By Tara Bansal

Published December 22, 2023

A good friend of mine throws a “Favorite Things” Party every year. The idea for this party is that a group of friends choose their favorite thing from the past year and buy enough of them to gift to everyone at the party, so you walk away with gifts from your friends. Depending on how many are invited to the party, you can change the price range of the favorite thing/gift you are willing to bring. I am lucky enough not to need or want any gifts, yet I love learning about things other people like and recommend. A tangible item must be given as a gift. It is fun!

I liked this idea so much that I now have a similar idea with my family. My family is spread all over the country, so we do a virtual Favorite Things Party each year. Everyone sends in a quick picture and write-up of their favorite thing from the year, and we go through the list together on Zoom. We get to connect, learn about each other, and hear recommendations for things we may want to buy or try ourselves. Your favorite thing can be a book, a song, a recipe, a game, or a gadget that you can’t believe you lived without, and since it is virtual, it can be a favorite trip or memory, too. What is nice about the virtual Favorite Things Party is that there is no price limit, and it is all about sharing recommendations and stories from the past year.

I wanted to share this idea of a Favorite Things party and have us present our favorite thing from 2023 here at Princeton Global.

Paul Gerard – When taking a picture of a solar eclipse, it helps to have a rig that follows the sun as it moves across the sky. Below is my favorite new toy of the year. This rig copies and reverses the earth’s rotation to keep the celestial object motionless to the camera.  It will also follow a target in the night sky, so the plan is for many sleepless nights shooting the stars after the solar eclipse on April 8.

Rob Spadaford – My drum kit has long been my garage project. Recently, I added an 8-inch tom tom drum and an 18-inch floor tom drum.  I have learned that adding drums does NOT improve my skill, but it sure looks cooler.

Dan Hanley – Here is my favorite thing:

I decided to watch Saving Private Ryan again for the 1,000th time and was reminded about the sacrifice so many gave. One scene in the movie that I find the most interesting is the reading of the Bixby letter written by President Lincoln. There has been some controversy about whether he even wrote it, but whoever did a wonderful job. GOD BLESS AMERICA.

Lincoln’s Letter to Mrs. Bixby | World History

Dear Madam,

I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle.

I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save.

I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.

Yours, very sincerely and respectfully,

A. Lincoln

George Wislar – Some of my favorite things from 2023 are:

My Ford F-150

And my LG Ultra-Wide Monitor.


Joe Schreiner – My favorite thing from 2023 resides on the bookshelf in the office. It is a hand-carved, teak wood elephant. I purchased this item from a night market in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The elephant holds many memories from my trip this past fall, including our visit to the Elephant Nature Park, a global leader in elephant rescue and rehabilitation.

Francis Keene – my favorite thing for 2023 is that the 1st of my three children got ENGAGED and has scheduled the wedding for March 2024.

The proposal occurred at the Barnegat Lighthouse on Long Beach Island, NJ. We spend much of our summers on LBI.  The belief that I could have my first grandchild in the next few years is extremely exciting.

Being nearby on Long Beach Island when the engagement happened is my Favorite Thing for 2023.

Joel Heymsfeld – My favorite thing of 2023 is the Yankees getting Juan Soto. Click Here to hear Juan Soto talk about his excitement for joining the team.

I have been a Yankee fan since 1952, when I was a young kid. The first game I ever went to was opening day in 1954.

Brett Shaver – My favorite thing of 2023 is a gift I am giving to my son. I am giving “graded” collectible baseball cards to my 11-year-old son. In years past, my son has asked Santa for packs of baseball cards, which are fun to open and organize in binders, but many times, they end up on the floor of his room and are forgotten. Even if he was lucky enough to get a rare card, the handling lessens any collectible value. This year, I considered purchasing a few cards of his favorite players, including two of the top young players in baseball, who are on our favorite team, the Baltimore Orioles. I was immediately overwhelmed by the process of the various “editions” of cards and different values, which are determined by brand, scarcity, and condition (the same as 30 years ago!), but most importantly, “Grade,” which is a new concept to me. Cards that are tradable (liquid) and have higher value are certified by two card grading companies, PSA & SGC. The value between “10 gem mint” and “9 mint” can be more than double, and there is a value difference between PSA cards (premium) and SGC cards. On websites such as Sports Card Investor, you can track the daily prices of various card transactions on eBay. Maybe I got too absorbed as an investment geek, but I believe this is a great opportunity to introduce young fans to collecting/investing. Doing my research, I see a long-term arbitrage opportunity for SGC-rated cards to close the gap to PSA. It just might take some patience! Worst case, Michael will have a few cool-looking cards:

Tara Bansal – My favorite thing of 2023 is a Young Adult dystopian book series my son and I both read called Arc of a Scythe by Neal Schusterman. These books made me think and keep making me think. There is action, ethics, the imagined future of Artificial Intelligence and medical technology, religious allusions and lessons of how some things stay the same, no matter what changes in the future. I highly recommend these books!

Richard Moseley – I was born almost deaf in one ear. One drawback of this challenge is that background noise(s) really make it an effort to concentrate and when extended over a period of time, inevitably leads to splitting headaches. I love to cook. So, a lifelong love-hate relationship with my stove exhaust fan has driven me to distraction…..UNTIL I met my Bose noise-canceling earbuds!  We are now inseparable when I’m in the kitchen as they make the roar of the fan completely disappear while allowing me to hear my wife or my music!


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