There has been a renaissance of tea enthusiasts around the world. Unfortunately, taking tea with those outside of the people living with you is not something that will be happening for at least a little while. Most of us have been in isolation for weeks and sometimes months as most businesses are closed, and social interaction is limited to those that can be held online.
While you may feel like we’re endlessly stuck at home, sometimes it’s easy to forget that we are probably all safest there. You can break up the monotony of quarantine life by hosting a virtual tea party with friends, and it may be just the thing to give you the social interaction you’ve been craving while still maintaining social distancing.
A Digital Tea Party?
Yes! Believe it or not, virtual tea parties have been around for a while. As soon as people could do meetings virtually through apps such as Skype and other virtual meeting services, there have been digital tea parties.
Today, by using Skype, Zoom, Facetime, Facebook Live, Google Hangouts, or apps, which can be downloaded to your iPhone or Android device. Most are available either free or for a small fee. These will allow you and your guests to either act as host or take part in a digital tea party that can be the next best thing to getting together at a friend’s home or a local tea room.
Putting it All Together
- Put together a guest list of all the people you’d like to invite to your virtual tea party. Decide on a time and date that works for everyone, then send out virtual invitations. You can let your creativity shine by using templates that are included in most word processing and email programs. Use these or a graphics program to put together invitations that you can send out to the guests of your upcoming tea party.
- Coordinate with your guests to get them set up to attend the tea. Most apps window that allows all attendees to see each other via their computer or smartphone’s onboard camera.
- Make preparations on the day before your tea. This is the time to put together your tea service, make cookies, cakes, sandwiches, and gather all the trappings to make your virtual tea party a success.
- On the day of your party, all you need to do is set out your linens, finger foods, and tea and then to sign in to your chosen app or service. Once you’re together online, you can start enjoying a bit of tea and sharing a virtual experience.
What to Serve
In an earlier blog entry, we posted recipes for traditional tea-time favorites like scones and a variety of sandwiches. These are light and delicious and would be perfect for sharing with others on your tea party guest list.
Of course, no one says you have to go all out for a virtual tea party. You can serve up whatever you have on hand and still take part. While some of us may have a somewhat limited kitchen pantry due to food and supplies being hard to find at this time, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with sharing pictures of your favorites instead.
Have a Themed Virtual Tea Party
Now would be an excellent time to host a themed virtual tea party. Poll your guest list for ideas on what a theme could be. Why not explore some tea traditions from around the world? You could have everyone wear the same color, dress up for a masquerade, or have everyone dress up in vintage attire from the Edwardian Period or the Roaring 1920s. You may even end up feeling as if you’re taking tea with the Grantham family on the set of the BBCs Downton Abbey as you sit down to share the latest news and juicy gossip with your friends and family.
What To Wear
Not being able to go out due to shelter in place and social distancing orders can put a real crimp in your style, especially if you like spending time out with friends. Why not use your virtual tea party to get dressed up? This may be the perfect time for you and your friends to hold a dress-up extravaganza.
Get out that new outfit that you’ve been dying to show off! Or unpack your favorite vintage clothing find or have a courtly virtual event with all of your closest friends without ever having to leave the comfort of home. Pull out all the stops, put on a new hat, your best makeup, and look like a million dollars for your online event.
Get the Kids Involved, Too!
For those who have children at home during quarantine – kids love tea parties, too! Help them break up their day-to-day monotony by getting them involved. Let them help prepare the food for the virtual tea party or even pick out the theme. Why not play to their wildest fantasies and have everyone attending the virtual tea party come as their favorite comic book or movie character? That sense of wonder and excitement, even during quarantine, can be something that eases their boredom and stress and can provide them with a beautiful childhood memory.
Throwing a virtual tea party can give a sense of social interaction for everyone while allowing the participants to stay safe. Most importantly, it’s the kind of break that can provide the fun that all of us are needing right about now!
“Modern Tea:” A Fresh Look at an Ancient Beverage” by Lisa Boalt Richardson, 2014, Chronicle Books, San Francisco, CA
“The Everything Healthy Tea Book: Discovering the Healing Benefits of Tea” by Babette Donaldson, 2014, Simon and Schuster Digital Media, New York, NY
“Tea at Downton Abbey” By Elizabeth Fellow, 2014, Create Space Publishing, Seattle, WA
“Afternoon Tea and Cakes: Enjoy an Afternoon of Luxury at Home” by Linda Gray, 2017, Healthy Living Books, New York, NY
“Tired of Zooming? Try Throwing a Virtual Tea Party.” by Madeline Swanson, Vogue. Vogue, 27 Apr. 2020. Web. 28 Apr. 2020.