December 1, 2020

From teddy bears to princesses, cookies to gingerbread men – fun ideas for your tea party!

Hosting a holiday tea party is an easy and fun way to entertain close friends or family during this COVID-19 holiday season. And with New Orleans’ usual lovely and temperate December weather, you can hold your tea party in the backyard for greater social distancing. 

First Things First 

Draw up your guest list. And be sure to “stick to your tribe,” limiting your invitees to those friends and/or family members you have been safely associating with these past few months.  

The guest list will also help you and your child decide upon a theme, which will in turn will drive your invitations and decorations, and party activities.  

Theme Ideas 

  • Little girls might choose princess dress-up (with dolls as extra guests) or teddy bears. 
  • Boys might like teddy bears dressed in bow-ties (or make paper bow-ties on the day of the party). 
  • If you’re planning to bake at the party, a pastry chef theme would be fun, with chef’s hats given to the guests when they arrive, or paper hats decorated and sent as invitations. 
  • For a Kris Kringle gift exchange party, guests can dress as elves or elf hats can be sent as invitations to wear on party day. 
  • An ornament decorating party could include baskets of different sized plain ornaments with glitter pens, glue, sequins, bows, and more at work tables or stations.   

Make sure your guests know to bring their dolls, teddies, elves on the shelves (or whatever item) with them on the big day. 

Decorations 

Carry over your theme into the decorations. For a classic tea party, arrange cut flowers in extra tea pots and tea cups to decorate your tables. Teddy bears of all sizes or bright paper bow-ties can decorate your house and the front door if you opt for that theme.  

If your daughter chooses a princess tea, decorate your tables in Cinderella blue or Belle yellow, with either birds or red roses as accents.  

For a baking party, tie ribbons on cookie cutters to decorate your tables and Christmas tree. And then give these or cute holiday oven mitts to your guests as a party gift.  

Tea and Other Beverages 

Well, it is a tea party, so tea should definitely be served! Choose caffeine-free flavors for the kids, and opt for a fun holiday flavor like gingerbread spice, candycane, or caramel apple. And then consider brewing a classic such as Earl Grey or English breakfast for the grownups.  

If you’re planning to bake cookies at your party, nothing says the holidays like hot cocoa with cookies straight from the oven! Another December favorite everyone can enjoy is sparkling apple cider, served either in teacups or flutes.   

Menu 

Who doesn’t love tea sandwiches (aka finger sandwiches)? Flavors can be as simple as peanut butter and jelly for little ones, and as extravagant as smoked salmon and caviar for grownups.  

Classic holiday ideas: 

  • Cucumber sandwiches 
  • Egg salad sandwiches 
  • Smoked turkey and chutney sandwiches 
  • Potato Latkes with sour cream and applesauce 
  • Currant or cranberry scones 
  • Chocolate-dipped strawberries  
  • Petit fours 
  • Pound cake 

Cookie or Gingerbread Baking 

If your little guests will be baking, make your cookie or gingerbread dough a day in advance and keep it cold in the refrigerator until ready to decorate. Use only a small portion at a time, keeping the rest cold; this way, the dough will stay pliable and be easy to work with. Have aprons, towels, and plenty of different cookie cutters on hand. 

Set up different work stations at your counter (or tables) both to keep some social distance and prevent cross-contamination from licked fingers and tools. Each station should have a tray holding separate ramekins for decorating, like icing, red hots, colored sprinkles, and M&M’s.   

Other Entertainment 

Who doesn’t love singing Christmas carols or Hanukkah songs? Answer: no one! Download a playlist in advance and set leave time for everyone to sing their favorite holiday songs.  

No matter the theme you choose or number of guests, your party is limited only by your and your child’s creativity and love of the holidays. 

Looking to go homemade this year? Find some fun ideas that any recipient would be thrilled to receive here.


Photo of Nola Family editor Trevor WisdomTrevor Wisdom is managing editor of nola family and loves throwing thematic parties for all occasions.  

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