Friday, December 16, 2011

A Family Christmas Tea

"You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me." 
C.S. Lewis

Getting ready for Christmas has been extra crazy this year for some reason. Maybe it's the frequent return trips to the store because I forgot something or didn't know I needed it, or all the handmade gifts I'm creating, the laundry and dishes piling up, or the two little boys who need my constant attention. Whatever it is, I was needing a small moment of peace amidst the chaos. So, last weekend, I prepared a special Christmas tea party for our family.

As you may be figuring out, I love tea. I love teapots and teacups, tea parties, books on tea, and basically anything to do with tea! But I rarely get to go to any tea parties...I think I've been to one or two in my whole life! So sad. :-) So, I decided to do a special holiday tea with my little family of four. Now, I am the only female in my house (so far), so you might think a tea party for boys is a bit odd. Nah. My guys enjoyed it very much! It's good for them to learn manners and etiquette and just humor me every once in a while. :-)

You can make your family holiday tea as simple or elaborate as you want! Mine was in-between. I borrowed my mom's lovely Blue Willow tea set, although I could've just used my mixed set. Then each teacup and saucer had a paper doily underneath to act as a place mat. Each place setting also had a small candle for a special activity that we did during the tea party. Fresh flowers, linen napkins, and silver spoons added pretty details to our table setting. Christmas music played softly in the background.

During the tea party, we each shared one thing that made Christmas so special to each of us. Then I lit the candle next to the person who had just shared. The boys really enjoyed having lit candles next to them! We just had to be careful they didn't touch them. My two year-old had a fun time blowing out the candle...over and over and over. Well, at least it kept him occupied! :-)

"Now stir the fire and close the shutters fast. And while the bubbling and loud hissing urn throws up a steamy column...let us welcome peaceful ev'ning in." William Cowper

For our "crumpets," we had sugar cookies that we had decorated earlier that day, chocolate chip scones, and ham & cheese sandwich squares with the crusts cut off. To make things easier on me, I bought pre-made dough at the store for the cookies and scones!

There are several delicious holiday tea blends you could serve at your tea party. I went with Constant Comment's Tea, flavored with orange rinds and spices. Yum!

Here's a wonderful recipe for Russian Tea that I got from a special lady who has always been like a second mom to me. I used to work for her when she had her own photography business. Anyway, she introduced me to this recipe and now I make it every year around the holidays.

Russian Tea

2 quarts water
1 large family-sized tea bag or 4 small bags (just regular tea like Lipton's)
1 tbsp ginger
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp allspice
15-20 whole cloves
2 quarts of orange juice
1 large can of pineapple juice
1/2 cup lemon juice concentrate
2 quarts apple cider or juice
2-liter ginger ale

Boil water. Add tea bags to the hot water and simmer together with the spices (wrap spices in cheesecloth or other porous cloth) for at least 30 minutes. (This will smell wonderful!) Remove water from heat and take out the spice bag. Add the juices and stir. Pour into gallon containers (makes about 2 gallons). Just before serving, add the ginger ale. Serve hot.

Here are my guys enjoying their tea. They actually had a lot of fun! Success!! I guess that means we will have to do it again...

And here I am sipping my tea...don't you love the sippy cup in the foreground? :-) I literally had like 5 cups of tea!!

"If man has no tea in him, he is incapable of understanding truth and beauty." 
Japanese proverb

I encourage you to have your own special family tea! It's so fun...a great way to make memories! I think this will be a new Christmas tradition of ours.

Check out these great resources for planning your own tea party:

Planning the Perfect Tea Party
Old Fashioned Living: Tea Parties Take the Cake
Martha Stewart: Bridal Shower Tea Parties
Fun Tea Party Ideas
Tea Party Circle

Or if you'd rather have a book in your hand, then I recommend The Essential Tea Companion. It's an excellent resource for tea parties! All my quotes in today's post came from this book. It's got lots of yummy recipes for different themed tea parties, beautiful pictures, and basic tea facts. I learned a lot from this book and I highly recommend it!

Finally, if you're still looking for quick and easy Christmas gift ideas, then take a look at my Tea Party for One gift idea HERE. It's a creative gift for anyone who loves tea!

Partying here...

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  1. Wow, that looks like so much fun and so beautiful. I would love to have a tea with our family and think I need to start this tradition, though I don't have any pretty tea sets at all!

  2. Oh, that looks like such fun! And what a pretty tea set! I agree with you, we women aren't the only ones who need to learn etiquette so this sounds like both a good teaching tool and a nice tradition.

  3. Mrs. Q, thanks so much for your sweet comment. I love reading your posts and I'm honored you came and read one of mine! I think it's time for you to get a pretty tea set! :)

    Amy, thanks for stopping by! This can be such a good teaching tool...good point! Plus, it's fun and special. My guys love it when I do something extra special for them. I hope it will create fond memories!

  4. Hello! A family tea is a fantastic idea! I love your book recommendation - just love the books from Victoria! I appreciate your visit! I am happy to be your newest follower,

  5. Thanks, Kathy! I'm following you too! :)

  6. I love the tea sets!! They are so pretty! Plus those cookies look amazing...

  7. Audrey's Biggest FanDecember 23, 2011 at 1:38 PM

    Just now catching up on all the defrumping I've been missing. Love this idea!!!! Such a wonderful thing to do in January after all the holiday fun has gone and cold and snow set in. Love your posts!!