It’s true, I am very much the person that thinks, “one holiday at a time,” when I see Christmas decorations for sale before Thanksgiving. However, given the state of the world’s supply and shipping issues, Destination Tea’s holiday guide comes early again this year. Here are our latest favorite finds for the afternoon tea enthusiast in your life, for all budgets, from the practical to the playful. Also be sure to check out our suggestions from previous years because much like afternoon tea, a fabulous tea gift never goes out of style!
1. Pearl Jewelry by Pearls & More
Why This: Made by Dunwoody, GA’s Maria Gaglione Gabor (who is also one of the main hosts behind the annual Dunwoody Preservation Trust tea), these beautiful pieces by Pearls & More are the perfect accessory to add elegance to one’s afternoon tea ensemble. After all, pearls are known as the “Queen of Gems,” and for thousands of years have been worn by royalty around the world as they sipped their tea. Featuring freshwater pearls in her handmade designs, Maria sources raw materials and inspiration from the world over, drawing on her Italian heritage and time living in Asia. Earrings, bracelets and necklaces come in a range of styles from the traditional to the statement piece, and here we showcase some of our favorites. Browse Maria’s Etsy story (link below) for more designs.
Find It: 1. $63 43″ White cultured freshwater “egg” pearl and garnet necklace; 2. $132 20″ Classic white cultured freshwater round pearl necklace with sterling silver clasp; 3. $99 7″ Cultured freshwater rectangular pearl cuff bracelet; 4. $52 1 5/8″ White cultured freshwater coin pearl earrings encircled with black and white rhinestones; 5. $132 19″ freshwater coin pearl necklace with sterling silver pearl box clasp; 6. $159 64″ Endless white cultured freshwater “potato” pearl necklace 7. $82 19″ Pink culture freshwater “dancing pearls” necklace. 8. $25-$65 Cultured freshwater pearl and sterling silver stud earrings in white, cream, pink, peach, mauve, grey and peacock; and more here
2. Bridgerton Afternoon Tea Cookbooks
Why This: Although technically afternoon tea wasn’t a tradition until after the show’s era, the elegant teatime scenes in the steamy Netflix Bridgerton series released December 2020, caused a major uptick in Google and Pinterest searches for all things afternoon tea. Bakers, hosts and foodies who are fans of the show may want to celebrate Season 2 (expected in 2022) with a tea party, and will love the inspiration found in these unofficial Bridgerton cookbooks.
Find It: 1. $14.40 “Teatime at Grosvenor Square” here; 2. $14.99 “The Unofficial Bridgerton Book of Afternoon Tea” here; 3. $17.49 “The Unofficial Bridgerton Cookbook” here
3. Engraved Tea Box
Why This: Choose from several designs and give your tea drinking friend a personalized, decorative way to store and display their tea selection. To add to the surprise, fill it with teas you think they’ll love to sample. This bamboo tea box from Lillian Vernon has a hinged lid and 8 separate 2-3/4 x 3″ sections. Note, any tea stored in this box will need to be individually sealed to maintain flavor and freshness.
Find It: $39.99 here
4. Vintage Glass Sugar and Creamer Set
Why This: A staple of every tea table setting, the creamer and sugar bowl design are part setting the scene at an afternoon tea. To give afternoon tea a vintage feel, these glass designs by Mosser Glass in Ohio are made from moulds salvaged from former 1950s and 1970s glassmakers that have since gone out of business. You’ll also find cake stands, water pitchers and glass baskets in a variety of colors and designs in their online shop.
Find It: $9.15 – $15.05 Eye Winker and Queen Sets here
5. FORLIFE Stainless Steel Tea Infuser with Folding Handles
Why This: We recommend using whole loose leaf tea to brew the best cup of tea, and this infuser is a handy way to do just that, at home or on the go. Its collapsible handles allow it to fold away neatly for storage and all you’ve got to do is give the stainless steel basket a quick rinse for cleanup. To reduce mess, you can set leaves aside for a second steeping in the included holder, which doubles as a lid to keep water to temperature during brewing.
Find It: $16.32 here
6. Antique China: Tea Cups, Teapots, 3-Tiered Stands
Why This: For your sentimental tea friends, there’s a joy in imagining the times an antique teapot lived through; the family and friends it served; how it may have been someone’s favorite thing. We also often love setting a table with mix-and-match china, so we treasure the gift of a single beautiful teacup and saucer. Online secondhand teaware vendors offer hundreds of gorgeous china patterns from which to choose a special piece for a gift. You might score a rare teacup, teapot, creamer, sugar bowl, set of tea plates, tiered tray or even a children’s teaset from another era.
Find It: $5 – $300+ Browse Destination Tea’s List of Online Secondhand Teaware Shops or go on the hunt at your local thrift shops, flea markets and consignment shops.
7. Tea Gummies by Sally’s Parlor in California
Why This: California tea sommelier Dr. Sally Wei of Sally’s Parlor sells tea candies that would be perfect as tea party favors, or as a stocking stuffer for your tea drinking friends and family. Made with extract of either oolong or black tea, these soft candies would make for a perfect sweet bite when tea cannot be had.
Find It: $6.50 here
8. Electric Tea Kettle
Why This: Especially when you are hosting an afternoon tea, bringing water quickly to the proper temperature to serve a fresh, hot pot of tea is a basic necessity. These stylish stainless steel and ceramic electric kettles have a very important feature: temperature control. Because we steep teas at different temperatures based on their variety, being able to set the desired temperature makes tea brewing effortless for the tea newbie. The Bella and Cosori kettles actually have foolproof presets for each tea type: green, white, black, etc. These kettles take as many minutes as cups to come to a boil, allowing you to quickly prepare a fresh round of tea.
Find it: 1. $99.95 1.7 Liter (7 cups) Haden Dorchester Kettle (in 3 colors) here; 2. $55.37 1.8 Liter Bella Ceramic Marble Kettle here; 3. $62.99 0.8 Liter Cosori Gooseneck Matte Black Kettle here
9. Custom Royal Tea Party Portrait
Why This: For your tea friends who love taking tea at historical estates and dressing in period costumes whenever given the chance, this gift can bring their fantasy to life. Browse the range of period portraits at Turn Me Royal, which span several centuries of royal dress, including the Royal Tea Party scene. Upload a headshot of one or several people and the Turn Me Royal team will “paint” them into a digital print of your choosing, sized 8×10 to 18×24.
Find It: $79.95 – $140.95 here
10. Tea Board Games
Why This: Once the tea plates have been cleared away, tea party guests often linger for conversation and another cup of tea. Sometimes tea parties include an activity, and these board games are perfectly themed to complement the occasion. Or these games can tide you over as you eagerly await your next tea party. “Tea for 2” is a 2-player game, a variation on the card game of “War,” while “Chai” is for 1 to 5 players in solo or co-operative play, trying to face off against the town’s “chaiwala” (a tea professional who prepares and serves delicious tea).
Find It: $24.99 Tea for 2 here; $65 Chai Deluxe Edition here
There are many more delightful gifts that your afternoon tea friends will appreciate, from tea subscription boxes to tea advent calendars. Visit all our holiday gift guides for more ideas, make sure to check your local afternoon tea directory to make holiday tea reservations, and from Destination Tea, we hope you and yours have a peaceful and joyous holiday season.