How to Host: Christmas Tea

Do you already have plans to celebrate this holiday season with a Christmas teatime? For many of us tea-goers, this annual tradition warms our hearts and creates special memories, as we gather with loved ones in beautifully decorated teahouses, hotels, restaurants and historic homes. In our family, my eldest also has a December birthday, and she usually asks to go to tea with the women in the family, just us grown-up ladies. I hope she will always treasure those times that she was surrounded by the love of so many generations, gathered to celebrate her.

A reader recently put in a request for us to release our Holiday Tea Party Guide [thank you for the nudge, Kathy Briscoe!], so we got to work choosing our favorite ideas for a Christmas Tea party. Please have fun browsing our new Christmas Tea Pinterest board, with tea party planning ideas from activities to a scrumptious menu.

Afternoon Tea or High Tea this Christmas?

It’s up to you! We’ve included finger sandwiches, scones and mini dessert suggestions, if you’d like to serve a traditional afternoon tea, or if you’d like to move in the direction of an evening high tea, we’ve also included meat pies and full cake recipes. Go here to brush up on the difference between these tea meals.

Notes on Using Destination Tea to Plan Your Tea Party

Destination Tea's tea party planner the scene
tea party planner the menu

Here’s how we suggest using our resources:

  1. Print out a front-and-back copy of Destination Tea’s Tea Party Planner.
  2. As you browse the The Scene, Tea Selection, Tea Sandwiches, Scones and Sweets ideas in our Christmas Tea Pinterest board, choose which items you’ll have at your tea party, and fill in the related sections of your Tea Party Planner, adding needed items and ingredients to your Shopping List.
  3. Bookmark, pin or print any recipes you like from the Christmas Tea Pinterest board, and have fun making your preparations!

Setting the Scene? That’s Everything!

In The Scene board, you’ll find suggestions for creative touches that will make your Christmas Tea feel festive, which you can add to “The Scene” section of your Tea Party Planner, including:

  • Tablescape: There are endless possibilities for Christmas teaware and serving dishes. We’ve shared where to buy some of our favorites, but also suggest perusing the online vintage teacup stores to see if you find a piece you love.
  • Activities/Favors: Ask everyone to bring a couple teas from home and make Tea Advent Calendar Garlands; do a White Elephant Exchange; make Christmas ornaments from thrift store teacups; or host a Cookie Exchange and give out prizes for best presentation (tea-related packaging encouraged). You’ll find directions for all these ideas in the Christmas Tea Party Guide. Another fun activity could be gingerbread cookie decorating (see recipe in the Sweets section).

The Menu: Christmas Tea

We thought about popular flavors and recipes of Christmas, and translated them into tea sandwiches, scone and tea choices, and scrumptious desserts for your afternoon tea or high tea menu. If you’d like, make it a Royal Christmas Tea by serving champagne.

Selecting Your Teas

First we’d like to point out this clever addition to your sweetener offering: sugar doilies shaped like snowflakes, that are sure to delight your holiday guests. More than likely, you’ll find your favorite tea purveyor offers a Christmas blend, and we also invite you to explore our Christmas tea recommendations:

snowflake sugar doilie by Victorian Trading company for holiday tea
Photo credit: Victorian Trading Co.
  • Spiced Tea Punch recipe
  • Organic Peppermint Bark herbal by The Republic of Tea
  • Eggnog Tea by T2
  • Snowflake (coconut almond black tea) by English Tealeaves
  • White Christmas (vanilla white tea) by Harney & Sons
  • Pacific Coast Mint herbal by Art of Tea
  • Winter Wonderland rooibos by Simpson & Vail
  • Spiced Christmas Leaf Tea by Taylors of Harrogate

Tea Sandwiches / Savories

Our selection of Christmas Tea sandwiches and savories call on hearty, belly-warming foods from a variety of Christmas traditions, including:

  • Deconstructed Deviled Egg Tea Sandwiches
  • Beef Wellington Canapés
  • Baked Ham and Caramelized Onion Tea Sandwiches
  • Pear and Stilton Tea Sandwiches (walnuts optional)
  • Turkey Salad with Dried Cherries Tea Sandwiches
  • Mini Port Wine Cheese Balls with Crackers
  • Mini Tourtières (French-Canadian meat pies)

Scones & Spreads

We looked for scones with traditional Christmas flavors, and chose:

  • Cranberry-Orange Scones
  • Almond Scones
  • Gluten-Free Cranberry, Pistachio and Orange Scones


During the season of the Christmas Cookie, there are endless possibilities for what you may serve at your Christmas Tea. Here are our top choices:

  • Apple Hand Pies
  • Christmas “Snowballs” (Pecan Balls, like Wedding Cookies)
  • Peanut Butter Chocolate Kiss Thumbprint Cookies
  • Candy Cane Sugar Cookies
  • Mini Gingerbread Cookies (mini cookie cutter suggestion included)
  • Cranberry Christmas Cake
  • Plum Pudding aka Figgy Pudding
Photo credit:

Let’s Get Started Planning Your Christmas Tea (whether its an Afternoon Tea, High Tea or Royal Tea)

Click to watch the finale of White Christmas, Copyright 1954 Paramount Pictures

If you recommend a treat, tea or party game that we’ve missed, please let us know in the comments, thank you! Click on the pinboard below to delve into our suggestions for your Christmas Tea and happy party planning!

Tea Voyageuse, discovering the world of afternoon tea, based in Atlanta, Georgia.


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