Every Christmas at Dayton Valley Calvary Chapel, they host a tea where you’re supposed to bring your own tea cup and a plate to share. Well, being a bit obsessed with tea, I offered to host which meant I got to decorate a table. To give you a perspective on the size, there were probably twenty plus tables that comfortably sat eight people.
Well, being a nerd, I picked a Downton Abbey theme.
1.) I scoured the internet and found a small British flag that looked like it could have flown through the throws of war. Using our color printer, I went into Microsoft publisher and arranged for two/three flags to be printed per page. Then, tapping those to a red ribbon, I wrapped them around the edge of the table.
2.) Next I found cute paper dolls published by Vulture and printed those out. Knowing there’d be liquids, I laminated them and placed them around the table top for general conversation pieces. Laminating the pictures allowed table guests to take them home if they wanted.
3.) The items standing upright on the table with the flags tapped to the back are print outs of the roles of the Victorian servant, which I found here. Because of shows like Downton Abbey, Upstairs, Downstairs, and Gosford Park, American audiences already know a few of the traditional roles. Victorian Domestic Servant Hierarchy and Wage Scale delineated far more jobs than I needed so I copy and pasted those I knew and printed them out to fit nicely on the table top. It gave those sitting at my table the chance to read the job description and how much the people were paid per year – a vast change from our modern lives.
For example, a Butler is “the highest ranking official servant. Responsible for running the house. Forty to 60 pounds ($4,300-$6,400) per year. He also received considerable “gratuity” money from venders selling goods to maintain the house. In smaller estates the butler assumed the house steward’s responsibilities.”
and a Housekeeper is “responsible for the female staff and maintaining the house’s furnishings. Her salary was usually 5 to 10 pounds less than the butler’s ($3,700-$5,400) per year.”
These wages vary greatly from the lowly scullery maid who basically washed dishes and earned thirteen pounds ($1,300) per year.
Those were the kind of facts my guests could read about and enjoying learning. Included below are my images.
4.) Next, I found quotes from the episodes and using Microsoft publisher, created little cards to scatter along the table. And yes, I made these so if you happen to use them, let me know! If you’d like more, I still have the publisher file which includes two more pages of quote cards.
“We don’t always get our just desserts.” – Lady Violet
“It is easy to admit wrong because I am never wrong.” – Lady Violet
“Love him by all means, but believe in me.” – Matthew Crawley
“It seems a pity to miss such a good pudding.” – Lady Violet
6.) My last decoration was printing out and laminating the Keep Calm and watch Downton Abbey picture to place on every plate.
I hope you enjoyed my Downton Abbey tea table. Feel free to take and use whatever you’d like, just send me pictures if you download any of my designs. I would LOVE to see it!