A tea party, outside of politics, is a social gathering for the small meal known as “afternoon tea”. It’s less weighty than a dinner or a lunch, typically featuring tea and finger foods, and may even include some light entertainment or activity on top of the usual mealtime banter.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I love a good low-key affair. Even more if it includes a theme I like. Forget Sexy Santa and James Bond (you’d be serving cocktails for this), here are a few ideas for kitsching up your very own nerdy tea party.
Star Wars tea party
Pour tea in style from an R2D2 ceramic teapot or Stormtrooper ceramic teapot. These Stormtrooper teacups and saucers come closer to standard tea party ware, but the Star Wars musical mug adds to a more casual ambience. For a more down-to-earth, DIY feel, grab some plain coloured crockery in a variety of Star Wars-esque colours (black, white, brown, gold) and draw the features of your favourite characters with a porcelain pen. Bring out your Princess Leia cupcakes, Wookie Cookies, and Darth Vader truffles on a Millennium Falcon cutting board (wrap in aluminium foil if your friends also watch Robot Chicken). Entertain your guests with a game of Celebrity Head, featuring characters from the movies, or step it up and use the whole universe if you’re that way inclined.
Star Trek tea party
Serving your guests with Captain Picard’s tea set is an impressive but expensive ask for a casual Star Trek tea party. You could get away with any teapot really, as long as your tea is Earl Grey and hot. You may even find those famed, no longer produced Bodum glass teacups up for auction. Tasty trek nibbles include Seltin Pate (Voyager), Algae Puffs (Voyager), and Plomeek Soup (Original Series) – bonus points if you serve your soup in a silver bowl (these Korean rice bowls will do nicely). Finish up with a round of Blowing The Tribble, known more commonly as The Ball of Wool, or some hilariously violent Are you there, Moriarty?
Super Mario theme day
This Turtle Teapot is a classy, subtle nod to the genre, as are these Mushroom Mug Cups, but if you don’t mind larger vessels on the tea table, these Level-Up Pipe Mugs and Power-Up Mugs will give you the exact Mario aesthetic. Help your gamer mates snack healthier with Super Mario Mushroom Radishes and Spelt + Cinnamon Cookies, cut into stars. Or indulge for the day with 1-Up Mushroom Cupcakes and Easy Chocolate Truffle goombas (instead of rolling them in coconut, pop two edible silver balls on them for eyes). Coin-related games are an easy nod to the Mario franchise. Try Quarters if you’re not precious about the tea table, Penny in the hole if you are, or Up Jenkins to entertain a larger crowd.
This simple Oil Can tea set ticks the boxes for industrial chic, but any old looking metal teapot will do the trick. The Nut Handle tea cups will set the mood just as well as an on-the-nose Upcycled Steampunk teacups. If you’re a baker, adorn your cookies and cupcakes with Edible Chocolate Candy Gears or opt for simpler Victorian Plaque cookies featuring the colourful vernacular of the era written directly on the biscuit with an edible food pen. To really capture the vintage steampunk spirit, humour your inner history buff and look for traditional Victorian finger food recipes. Charades makes for great entertainment, as well as photo-worthy slapstick if your guests come in costume. For parties with creative types, draw and decorate your own Victorian hot air balloons (instructions in Hungarian; use Google Translate).
Mindfuck tea party
A ‘mindfuck’ tea party is a novel alternative to branded and trend-conscious themes. It relies on good old-fashioned head science for kicks. Start with an awkwardly formed Tilting Teapot to lay a solid foundation of psychological discomfort. Failing that, a custom designed teapot featuring your favourite optical illusion will do the trick (especially for the hungover) at half the price. Serve sour treats and Miracle Berry Fruit Tablets to mess with your guests; be sure to set aside a dish of baking soda in case anyone needs to rinse their mouth out. Play F**k. The Game to test your party’s visual recognition and verbal response skills; try Avalon to doodle with logic, cold reading and treachery; or find a good cryptic crossword puzzle for some co-op pun fun.
Sandy is a writer and maker from Perth, Western Australia. She keeps busy with homesteading, horticulture, football, martial arts, games, code, tinkering, DIY, fussing the cats, and drinking tea. She blogs long things at sanlive.com and tweets short things at @sandysandy.