Recently there was a 1905 book I was interested in on eBay. The bidding soon went to $23, which I wasn't willing to pay, so I never even got in the game on that one. To my delight, however, the same book was available on amazon.com for $3.99, and although it's not in the best shape, I wanted this book primarily for the information it contains. The book is "Bright Ideas for Entertaining" by Mrs. Herbert B. Linscott, and it offers "two hundred forms of amusement or entertainment for social gatherings of all kinds: large or small parties, clubs, sociables, church entertainments, etc., with special suggestions for birthdays, wedding anniversaries, Hallowe'en, All Fools' Day, Christmas Day, New Year's Eve, and other holidays."
Several of the parties are specifically designated as tea parties, although I think most of these could probably be adapted to a tea party format. The ones specifically named as tea parties include:
-- Children's Sweet Pea Tea, a flower-themed tea party for children.
-- Conundrum Tea, where food descriptions are written as riddles.
-- Spinster Tea, for girls who "wish to have an evening all to themselves" and where the activities include a time where "each spinster in turn may exhibit the picture of her wooer, and relate her story." (If I'd had to do that during *my* spinster days, I think I'd have slit my wrists.)
-- And the one I thought sounded most fun, a George and Martha Tea. To wit:
"The walls should be hung with red, white and blue bunting, relieved at regular intervals with shields and small hatchets made of flowers in the national colors. Have George and Martha receive the guests, and there may be also a number of men and women attired in colonial costumes to introduce strangers and see that all have a good time. Behind a bower of foliage an orchestra might play the national airs, and as the object of the evening should be to promote sociability, it would be well to have a number of interesting games in which all can join."
(Note to self: Book orchestra *now* before everyone else does.)
There are several Bible-themed parties in the book which I think would actually be useful for ladies' luncheons, and when I read about the Box Party idea, where box lunches for two are auctioned off, I wondered why that couldn't be done with tea party foods. Wouldn't you *love* to receive a pretty box (hat box, fabric covered box, etc.) filled with tea sandwiches and maybe even a cup and saucer? It wouldn't even have to be an auction if you rounded up enough ladies who wanted to do this just for fun. Hmmm ... something to think about!