This week brings the longest day of the year. Where I live, the weather-people predict it will reach the mid-90s. Does this mean it is not the season for the tea party? On the contrary!

“Tea to the English is really a picnic indoors,” Alice Walker said. The spirit of the tea party and picnics DO go together. The flavors of summer burst out of our gardens, produce stands, and BBQs. Why place the beauty of afternoon tea on the shelf?

Summer is when we have TIME (or we’re supposed to anyway) to reconnect with ourselves, nature, and others. Planning a tea party picnic-style can become a summer tradition. The children in your life delight in dressing up and taking tea out under the shade tree with lemonade and mud pies. Consider connecting with the wonder of a childhood summer day and plan a tea party summer-style.

Simple Tips: Brew some iced tea. Dress in an airy skirt or linen shirt. Fill a vase with fresh flowers (if you’re lucky, you can pick some right from your backyard as it’s the height of flower harvest season). Stop by a produce stand and buy some berries. Visit your local bakery and pick up a little-touch-of-something (let the professionals heat their ovens this summer). Find a tablecloth and spread it on the grass or a little round table. Buy some real cream in the form of creme fraiche or ice cream (for the berries, not the tea). Put a few glass-clear tumblers in the freezer to chill. Last, grab a pen and paper, book, or the phone. Settle under the shade tree and write a letter, connect with a favorite character, or invite a friend over. Savor the summer and don’t leave the teapot on the shelf.

I received this quote from Lady Dawnya today that applies to the summer tea party.

“Perhaps that is the true gift of a teatime celebration: It fills our cups with joy and warmth and friendship. May the echo of the teacups’ message be heard not only at Christmas, not only on special occasions, but anytime friends come together.”–Emilie Barnes