Consider a Father’s Day Tea Party

While tea parties are more traditionally thought of as a Mother’s Day tradition or a children’s party theme, don’t sell the men in your family short. Tea parties are easily customized to celebrate the men in your family. And you might even ask yourself if men have been feeling left out when tea parties were limited to women. I’d love to encourage you to consider planning something special for the men in your family with tea. 

This was a theme in the first Emma Lea Book, “Emma Lea’s First Tea Party”. So, I created another book for Emma Lea and her tea-loving family, “Emma Lea’s Tea With Daddy.”

Emma Lea and her father enjoying afternoon tea. An illustration from the book"Emma Lea's Tea With Daddy"

Emma Lea’s Tea With Daddy

In 2009, I wrote the picture book, “Emma Lea’s Tea With Daddy”, with the intention that it could inspire families to create new and meaningful traditions with tea. I imagined that it could be used to start a trend towards Father’s Day tea parties. In the story, Emma Lea is proud to surprise her father by creating a simple afternoon tea all by herself. Her father asks asks, “What shall we do at our tea party?”   

She responds, “We can just talk. I can tell you about what’s been happening at school. You can tell me about your work or what you did when you were a little boy. You know . . . Things that matter.”

Tips for Planning Your Father’s Day Tea Party

What makes it a tea party vs. any other kind of Father’s Day gathering? It’s the tea, of course. Do you know if he has a favorite brand? Or favorite blend? Even if he’s a coffee drinker, he may well have a tea favorite. And it could be something iced and refreshing. Sweet and fruity. Or even latte-ish. If he doesn’t have known favorites, you might want to consider a tea tasting activity.

But one of the most important aspects of any family teatime are the do-it-yourself, homemade elements. And these days, when budgets are strained, tea parties are events that everyone can enjoy. In the Emma Lea Books, the food might be fun but the real meaning is bringing family together to create memorable experiences.


Tea Tastings – Make Tea Fun!

  • Create a blend of some of your dad’s favorite flavors. Using a true tea base, add fruit and spices to your own taste. You might even want to make up some of your own flavored syrups or flavored sugars.
  • Introduce Dad and guests to several different kinds of tea. You might intrigue them to take them on a journey from white tea to green, oolongs, blacks and dark (post-fermented) teas. You don’t have to be an expert. Enjoy the learning experience yourself.
  • Compare the same tea served both hot and iced.

Some General Tea Party Tips

  • Use the fancy teaware and glassware. Tea parties are wonderful times to bring out the “good stuff” that usually stays on the top shelf. Make the experience different from every-day.
  • Pick a theme that fits his interests. It could be anything from golf to gardening or Marvel Comics to music. Use these themes to help you plan fun food, decorations and activities. One of the most important aspects to party planning is to show that you know what their favorite things are.
  • What’s your Dad’s favorite color? Incorporating many of his favorite things as elements to your tea can help with you planning.
  • Does Dad have a favorite flower? Men love receiving flowers too!
  • Make a music playlist. Music can be songs anything from easy listening background music to dance songs or sing-along karaoke.
  • Create a menu of his favorite foods. Tea party style finger sandwiches can be fun and flavorful. If he loves his party food meaty and spicy, don’t focus on cream cheese and cucumber. What are his favorite desserts and cookies?
  • Make it special. But keep it easy. Tea parties aren’t just about the food and decor. It’s about inspiring converation and sharing memories. Perhaps starting an annual tradition that the entire family looks forward to.
  • Avoid the tendency to stereotype the tea menu with traditional British/Western preparations.

Recipe from “Emma Lea’s Tea With Daddy”

Rooibos Tea Cookies 

Makes 12-18 Cookies

  • 1 teaspoon Rooibos herbal tea leaves (any brand)
  • ¼ cup boiling water
  • ½ cup buttermilk 
  • ½ cup butter, softened at room temperature
  • ¾ cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest (grated orange peel)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda 
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar (optional)

Infuse the Rooibos tea in the ¼ cup of boiling water. Cover the cup and allow it to infuse until completely cool. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and ¾ cup brown sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in the egg. Then stir in the Rooibos tea and buttermilk. Combine the flower, baking powder and baking soda. Fold these dry ingredients into the creamed mixture. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. 

Bake for 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until the edges turn light brown. Allow the cookies to cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. 

Dusting with powdered sugar is decorative and optional.

Emma Lea Pouring Tea