What I’ve Learned About Tea Parties from The Mad Hatter

This is a guest post from Susan Hawkins from Party Favors by Favor Affair.

Mad HatterHe might be a few pecans short of a fruitcake, but The Mad Hatter knows how to throw a tea party. I grew up with Disney’s original cartoon version of Alice in Wonderland, and I was spellbound by Disney’s latest 3D interpretation. So, after all these years, I finally read the book, and I discovered that The Mad Hatter, in his own weird way, is a transcendent tea party host. When chapter VII begins…

There was a table set out under a tree in front of the house, and the March Hare and the Hatter were having tea at it: a Dormouse was sitting between them, fast asleep, and the other two were using it as a cushion, resting their elbows on it, and talking over its head.

Moral #1: Make your tea party guests as comfortable as possible. If someone falls asleep, feel free to rest your elbows on her.

The Hatter opened his eyes very wide on hearing this; but all he said was, ‘Why is a raven like a writing-desk?’
‘Come, we shall have some fun now!’ thought Alice. ‘I’m glad they’ve begun asking riddles. I believe I can guess that,’ she added aloud.

Moral #2: Prepare some intriguing conversation topics to encourage thought-provoking interaction among your guests. Like the hatter, pick issues with no definitive answers.

The Hatter shook his head mournfully. ‘Not I!’ he replied. ‘We quarreled last March–just before he went mad, you know–‘ (pointing with his tea spoon at the March Hare,) ‘–it was at the great concert given by the Queen of Hearts, and I had to sing

“Twinkle, twinkle, little bat!
How I wonder what you’re at!”

Moral #3: Provide light entertainment, if at all possible, even if it’s just a bit of background music.

A bright idea came into Alice’s head. ‘Is that the reason so many tea-things are put out here?’ she asked.

Moral #4: Broaden your guests’ horizons by serving variety of teas for them to taste. You might even send them all home with a very special blend, charmingly gift-wrapped, as tea party favors.

Alice did not quite know what to say to this: so she helped herself to some tea and bread-and-butter, and then turned to the Dormouse, and repeated her question. ‘Why did they live at the bottom of a well?’

Moral #5: Serve simple fare like finger sandwiches, bite-size snacks and petit fours at your tea party. Save the grilled Jabberwocky for your big, backyard barbecue.

‘Yes, that’s it,’ said the Hatter with a sigh: ‘it’s always tea-time, and we’ve no time to wash the things between whiles.’

Moral #6: It’s always tea time. (However, if you invite me to your tea party, please wash the things, which are teapots, plates, spoons and teacups. Thank you most kindly!)

‘Have you guessed the riddle yet?’ the Hatter said, turning to Alice again.
‘No, I give it up,’ Alice replied: ‘what’s the answer?’
‘I haven’t the slightest idea,’ said the Hatter.

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