The Ladies' Tea Guild

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Celebrate with an Independence Day Tea party!

sample tea party centerpiece.
Godey's Lady's Book from 1852 contained a passionate opinion regarding the United States and our national identity. Here is the passage:

"The American people have two peculiar festivals, each connected with their history, and therefore of great importance in giving power and distinctness to their nationality. THE FOURTH OF JULY is the exponent of independence and civil freedom. THANKSGIVING DAY is the national pledge of Christian faith in God, acknowledging him as the dispenser of blessings. These two festivals should be joyfully and universally observed throughout our whole country, and thus incorporated in our habits of thought as inseparable from American life.

Our Independence Day is thus celebrated. Wherever an American is found, the Fourth of July is a festival; and those nations who sit in chains and darkness feel that there is hope even for them, when the American flag is raised in the triumph of freedom. Would not the light of liberty be dimmed were this observation to cease?"

In the spirit of the Americans who've gone before us, why not celebrate their successes and honor their sacrifices by hosting an Independence Day Tea? You could even make it a picnic by spreading a blanket in a local public park, or even in your own back yard. Those lucky people who can see summer fireworks shows from their own homes, can set up the tea party outside in the evening, and have the event end with a bang, so to speak!

Dress up the scene with little American flags (which should be available even in the Dollar Store by now), and home-made items like red and blue paper stars (even snowflakes!), pinwheels, and place mats. Strings of white Christmas lights will also lend a festive touch, plus they are pretty enough to leave up all summer. Red and white peppermints and yellow butterscotch discs can be part of the decoration as well as part of the dessert, alongside strawberry shortcake and blueberries and cream. Lots and lots of iced tea should accompany the food. Bubbles, glow-in-the-dark bracelets and ice cream can add to the fun!

You may not feel supportive of our government's actions, but don't make the mistake of devaluing American ideals, history, and culture. We Americans have so many blessings that it's easy to take them for granted! We must remember that each one was paid for by the blood of those who lived and died before our time, and that it takes continual sacrifice of time and effort to maintain our rights and freedoms. They are worth preserving and celebrating! Why not do it in style with a tea party, I say?

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Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast,
Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round,
And, while the bubbling and loud-hissing urn
Throws up a steamy column, and the cups
That cheer but not inebriate, wait on each,
So let us welcome peaceful evening in.
-- William Cowper (1731-1800)
"The Winter Evening" (Book Four), _The Task_ (1784)