Amidst the sparkle of fireworks we have welcomed 2016 into our midst in her glistening new gown of promise. While I am quite glad of 2016’s company, her arrival prompts the end of the holiday season. Which means the flurry of cookie-swaps and Christmas themed tea parties have also come to an end.
Part of me is partied out and content to resume the quiet rhythm of ordinary life. The other part, however, soon tires of ordinary. I like extraordinary. Festiveness. I like celebrating, decorating, and dress up. And I hate the feeling that one must wait for the holiday season in order to enjoy those things.
I don’t want to wait an entire year before I have another tea party. And why must I?
Why do we feel compelled to have a “reason” for festivity? As though we require a holiday’s permission before we can indulge in something special. Perhaps it’s because we have legitimate responsibilities, but I think it’s mostly because we make celebrations too complicated.
Not every tea party has to have four homemade courses, fifty guests, and a table decorated with all your best china in an attempt to replicate a scene from Downton Abbey. I love fancy, but simplicity is not a plain-Jane substitute. Rather simplicity frees us to enjoy the extraordinary delight of celebration throughout the year.
So let’s not pack merriment away with the tinsel! Instead let’s invite simplicity over for a cuppa.
Ways to Simplify Your Tea Party.
Combine Paper Ware with Fine China
I love fine china, but unfortunately, it does not get along with dishwashers. Therefore, when I wish to simplify and decrease post-tea-party-clean-up, I combine china pieces with paper ware. Usually I’ll mix porcelain tea cups with paper plates. Not plain white ones that you’d see at a BBQ. You can now find lovely paper plates with designs that match your theme. I often use Punch Studio plates found at my local TJMaxx or Marshall’s.
Instead of ordering expensive floral centerpieces or spending great lengths of time crafting decorations, simply shop your home. What collections span your shelves? What’s in your closet? What’s blooming outside your window? Peruse what’s at your disposal and use it to create free décor and inspire your tea party theme. A small grouping of hats becomes a Mad Hatter Unbirthday Party. An antique book collection and a single rose from the front yard, a Beauty & the BeasTea. Doing this not only saves time and money, but it also expresses your personality by displaying beloved items collected over time.
Combine Homemade Food with Store-bought
Serving store-bought food does not make you a bad hostess. Truly. I often combine homemade dishes with store-bought ones to limit prep time. Just keep a few things in mind. 1) Never serve anything that you have not tasted. For your guests’ sake, sample all store-bought food prior to your party to ensure it’s as delicious as you imagine. 2) Use store-bought food as a way to cover your weakness. If you make a famous chicken salad but can’t bake to save your life, then buy scones from a local bakery and save your kitchen time for your culinary strengths.
Tea Party for One
Sometimes a 21st century Victorian lady needs a little R&R. Peace, quiet, and solitude. Especially after the hustle and bustle of the holidays. When you’re in the mood for a tea party, but not necessarily in the mood for company, pamper yourself with the simplicity of a tea party for one. Light a single candle, pull out a good book, and brew yourself a strong cuppa in a charming tea-for-one pot. Then spoil yourself by opening a box of shortbreads—just for you!
What do you love most about tea parties? I’d love to hear from you in the comment section. And for those in need of that good book to accompany their solo tea party, might I recommend my brand new release, The Substitute Bride! It’s a Victorian Era novella, set in jolly old England, which can be found in The Lassoed by Marriage Romance Collection.