Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Tea Invitation

A dear friend invited me to her annual Christmas Tea. It was the first time meeting her circle of friends. High Tea allows girls of all ages to be princesses for an afternoon. Everything was made from scratch. The lights welcoming us inside drew us to a table decorated with the finest setting. My eyes feasted on the vignettes in every corner.

High Tea is about careful details, ritual, and reveling in all things feminine. You want to be your best and enjoy it to the fullest. Gratitude abounds because of the invitation. Ugly can't come in the door. Every woman around the table seems to become more and more gorgeous as the conversation blossoms.

My hostess's deceased mother Helen, was mentioned several times. As I asked questions, it seemed like she was the common thread among them. Her influence had effected each of one.

 One of the stories made a deep impression. Helen kept her table set for tea at all times. Her hospitality was framed in a tangible, enduring way. She was expecting you, hoping you would come and be served delicacies from her heart and hands. A magnetic woman ~ drawing other women to allow themselves the luxury of being nourished.

These are old photos of Helen's welcoming table. 

She also wrote and sent cards to friends all her life. Many of the women there not only had kept each one, but had adopted the habit themselves and were leaving their own legacy.

One precious woman had enjoyed the set table herself so many times, she has been doing the same thing in her home for years.

She drank tea from a cup she had given our hostess many years ago. It was bittersweet for she is ill. Each year she is at the Christmas Tea is a gift, like each day she wakes. Full circle.

I think we have to experience a thing before we can absorb enough to have the wherewithal to give it away. Receiving it like a sponge is the only thing to do in these cases.

We were all reluctant to leave the magic. It was uplifting. The tastes and flavors lingered on our tongues like the memory will in our hearts. One afternoon of respite. One afternoon of nourishment and nurturing. One afternoon of such a gift spills over and drips on everyone and everything around us. It multiplies. I left wanting to pass it on, pay it forward.

Little girl tea parties are as playful as big girl tea parties. As I drove home I felt blessed to have been in the room with so much collective wisdom and luster.

Thank you ever so much for inviting me Kathy. 


  1. Oh that just looks delightful. Truly. I am looking forward to my daughter being old enough for tea parties. :)

  2. What fun! And so many delicious offerings. Your wrote beautifully about the occasion.

  3. Beautiful. I love the pictures. I love how she made a menu! I love what you wrote: "...she was expecting you...hoping you would come." I aspire to this. Thank you for sharing, Kathleen. Very sweet.


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