For the Month of May, why not have a….

“Little Women” Themed Tea Party! by Emilie Barnes

Nothing like a Tea Party to stir up the femininity in the young and not-so-young ladies!

A tea party is one of my most favorite things! I love the food, the games, the special decorations, and the chance to be with my friends. A tea party is always a fun time of being with people I love.

For a long, long time – since long before card and telephones and computers – tea has been served between 4:00 and 6:00 in the afternoon, and it still is today. A tea party can be very simple – just sharing a cup of tea and something sweet to eat with a friend.

Or a tea party can be very fancy – lots of friends wearing their dressiest clothes and using pretty china and cloth napkins. You can have a tea to celebrate a birthday, a special holiday, or a god report card! Or tea can be just because! There’s always time for tea!

by Emilie Barnes, Let’s Have a Tea Party!

The girls flew about, trying to make things comfortable, each in her own way. Meg arranged the tea table, Jo brought wood and set chairs, dropping, overturning, and clattering everything she touched. Beth trotted to and fro between parlor and kitchen, quiet and busy, while Amy gave directions to everyone. ~ Little Women

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott is my all – time favorite book. Have you read it? It’s the story of four sisters who lived in the 1800s, and it’s wonderful! Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy lived in a world that’s very different from ours, but they’re girls who, like you and me, had their dreams, loved their family, and were not perfect! (Remember when Amy threw Jo’s manuscript into the fire?)

I love to imagine being Jo, telling stories, acting in plays with her three sisters, and, of course, enjoying tea.

If your guests haven’t read the book, watch some or all of the movie Little Women at the beginning of your tea.

Invitations

Choose pretty white or flowered note paper and write a formal invitation like this one:

Add your address before “R.S.V.P.” and your phone number afterward, and of course use your name instead of mine!

Marmee’s Surprise Table

The March family lived during the Civil War. Since Mr. March was away, Mrs. March (her four daughters called her “Marmee”) didn’t have much money. But the girls and their mother loved being together and they enjoyed what they did have.

So, for your tea, start with a plain white tablecloth like the March girls used. See if you can find an older, slightly worn but still pretty one like the March family might have had.

Put flowers in a pretty vase and wrap ivy around it, let- ting some vines trail onto the table.

Old handkerchiefs make perfect napkins for your old-fashioned table. (If you can’t get handkerchiefs, cut some squares of pretty cloth.)

And here is an idea for your “open book” placemats. If you want to perform a short skit with your guests (a favorite pastime for the March sisters), you could write their parts on their placemats. Or copy a favorite (and short) passage from the book. Or write a description of one of the characters. After all, each of your friends will be dressed up as one of the March girls. I’ll talk about that next.

Jo’s Dress-up Box

Before the party, fill a large box or chest with old-fashioned clothes (long skirts, high-necked blouses, cameo pins, high button shoes) and pretty hair rib- bons and snoods (those little nets that hold a tucked-under ponytail at the back of your neck).

When your guests arrive, have each one dress up like one of the March girls. You can either ask someone who knows how to braid to come and braid each guest’s hair or you and your friends can practice on each other.

Since the March girls loved to act, you might ask each guest to take on the role of one of the sisters while you have your tea. (It’s okay to have more than one motherly Meg, energetic Jo, peaceful Beth, or spirited Amy.)

You and your guests could perform a scene from the book or make something up on your own.

And here are a couple of recipes you can use for your Tea Party:

Pretty Petit Fours:

by Taste of Home. Recipe here.

Cherry Bonbons ~

Maraschino cherries with stems

Semisweet chocolate chips

Take the cherries out of the jar they come in and put them on paper towels so the liquid can drain off. Then fill a small deep container (like a coffee cup) with chocolate chips and place it in the microwave. To melt the chocolate, heat it on high for 20 seconds, open the microwave and stir the chocolate, and then heat it again for 20 more seconds.Continue heating the chocolate at 20-second intervals until it is just melted. Or melt on a double boiler on the stove.

Then hold the cherries by their stems and dip them in chocolate. Set the dipped cherries on wax paper. Chill these bonbons in the refrigerator.

More Fun! Some more Ideas for your Tea Party~

MISS ALCOTT’S GIRLS— Read aloud chapter one of Little Women or, as I mentioned earlier, watch a movie version of this special book.  Do this at the beginning of your party if your friends haven’t read the book.

GUESS WHO?— If your friends know the story well, ask each one to choose a character from Little Women. Then play a “20 Questions” game. Have your friends take turns asking yes/ no questions to each other (one person answers at a time) to try to figure out who each girl has chosen to be.

BOOK TRADE— Have each guest bring a favorite book to the tea. Give everyone a chance to tell why they brought their book. If you want, and if your guests know each other well enough, encourage them to trade books for a few weeks. Make sure people who trade books know who is borrowing theirs and when they will get it back. It’s a good idea to have the owner of the book write her name, her phone number, and the date she’s expecting it back on the inside front cover. Book owners may also want to have those who borrow their book sign their name and date on the inside back cover. You and your guests might even decide to make a certain day each month “Book Trading Day.” It might be fun to see which book has the most signatures at the end of the year.

SECRET TREASURE JOURNAL— Give each of your guests 16 sheets of lined paper (the kind with the holes) and three pieces of pretty ribbon. Tie the ribbon through the holes to make a secret treasure journal. Then let your friends decorate the cover with stickers, stamps and marking pens. Each of your friends will now have something to write their dreams and memories in.

Pictures of friends’ lovely Tea Party held in Connecticut last year…

Religious have no need of particular friendships, but those living in the world need them as a mutual strength and aid in the many difficult passages that have to be crossed.
For those who live in the midst of the world and yet strive for true virtue, it is necessary to ally themselves to one another by a holy and sacred friendship through which they stimulate, assist and encourage each other toward good.Those who walk on level ground do not need to hold hands, but those who climb steep and slippery roads need to hold on to each other in order to progress more securely.
-St. Francis de Sales

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