You know what kind of little girl doesn’t like having a tea party? The kind of little girl who’s never had the chance to have a tea party. Okay, there’s also my niece, and maybe some other little girl that you know who’d rather tear the head off a stuffed animal than find it a seat in the garden for a spot of tea. But, seriously, otherwise–little girls really like tea parties.
Little girls also like it when a tea party becomes a special occasion. Not enough parents think of that. For example, they can get too busy planning their own schedule around Christmas parties, and forget about how much a little girl would enjoy a holiday tea party of her own–especially if she gets to replace her usual stuffed guests with real live friends!
But first, let’s be realistic. We’d all love a picture of some perfectly dressed little girls in their nicest outfits and politely posing around a table near a Christmas tree while they hold out their pinkies and down tea from a little cup. Maybe you can even get that timeless snapshot if you gather everybody around at the very beginning of the party. That’s when it’s still a novelty. There’s still a lot of potential in stressing the peacefulness of a tea party. Some girls are all ready to be very sophisticated about the whole thing.
Besides, you’re going to have to bring out your best tea party finery. If you have any kind of real china–or anything fairly upscale–break it out and hope nothing gets broken. That’s the kind of thing that makes a Christmas tea party very special.
After you’ve set the date and time, plan a simple menu. Cucumber sandwiches might be asking a lot of a little girl’s palate. They’re still easy to make as a grown-up food for them to try. Turning a little girl’s regular favorite sandwiches into a finger food is also a lot of fun. Holiday cookies look great on the table, and scones are a sweet treat to add yet another level of sophistication.
Most of your work will go into the table setting. We’ve already discussed that you need to put away the plastic toys and go with some (relative) finery. Cloth napkins also make a real impact on little minds. Place cards for your guests are a fun project, and an ideal way to mix an elegant idea with the charm of a child’s attempt to get something right. No pressure on them, of course.
And once you have everyone gathered around, a tea party pretty much takes care of itself. It’s all about eating (daintily) and all kinds of conversation. You might be pleasantly surprised at how talkative a child can get in a formal setting. Children can also really welcome their own break from the hectic times of the holidays. A tea party can mix Christmas with calmness. That doesn’t happen very often.
And you still enjoy all the benefits of a regular tea party. You can encourage conversation (including the sharing of memories) and enjoy a rare opportunity where it’s part of the game to speak quietly and not slurp. Play your tea party right, and you’ve got a grand Christmas tradition that might last to their teens!