Teas the season! ☕ The holidays usher in many special events, like ladies’ Christmas teas, for example. I’m sharing tips and ideas from my Christmas tea experiences for both the novice and the experienced hostess!
What Is a Christmas Tea?
A Christmas tea is an event where ladies each “host” a table. Each hostess becomes responsible for the place settings and centerpiece – often incorporating candlelight. As well as the dessert and tea selection for her table. The evening typically includes a holiday program or entertainment.
My First Ladies’ Tea
I’d never known of such a thing as a ladies’ Christmas tea until several years ago when my mother-in-law invited me to my very first one. I’m pretty sure drinking Coca-Cola® in miniature tea cups as a child didn’t count. (Even though it was a fun Christmas Tradition for my cousin and me.😂) What hadn’t changed from my childhood was that I was still not much of a tea-drinker at the time I had my first official experience. But despite that fact, I remember the event leaving an indelible mark on me.
I was in awe at the dimly-lit room filled with diversely decorated tables adorned with creative centerpieces glowing in candlelight. And the plethora of platters of treats to feast my eyes upon! Hostesses dressed in their holiday best. Women grateful for the chance to gather together for a girls’ night out. (And yet another opportunity to eat chocolate! That CAN’T just be me?!)🙋
The next few years I had the privilege of being a guest at Kelly’s table. She is a special friend and remarkable hostess to take notes from! (She even made these dreamy ‘kookies’ for Bronner’s blog from this nativity cookie cutter set!)
It would be a few more years before I took the leap to host my very own table.
Becoming the Hostess at a Christmas Tea
For me, the formula for hosting a table is made up of a few simple components:
- An eye-catching centerpiece or tablescape.
- A great place setting. (Personalization makes it all the better!)
- A special keepsake or gift.
- The dreamiest of desserts and tea selection!
- And last but not least, K.I.S.S. – Keep it Simple Sweetheart!
I love searching Pinterest all-year-long for non-traditional ideas to help inspire a new table theme each year for the Christmas tea. But no matter the theme, my goal always remains the same – to make each woman at my table feel seen, loved and valued!
The Place Setting
The first few years I used a more modern, mismatched dish set I had paired together, changing it up slightly from year to year. In 2019, I decided to dig in my attic and unpack my grandmother’s heirloom china, discovering a newfound appreciation of the gift I had inherited.
On the other hand, convenient, disposable dishware is readily available in a variety of elegant styles, too! As a result, no-fuss tables have become a practical yet classy option for even the seasoned hostess. Because let’s face it, we are SO busy these days, especially around the holidays. Who’s looking for more stress?!
The point is that place settings can be casual or formal – whatever suits your taste – and still be remarkable. Convenience does not have to come at the cost of style!
While a gift or keepsake is certainly not a must at a Christmas tea, it dresses up each place setting.
Gifts can be something as simple and sweet as a homemade treat, DIY, or even a small purchased gift. My gifts are often inspired by (or the inspiration for) the table theme!
One year I made heart-shaped salt dough ornaments that I personalized with each lady’s name in india ink. I attached these to a small jar of homemade body butter that I purchased from a friend. As a hostess, I have also turned to Bronner’s for help with finding that special something for a few of my Christmas teas!
Bronner’s for the Perfect Gift
My very first year I was inspired by the message of a woman’s worth from the book “The King’s Daughter” by Diana Hagee. I discovered there can be a deeper purpose for hosting a table than just “setting a pretty table” for a fun evening.
Working within a budget, I picked up a boxed set of clear ornaments and small ornament stands from Bronner’s. I asked a friend to paint “The King’s Daughter” on each ornament. Inside each bulb, I placed two feathers and attached a card explaining the symbolism behind them. These gifts from Bronner’s really dressed up each place setting, and the ladies LOVED them!
For the last Christmas tea I had the chance to host before COVID-19, I returned to Bronner’s for help finding the perfect gift to tie together my theme. And I found them in their German-made, lace snowflake ornaments!
I wrote a short letter explaining the appreciation I felt when I rediscovered my grandmother’s heirloom china. Inspired by how God welcomes us as unique, thoughtfully created daughters (just as snowflakes are one of a kind) to His feast with His BEST. I was excited to find a unique lace snowflake for each lady at my table to remind them of this truth! Then I tied each ornament with ribbon to a card and share that tutorial in this ‘Love Languages’ Valentine’s post.
What is tea without a treat or two (or three or four to choose from)?😄
Over the years I’ve learned to incorporate a few options in my offerings. Something healthier, like a platter of fruit or treat free of refined sugar for the health-conscious guest. (Just make sure it is sugar-free on purpose! …Speaking from experience🤭.) I always include a baked good because I love baking and really shouldn’t eat the whole thing myself! And, of course, I offer something with CHOCOLATE for when it’s the only thing to hit the spot!
Keeping your dessert selection to a platter or two, for example, is great for space (and when you wash dishes later!) But limiting your platters doesn’t necessarily mean limiting options!
Because it is a busy time of year for me, I like to balance homemade items with the convenience of purchased items. Like this dessert platter of fruit and chocolate-covered pretzels mixed in with mocha bliss balls and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup “kookies.” (Can you guess who I got this recipe from? If you guessed my hostess friend Kelly, you’re correct!)
Bronner’s has two cookbooks filled with so many options, many which have been shared here in the recipes section. One of my favorites is the Caramel Layer Choco Squares. You can even make Bronner’s decadent Punch Bowl Cake and place it in small ramekins or jars at each place setting! These delightful Blueberry Scones are also a perfect pairing for teatime.
And the tea selection, of course, is important! I have become a bit of a tea feign, so it’s always easy to have options for my guests. But I recently discovered this amazing 12 Days of Christmas Teas collection from Bronner’s, and can only imagine the fun that would bring to the table! The 12 Christmas teas collection includes 4 (individually packaged sachets) of each of the 12, unique flavors for a total of 48 teas! Included are:
- Afternoon Tea
- Apricot Tea
- Christmas Spice Tea
- Cinnamon Orange Spice Tea
- Cinnamon Plum Tea
- Earl Grey Tea
- English Breakfast Tea
- Ginger Peach Tea
- Green Tea
- Lemon Tea
- Raspberry Tea
- White Pomegranate Tea
And very importantly … K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Sweetheart)!
I’ve learned that sometimes less IS more! By not overcrowding your table with décor or treats, your ladies have space to enjoy their cup of tea (or hot chocolate) and treats.
The holidays are a stressful time for many, even if you live for this kind of thing. Keep it simple and enjoy the opportunity to bless some special ladies with a memorable evening!
And if you are not part of a church or organization that has this kind of event, why not consider hosting your own at home?! It’s even a perfect way for moms to make childhood memories with their daughters! Set up the table, invite your favorite friends or family and par-tea the night away!