Tuesday, July 7, 2009

On Tea Parties

Tea is popular. Not only traditional black tea, but green, white, herbal, spiced, and chai, among others, are available for your enjoyment. If you can't find one you like, you haven't tried hard enough. However, tea is not, for whatever reason, much of a social beverage here in America. Coffee, alcohol, but rarely tea--and it is a shame, a fact quite clear to anyone who has ever attended a decent tea party.

The versatility of a tea party makes it available to women of all tastes. One may host an intimate gathering of a few friends, or a major occasion with full tea pots and finger sandwiches all down the buffet table. Japanese green tea or Indian spiced chai can accompany a tea party with a cultural theme, and English breakfast tea works well with something more Victorian. Younger girls would enjoy a doll-centric tea party, and those somewhat older can appreciate one with an Alice in Wonderland theme. The possibilities are endless.

Yet, whatever style you choose, a tea party is a quiet, sophisticated social, and an arguably superior venue for a girls' get-together. The very atmosphere demands peace and dignity, and is a marvelous excuse to dress up in attractive frocks with bows and lace. To host is to show off your entertaining skills, and to attend is to simply enjoy an afternoon in the company of your friends. Weekly or monthly tea parties may be hosted by a different friend each time, for variety and to share the hostess responsibilities.

Tea parties can have a financial advantage over luncheons and dinner parties as well. Coming after lunch but before dinner, you need pay less for food, and the little sandwiches, tarts, and scones often involve less fuss than a true meal. Additionally, tea is cheaper than alcohol; one tea bag will steep through a full pot.

Don't think tea parties must leave out men, either. You'll have to provide more in the way of food, certainly, but if you can convince them that it isn't too terribly feminine, and keep the lace to a minimum, a tea-centric gathering of well-dressed friends would be an entertaining afternoon for all.

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