift was made in their name. Many guests appreciate that more than an expensive trinket that will add to the clutter in their home.
The next time you host a party, if you'd like to give an actual favor to guests, there are many inexpensive, thoughtful, items you can give that won't sit around collecting dust. For example, home baked or purchased cookies or quick bread; a delicious piece of gourmet chocolate or chocolate lollipop; a small potted herb; a photo of the guest taken at the event; a few high-quality tea bags; a nice pocket size hand cream.
Think of things that can be used, enjoyed and then tossed when done. Wrap these favors attractively in a box or small fabric bag tied with a bow that matches the color theme of the party. Then your guests will feel thanked and treated. However, a party favor doesn't excuse the guest of honor from sending his or her own thank you notes for any gifts that were given for the celebration.