One of the joys of being a tea lover is sharing that joy with others. Whether it’s helping someone discover the calming deliciousness of a tea ritual, or delighting a tea connoisseur with a one-of-a-kind tea gift, choosing holiday gifts for our friends and family is part of the holiday fun. All year long at Destination Tea, we keep our eyes peeled for unique tea gifts for afternoon tea goers and tea drinkers, and here’s what made our wishlist this year. For more inspiration, you may like to see our gift guides from holidays past, because as we say, much like afternoon tea, a fabulous tea gift never goes out of style!
1. Handmade Tea Cozies by Bernideen’s Tea Time
Why This: Handmade by Bernideen Canfield in Columbia, Missouri, these cozies are not only practical — keeping your teapot warm during a leisurely teatime — they also add a touch of personality to any tea table. Made for teapots of all sizes, these tea cozies come in patterns from playful to romantic. A favorite we spied (pictured bottom right): tea cozies that incorporate vintage embroidery, which is a wonderful way to upcycle and display the handiwork of past generations at an afternoon tea.
Find It: $24 – $40 here
2. Cream Tea Gift Sets
Why This: Send the gift of a tea party! Especially for your tea friends who aren’t accomplished bakers, these cream tea gift sets make it easy to host a cream tea at home. Each includes yummy freshly baked scones, clotted cream, preserves and tea, and ships direct, nationwide. All the recipient needs to do to enjoy their teatime is set their tea table and boil water. If you’d like to design your own gift set, check out our list of all the online tea shops that also ship treats and tea accessories.
Find It: $55 – $75 Sugarbird Gift Boxes, CA (8 mini scones, 1 jar clotted cream, shortbread, 1 oz. loose leaf tea with disposable tea bags) here; $13 The Celtic Tea Shoppe Cream Tea, CA (2 round scones or 1 wedge, 1 jar clotted cream, strawberry jam, loose leaf tea, makes 3 cups) here; $44 The Secret Garden Tea & Scones, NY (12 scones, 20-cup bag of loose-leaf tea, 20 disposable tea filters, your choice of 2 1-ounce jars of either clotted cream, lemon curd or jam) here; $38 A Taste of Britain Cream Tea by Post, PA (4 scones, 8 English tea bags, 4 local honey sticks, 4 mini jars of preserves, jam or marmalade, 2 mini jars of clotted cream, reusable tin) here
3. Turn Your China into a Tiered Tray (and More!) by The Brooklyn Teacup
Why This: Perhaps you have family china inherited from a beloved aunt or grandmother, or your friend does, but they hardly ever pull it out and use it. Or you’ve found the odd piece while thrifting, and even though you love it, it’s not in a complete set. Ariel Davis of The Brooklyn Teacup will help you transform it into the perfect gift: choose from a tiered serving tray, jewelry tray, accessory stand, planter, candle, catchall tray, bird feeder, necklace or ornament. We particularly love the 3-tiered tray with teacup topper.
Find It: $39 to $149 here
4. Loose Leaf Tea from American Tea Farmers
Why This: If your tea friends are locavores, or love products made in America, they will appreciate these teas grown in the United States, and proudly serve them at their afternoon teas. For a full list of American tea farmers, go here. For this year’s tea gift guide, we want to tell you about two American-grown teas we sampled this year, and loved. The first is actually an herbal infusion — Māmaki (ma-MAH-key) — a nettle plant native to Maui, where Maui Tea Farm produces it and sells under the PONO Infusions label. Beyond its use as a traditional immune-booster, this is a caffeine-free brew that has a light honeyed taste naturally, so no sweetener necessary. The second tea is grown and produced in Brookhaven, Mississippi by The Great Mississippi Tea Company. Two of our immediate favorites were their Grilled Southern Peach, a black-oolong blend smoked with pecan wood, with dried peach pieces, and their Mississippi Belle Oolong, similar to a Tie Guan Yin. Delicious!
Find It: $16 (makes 14 cups) PONO Infusions Māmaki here; $15 1 oz. Mississippi Belle Oolong here and $13 Grilled Southern Peach here
5. Gorgeous Tea Sets
Why This: Perhaps to request as your big Santa gift, or to give to a loved one who has just discovered the wonders of afternoon tea, these teasets can jump start your teaware collection, by covering all the basics: teapot, creamer, sugar bowl, teacups and saucers. For more inspiration, see our list of online shops that sell vintage teaware, or take your hunt to your local estate sales and thrift stores.
Find It: $109.99 Stets 11 Piece Vintage Blue Rose Porcelain Tea Set here; $140+ Victorian Trading Company Alice in Wonderland Tea Set here; $75.99 Sweejar British Royal Teaset (comes in watermelon red, dark green, blue violet, pink, purple and roses) here; $135 Erika’s Tearoom Blue Rose Chintz Tea Set (includes 6 scones) here
6. Tea Advent Calendars
Why This: Every day leading up to Christmas is another treasure to discover when you have a tea advent calendar. Our favorites feature premium teas in festive designs. If you choose a calendar with loose leaf teas, you may want to pair it with a stainless steel infuser, especially for tea newbies. Reminder to purchase these ASAP so that they will arrive by late November.
Find It: $45 Kusmi Tea Roaring Twenties (organic) here; $79 Fortnum & Mason Christmas Tea Lover’s here; $36 Palais des Thés 24 Days of Tea here; $84.99 Vahdam Teas 24 Teas of Christmas (each day’s tin makes 3 cups) here; $34 Adagio Evergreen (choose loose tea or teabags) here; $59 Tea Forte Warming Joy here
7. Tea Strainer for Large Teapots by Firebelly Tea
Why This: When hosting a group for afternoon tea, minimizing the clean-up is ideal. Firebelly Tea’s large stainless steel infuser fits nicely inside most large china teapots, allowing tea leaves to fully expand and properly steep right inside the pot. After steeping, remove the strainer to sit in the provided cup, tea leaves ready for a second infusion. This allows you to quickly prepare a large pot of tea, and decant the leaves before serving to prevent over-steeping, which can create a bitter brew. Another bonus, this is also a simple way to brew an individual mug of loose leaf tea, again allowing the leaves to expand fully for the best taste. And if you’d like to pair this gift with some delicious tea, we recommend Firebelly’s uncaffeinated After Dinner Mint rooibos blend and green Warm & Toasty genmaicha blend with toasted rice, cinnamon and licorice root.
Find It: $19.95 Firebelly Tea Strainer here
8. Tea Leaf Fortune Cards
Why This: Whether over a casual cup of tea with a friend, or at an afternoon tea at home, tea leaf reading is a historical pastime that will liven the teatime conversation. Divining your guests’ futures by peering into their teacups is the perfect activity for Victorian (see our themed tea party guide), Halloween or Harry Potter themed teas. This guide book is paired with an illustrated set of cards, which can be used to do readings in lieu of using the dregs of your tea leaves in the cup.
Find It: $29.66 here
There’s Always The Gift of Afternoon Tea…with You!
Of course, you can give the best gift of all: the gift of your presence, by treating your tea friend to a holiday afternoon tea. Check our state directories to see what’s available near home or if you are traveling for the holidays and remember to take pictures of the memory you will make together.
Do you have a special tea gift on your holiday wishlist? Comment below and inspire us!