How Oprah Picks Her Favorite Things List

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We’re taking you behind the scenes of Oprah’s Favorite Things. Dc Stepper Motor

How Oprah Picks Her Favorite Things List

The launch of each year’s Oprah’s Favorite Things list is a magical time—but for Oprah and the team who helps her choose the featured products, Favorite Things actually starts way back in January. Thousands of products are then tasted, sniffed, applied, tried on, and gifted for months—eventually being whittled down to the expertly curated, roughly 100-product list you know and love.

But how exactly do Oprah and the Favorite Things team pick the products? Here’s a behind-the-scenes look.

“That’s what’s so pure about this list,” says Adam Glassman, Oprah Daily’s creative director (and longtime Oprah’s Favorite Things wrangler). “They really are her favorite things.” Each list is made up of products that Oprah uses on the daily—like Foot Nanny and Peepers eyewear. And that’s another special touch of Oprah’s Favorite Things: Because they’re her favorites, Oprah has no qualms about including the same brands year after year. Truff’s truffle hot sauces, for example, have been featured time and again—because once Oprah found her preferred hot sauce, there was no need to change the formula. For 2023, she picked a white truffle set that includes hot sauce and truffle oil. “Oprah has been recommending products—just for the pure love of it—for 27 years now,” Glassman says. This year, he was especially excited that Oprah could once again be in person in New York City to test all the items.

Oprah enlists a few trusted sources when it comes to putting Favorite Things together. Glassman leads the charge along with Rae Ann Herman, Oprah Daily’s market director, and the two spend the year seeking out the best products they think Oprah would love. Once that list is combined with Oprah’s own suggestions, the team gets to the fun part—trying and testing, of course. And although it is Oprah’s favorites, Gayle gets to have a little say in what’s picked, too. “Gayle has the sweet tooth,” Glassman says. “She loves anything with frosting.” That pairs well with Oprah’s tendency toward savory foods (hence the truffle hot sauce). Since having her first grandchild, Luca, Gayle is also a big help when it comes to picking gifts for kids—like this year’s adorable Safari-themed high-top sneakers.

Glassman explains that the team often works with brands on tweaks to improve their product, or creates a special gift set just for Oprah’s Favorite Things. One example is 2022’s lounge dress from Softies. Glassman knew it would be a home run for Oprah because of its incredibly soft fabric—and if it had one extra thing: pockets. And the product did get Oprah’s seal of approval. (The first thing she said when she tried it on? “Ooh, it has pockets!”) And rest assured: This year’s selection from Softies is just as soft and cozy as last year’s.

“Even if something doesn’t make it one year, we circle back to them time and time again,” Glassman says. “This year we were finally able to include Bukowski Bears.” The team also considers products that have been popular for readers and consumers in the past, ensuring that each Oprah’s Favorite Things list is updated with the best versions of the items people want. And, naturally, Oprah gets recommendations from her closest companions. “Her neighbor Meghan originally turned her onto Clevr,” Glassman says of the latte kit. “By the way, yes, that Meghan.”

“The ability to shine the light on small businesses that would never have as much visibility on their brands is something we’re very proud of,” Glassman says. “It’s a purpose-driven gift list.” That’s also why being able to shop all of Oprah’s Favorite Things on Amazon is helpful—companies with less resources can have their products reach millions. “Products that show a sense of love work very nicely,” Glassman says. And when it comes down to it, Oprah’s Favorite Things has one job: “We love the idea of finding things that bring joy or delight into a person’s life.”

Cassie Hurwitz (she/her) is an associate editor at Oprah Daily, where she covers everything from culture to entertainment to lifestyle. She can typically be found in the middle of multiple books and TV shows all at once. Previously, Cassie worked at Parents, Rachael Ray In Season, and Reveal. Her love language is pizza (New York slices, Chicago deep dish, and otherwise). 

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How Oprah Picks Her Favorite Things List

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