Having tea together is a sacred custom among many cultures for centuries. The Chinese, Japanese, Dutch, British, Indian and American cultures all have a history with tea. I am a big tea drinker and pretty much always have the kettle on in our house. I usually start the day with Earl Grey and share an evening cup of honey and chamomile tea with my hubby. It is a tradition we share from when we first met and would go out for tea together.
Research shows there are many health benefits to drinking tea. Tea drinkers benefit from antioxidants that help reduce the risk of certain chronic diseases and certain teas are proven to lower the risk of developing heart disease. Drinking tea together as a family or with friends is not only calming, but fun!
Tea parties are a common occurrence at our house. The kids love to pick out a special tablecloth, fabric napkins, fancy dishes and tea cups to decorate the table. We usually have a seasonal centerpiece. Sometimes it’s fresh flowers from the yard or hand made paper flowers or even a large branch in which we hang festive seasonal decorations. Sometimes we have a theme, which could be a country we are learning about – we may dress up and eat treats from that country or culture and play music from that area. We also have poetry tea parties in which we each bring a favorite poem to the table. The verse can be one you’ve written or one from a book or even a story you’ve written or would like to tell. We sometimes dress up in fancy clothes or costumes! All our tea parties usually include a sweet treat or snack we’ve made. We don’t always have tea. At first we drank apple cider, lemonade or hot cocoa, now the kids are really into hibiscus, elderberry, pomegranate, peach, apple cinnamon, peppermint, chamomile even earl grey teas.
It really doesn’t matter what you have to eat or drink – the true gift is spending time together. Something magical always happens in our house as our dining table transforms into a beautiful tea room. We have tea parties with friends, share treats together and make crafts. We have tea parties with family when they visit and we have tea parties together.
You don’t need fancy china to have a tea party, anything that is fun and different will make the whole experience exciting. I have been collecting old china from the flea markets since before I had children. Who knew that they would take such pleasure in sipping tea from our flea market finds? They love picking out their own tea cups and dessert plates (all different and found at local tag sales). Nothing matches, but no one cares because that’s what makes it all the more fun!
In the summer months we love to make our own tea. We grow chocolate mint and peppermint in the garden and the kids will fill a pitcher with water and add the leaves to steep in the sun. We then chill it in the fridge and have an outdoor picnic with our tea. If you don’t have your own garden you can of course throw some tea bags in a pitcher and let them steep in the warm sun too. There’s just something about filling a pitcher with water and letting tea leaves steep in the sun that feels so cool and exciting!
We sometimes play games at our tea parties. Recently Leo suggested we play “I’m going on a picnic and I’m bringing an…. Apple. Then we go around the table and have to repeat what each person says and add to it with a word that starts with the next letter of the alphabet. This is a favorite game of Leo’s right now – although for the letter N he insisted on saying “gnarly farts,” but that is a lesson for another day.
Only recently before this pandemic, my neighbor who is originally from South Africa and speaks with a British accent, was stopping over for tea. It was a sweet time for us to connect, laugh and since she’s a seasoned homeschool mom with 3 grown kids, she is a wealth of knowledge and advice. Leo loves to listen to her speak and since our conversation was about gardening, when she left he was so curious as to why she says tomato different than we do. I explained that she has a British accent and some words are pronounced differently. Well, kids do say the darnedest things because Leo now thinks that he speaks with a British accent and keeps asking me if I understood what he was just talking about because he was speaking “British!” He asked me, “Mom, how do you say I need to use the bathroom in British?” I try very hard not to laugh as he continues to ask me how to say different things in British. So, maybe, as we have, you may find it fun to speak a different “language” at your next tea party. We had a fun time at ours recently, speaking “British!”
This Mother’s Day the kids are planning a tea party – it’s a surprise for me, but word is, they are going to bake brownies! Although we are all practicing social distancing –if you can– have a Mother’s Day Tea Party and invite a special someone in your life who may be alone right now for tea via “zoom.” We also have been having some family and friends for tea that way too! I encourage you all, young and old to make time for tea. It is a special time to pause, enjoy each other’s company and make this special time at home together something to remember and treasure.
Wishing you all a Very Special Mother’s Day.
“Cheers” (-Lets clink our tea cups together): Time for Tea!