The holidays are a time for fun and traditions. For the past nine years, I’ve been hosting a holiday tea party for some of the other teachers at my school. Everyone looks forward to it each year. Here’s how I plan for this exciting holiday event.
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Holiday Tea Party Invitations
The first impression your guests will have of your tea party is the invitation you send. I’ve found a different invitation each year to start the excitement for the event. One of my absolute favorite invitations was the one I used for my very first tea party. You write all of the details about the date and location on the tea bags, and they slide down into the tea cup. All of my guests loved it!
This year, I printed my own invitations. I found this adorable design on Canva. I put it on the cover of a card that I created in Microsoft Publisher. After adding the details inside, I just printed them and delivered them. That saved me time and money while still getting my guests excited about the event.
Holiday Tea Party Decorations
One of the best things about hosting a holiday tea is that most of your decorating is already done. All of your holiday decorations set the mood for the party, and not much more is necessary. The one area I focus on is my tablescape. A beautiful holiday tablecloth, placemats, and napkins will wow your guests. Since they will be spending the most time at the table, this will be the focus of the party.
I purchased my tablecloth, placemats, and napkins at Kohl’s when I had a 30% off coupon. It was after Christmas, so they were already discounted. The total was under $20, and I’ve been using these for the past 3 years.
Since it’s a tea party, the one necessary item is tea cups. I have a very eclectic collection of tea cups. When my guests arrive, they choose their seat based on their favorite tea cup. I received some of them from my grandmother. The rest I picked up at various stores over the years, or I received them as gifts.
Holiday Tea Party Menu
The menu is the most important part of your tea party. You want a wide assortment of foods people can pick up with their fingers. I always serve a first course of appetizers and tea sandwiches and a second course of dessert and scones.
As my guests arrive, they are greeted by a counter filled with delicious appetizers. Each year I try to change what I serve, but here are a few favorites that I almost always make. There is never any of the hot bacon cheddar dip left by the end of the party. Everyone loves it served on Ritz Crackers.
- Olive Garden Copycat Caprese Flatbread from Carrie at Carrie’s Experimental Kitchen
- Hot Bacon Cheddar Dip from Holly at Spend with Pennies
- Broccoli and Cheese Mini Quiches from Anna at Crunchy Creamy Sweet
It’s not a tea party without finger sandwiches. You can fill them with anything you like. Just make sure you cut the crusts off and cut them into small triangles. I always make 3 types of tea sandwiches because my server has three tiers. These are a few of my favorites.
- Egg Salad – from Jaclyn at Cooking Classy
- Cucumber Tea Sandwiches with Lemony Dill Spread from Tracey at The Kitchen is my Playground
- Chicken Salad with Almonds and Tarragon from Gerry at Foodness Gracious
Scones are essential to a tea party, just like the tea sandwiches. The first few years I experimented with different scone recipes. Then, I discovered the Barefoot Contessa’s recipe, and I’ve been using it ever since. They are light and flaky, and I love the combination of the cranberry and orange flavors. Make sure you serve your scones with jam and Devonshire cream.
- Cranberry Orange Scones from Ina Garten
- Devonshire Cream from Maggie at Smashed Peas and Carrots
- Chocolate chip cookies from Kim at The Baking ChocolaTess
- Linzer Tarts – my own recipe
- Cheesecake bites – my mom’s recipe, which I’ll be posting later this week
- Sugar Cookies from Katrina at In Katrina’s Kitchen
Of course, you can’t have a tea party without tea. I like to offer a wide variety of teas so my guests can choose their favorites. I have water boiling in a teapot on the stove when my guests arrive. Then, I fill their teacups as they choose a seat. I always have milk, sugar, and lemon on the table for my guests to add to their tea.
Holiday Tea Party Favors
You want to leave your guests with something to remember your tea party. I’ve had lots of different favors over the years. Some of the favorites were teacup candles and a teapot timer. This year I’m trying something different. Usually everyone is so full after the first course that they don’t have room for dessert. I end up with tons of leftover cookies. When I was shopping at the Dollar Tree, I found some adorable tin containers. Each one has a different design. I put a piece of foil inside each one, and my guests will be able to fill it with chocolate chip cookies, linzer tarts, and scones before they leave. Now my guests can choose their seats based on their favorite teacup and favor.
Every person I invited is attending my tea this year. They know they can expect a great time filled with friends, delicious foods, and great conversations.
What are your special holiday traditions?
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