I’ll admit that I’m a sucker for anything old-fashioned. I love touring historical homes, reading historical fiction (aka Little Women over and over again), and watching documentaries about all different times and places. I credit American Girl Dolls (and the books that accompanied them) for starting this obsession. And to this day, I still can’t pass an American Girl store without taking a quick (45 minute) look around.
As I’ve grown to love all things yesteryear, I have found myself longing for the simpler things in life, like they had way back when: cards after dinner, conversation rather than TV, and afternoon tea.
I can think of nothing more delightful than being mindfully present with loved ones over a steaming cup of tea in the hour before dinner preparations must begin. Admittedly, I usually spend this hour getting my kids off the bus, getting them a snack and chatting for a few minutes, then going back to whatever household task I was doing before they got home.
But how fun would it be (for me and for them) to make a special afternoon ritual of tea time? What a lovely way to not only enjoy self-care with my family, but also to teach my boys the importance of slowing down, and conversing (without screens) for a bit? So I’m going to institute a tea time in my house…at least for me, but who knows…I have a feeling with a little advance preparation, the boys will want to spend time with their dear old mom over tea (or juice) every so often.
“The habit of afternoon tea in your home is such a pleasant one that it is to be recommended for all those whose hours and way of life permit it.” – Carolyn Coggins, Successful Entertaining at Home (1952)
How to bring tea time back
Historically, tea time was held for about an hour, between 4-5 pm. You can decide on a time that will work best for you, but that’s about the time that will work for me, as my kids get home from school just after 4. If you work outside the home, why not have tea time at your desk when possible? Or maybe you can save tea time for the weekends when you are home with your loved ones for more of the day. Whatever you decide is fine!
Once you have chosen a time, choose a place. I’m planning to use our dining room, as it’s away from the temptation of TV, and it just feels more fancy and fun to use the dining room table. You do you.
Now it’s time to talk about the menu. Let’s be real: that’s the best part. In my mind, anything goes. But having been to afternoon tea with my BFF at Alice’s Tea Cup (highly recommend!), I’m taking a cue from their amazing menu: scones, tea sandwiches, mini cookies, and of course, tea. Again, you can have whatever you want – I’m thinking that simply hitting up Trader Joe’s will make it easy enough to find some sweets and savorys we can all enjoy.
“There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.” – Henry James
The real appeal of tea time
I suppose the real reason the thought of tea time appeals to me is that it’s a time to be intentional about self-care, whether alone or with others. It feels so very hygge or fika, whichever you prefer. And I don’t know about you, but I feel like along with love, sweet love, those are two things that there’s just too little of.
So what do you think? Are you going to help me make tea time a thing again? Maybe you already do! If you have any tea time tips, please don’t hesitate to share them with us in the comments!