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:: Pie exchange/Favorite things party ::

I love getting together with friends. We love to come up with new ideas for get togethers all the time, and I think that we have hit on another really good one for November. A Pie Exchange! Yup, we will be exchanging some old tried and true family recipes, offer up some helpful ideas for the newbies, and in-between share lots of laughs as well. While it's similar to a Christmas cookie exchange, it's not! But, it is a really fun way to pick up another sweet and delicious dessert for Thanksgiving!

We've decided not to have samples of the pies at the party {with the holidays coming, it's hard enough to watch the waistline right?} Of course you can certainly run your pie exchange party as a fun sampling with guests tasting a sliver of each pie and I think that would be quite fun too! But, because we need to de-stress we will be doing things a bit differently. So, first, we are having our party just a few days before Thanksgiving,  When everyone gets there and the pies are all on the table, we will draw a number, and that is order of who picks out a pie and when. End of pie exchange. Everybody makes and brings just one incredible pie. No more. No less.

However, not the end of the night. We are using this time to throw a favorites party too! A few drinks, a few treats, a new dessert for Thanksgiving... does it get any better than this folks? I think not. So, here are some tips to get you started.

Tips to Plan a Pie Exchange Party
Here are a few tips for you to use when planning your gathering this fall:
The holiday season is a busy time, so make sure all of your friends have plenty of time to prepare, and to find arrangements for kids. This is a  "girls only" for this type of party, since Moms rarely get a girls night out. Check and see which night of the week works out best for everyone first.
No store bought pies allowed! The fun in the entire idea is picking something up to use at your own Thanksgiving and homemade is always more meaningful. 
Have your guests bake their pies at least 2-3 days in advance. A big reason for "no shows" at a recipe exchange party is that guests didn't have time to bake their pie. Make sure your guests do. Give them the time they need, after all this party is so close to Thanksgiving... so much to do!
How to exchange:
First, call the party to order in any fashion you wish -  a bell, a horn, whatever. Then, have each guests introduce their pie and any meaningful story that goes along with it.

Remember, this is different than a cookie exchange,  so you can run this like a white elephant gift exchange.
Hand out numbers at the door (drawing randomly) then, let each person pick and choose as their number is called.
Have guests bring their pies in a disposable container so containers don't need to be sought after once the party is over.
Have guests email their pie recipe before the party that way you can make a cute recipe booklet for everyone.
RSVP as soon as you can in order to ensure that no duplicate pies are made.
Hold the cool whip or whipped cream! Meringue topping is acceptable but anything that won’t last well before Thanksgiving should not be added to the pie.

That's really it for our Pie Exchange ideas. But, I think it's a really great one. Our one rule is "anything but pumpkin pie" simply because everyone already has that, this is for that second, something different pie... you'll love it!

Now, what about the favorites party? we opted this time to spend just $5 and bring 5 of them. So, we set a $25 limit. I am always floored by the wonderful and creative things my friends come up with for just $5. But, I have scored some pretty good buys too. It pays to watch the clearance sales.

A quick reminder of how it works: Each person brings their favorite thing (anything you like.. your favorite lip gloss, favorite kitchen tool, favorite gift wrapping supply, a gift card for your favorite frozen yogurt, etc.). It can't cost more than $5, and
each person brings five of the same thing.

~Favorite Things Exchange~
Think of something that you LOVE that costs under $5. 
Bring five of that item. 
We will draw names and everyone 
will go home with five amazing new finds.

So, when guests arrive at the party, they simply write their name on five slips of paper and then throw them into a big bowl.  At that point, they then set their goodies out on the display table for everyone to see! It's great to get a good look at everyone's favorite things! Later, the bowl is then passed around, and each person takes five names (making sure you don't pick your own name - or - two of the same name). 

Then, one at a time, we each introduced our favorite thing and explain a little bit about it, how much it costs, and of course where you can buy it at. Then, we read the five names we drew from the bowl, passing our gift to those five friends. After everyone has presented their favorite thing, each person should end up with five gifts to take home.

It's a very fun party, you are spending $25 total in gifts, but I think what makes it so fun is all the wonderful things you discover at these parties that you didn't even realize was out there. There are lots of things I would have never tried before had it not been for the fact that I received it here and tried it.

Now, you can make these parties as big or as little as you want to. There have been times that each of us were asked to bring our favorite bottle of wine to share as well and snacks were provided. Other times, we made this party a potluck, once it was a dessert we each brought, and another time was an appetizer party-so, as you can see, as far as food goes, the possibilities are endless.

Also, there have been "themed" parties, such as "your favorite make-up", or "cooking", as I said the ideas are endless and always lots of fun! I think one of my favorites was the "book" party where everyone brought their top 5 favorite books....lots of good reading happened after that!  

Now, your all set, lots of decisions right? Have a great time with your friends and family, and be sure to let me know how things went! I always love to hear about how much fun people had at these parties! 

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