Hosting a Christmas Tea Party

Hosting a Christmas Tea Party

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My tea party adventures began at Christmas many years ago, when my mother-in-law invited our daughters and me to a Twelve Days of Christmas tea party. That was when I was 31 years old, and it was my first time to attend a formal tea. Since then I’ve hosted many a party, both big and small. Out of all those, however, my favorite is Hosting a Christmas Tea Party. Christmas is a Joyous Time for a Tea PartyThe atmosphere at a Christmas Tea cannot be compared with anything else. Your entire house is beautifully decorated, and soft carols fill the air. Delicious and fancy food is in abundance and everyone is always in a festive mood. It’s a great time to enjoy family, friends, and tea!

Decorations for a 12 Days of Christmas Tea PartyMany years ago, I hosted a Twelve Days of Christmas Tea at my grandma’s house, when she was no longer able to get out and about. But she loved a good tea party, so I brought one to her. I actually did this many times on a much smaller scale, but I wanted to throw a big bang party after Christmas with lots of family.

 

Planning a Christmas Tea Party

Choose a Theme for the PartyOne of the first things I like to do when planning a Christmas tea it to figure out my theme. Consider who will be invited and if children are on your guest list, keep them in mind. Memories are being created here.

 

Theme and Decorations

As mentioned above, I’ve hosted a Twelve Days of Christmas Tea, but also an angel tea, a teddy bear tea, and a Nutcracker tea where I decorated with cute wooden nutcrackers and gifted them to everyone at the end of the party.

A Nutcracker Themed Tea PartyFor a Christmas tea, I always like to offer a party gift that carries the theme, whether a decoration or an ornament. Just a little something for everyone to take home for them to remember the event.

Graphic 45 Crafts - Twelve Days of ChristmasAt our Twelve Days of Christmas tea, my youngest daughter and I made decorations, including the menu and place cards. We found these gorgeous Victorian Graphic 45 Twelve Days of Christmas scrapbooking pads that we based our decorations on. Using these, we made gold trees with decorated rings for each day, and embellished everything with jewels and cutouts.

While I can still find this set on Ebay, Graphic 45 now has many more choices for Christmas, including one for the Nutcracker Suite, Warm Wishes, and Let’s Get Cozy. My head is already spinning with ideas for a future tea party! See their Current Selection Here.

 

Dressing Your Table – Dishes, Linen, and Flowers

Dressing Your Table with Fine Linen and Pretty Dishes

Now that I’ve given you a few theme suggestions, let’s move on to dressing your table. As I’ve mentioned in my other Christmas Entertaining Posts, if you have Christmas dishes hiding away in a closet, get them out and use them. They will be perfect on your table.

This is also the time to bring out your fine linens. Cloth napkins are considered appropriate for a tea party, but if you are inviting a lot of guests, feel free to use pretty paper napkins (or even disposable plates.) Or borrow dishes from your mom or grandmother. I’m sure they would be quite pleased to help you out.

Decorating a Simple Christmas Tea with White Poinsettias and BirdsI like to dress my table in red, but white or green is also nice. Use what you have and decorate around those colors. Artificial flowers are in abundance during the holidays, even if it’s a simple candle ring. Add some candles to go with it for even more ambiance.

Make or Buy Place Settings and Menu Cards for the PartyBe sure to send out invitations for your tea party, at least two weeks in advance. If you are ambitious, create name plates and menu cards for your guests to take home. Or your could also purchase pretty templates or items online. Etsy is a wonderful place to shop for such items.

 

Planning the Tea Menu

Planning the Tea Menu

Once you have your tea party planning well on the way, it’s time to start thinking about your menu. Do you have any favorite family recipes for holiday appetizers, cookies, or desserts? If so, you might consider having some of those on the menu.

Most of my tea parties are planned with three courses of sandwiches (or savories), scones, and desserts. But my Christmas tea menus tend to expand. There are just so many wonderful foods during the holidays, it’s hard for me to narrow things down to a few items.

Here are some of my favorite dishes to include on a Christmas Tea Menu. Pick and choose as you want.

 

Course #1 – Sandwiches and SavoriesSandwiches and Savories Course

Every winter, my grandma made Addicting Munchies Holiday Snack. The name is accurate as this is very addicting, and it’s the perfect snack to put out in a bowl when you have company come over during the holidays.

Addicting Munchies Holiday Snack
Every winter, my grandma made Addicting Munchies Holiday Snack. The name is accurate as this is very addicting. At our house, we may go through 2-3 batches between Thanksgiving and New Years, to be enjoyed by all!
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Recipe for Addicting Munchies Holiday Snack

 

I’ve been making Ham Pecan Pinwheels for many years now, especially for holiday gatherings and tea parties. Roll sliced ham in a delicious spread of cream cheese, pecans, minced onion, and olives. They are so yummy, you’ll want to eat more than one.

Ham Pecan Pinwheels
I’ve been making Ham Pecan Pinwheels for many years now, especially for holiday gatherings and tea parties. Roll sliced ham in a delicious spread of cream cheese, pecans, minced onion, and olives. They are so yummy, you’ll want to eat more than one.
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Serve Ham Pinwheels as Savory Items at a Tea Party

 

Here’s an easy recipe to make Smoky Pimento Cheese Balls when you need finger foods for a party. The holidays will often call for a night of finger foods, especially when it comes to celebrating New Year’s Eve.

Smoky Pimento Cheese Balls
Smoky Pimento Cheese Balls when you need finger foods for a party, especially when it comes to celebrating New Year’s Eve. Perfect for a church potluck, tea parties, or a soup dinner.
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Recipe for Smoky Pimento Cheese Balls

 

Curried Chicken Tea Sandwiches are a favorite savory selection for our tea parties and is requested often. I first served it at our youngest daughter’s bridal shower tea party and have been making it ever since.

Curried Chicken Tea Sandwiches
Curried Chicken Tea Sandwiches are a favorite savory selection for our tea parties and is requested often. I first served it at our youngest daughter’s bridal shower tea party and have been making it ever since. 
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Recipe for Curried Chicken Tea Sandwiches

 

Herbed Parmesan Spread aka Boursin is a delicious recipe to make this holiday season. It’s easy to make and incredibly flavorful. Serve it with your favorite crackers for holiday entertaining or at a Christmas tea party.

Herbed Parmesan Spread aka Boursin
Here's a delicious recipe to make this holiday season. Serve with your favorite crackers. It's also great added to your favorite mashed potato recipe or served over a hot seared rib-eye steak.
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Recipe for Herbed Parmesan Spread aka Boursin

 

I’ve always enjoyed pimento cheese on a cracker or celery, or even in little tea sandwiches. This Homemade Pimento Cheese Spread will put the purchased product to shame. Made from simple ingredients with three kinds of cheese, chopped pimentos, mayo, and a few other things thrown in to give it a nice tang.

Homemade Pimento Cheese Spread
I've always enjoyed pimento cheese on a cracker or celery, or even in little tea sandwiches. Here's a homemade version that will put the purchased product to shame. Try some on a cracker or on a sandwich. Maybe even with a little fried bacon. Yum!
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Recipe for Homemade Pimento Cheese Spread

 

 

Course #2 – Scones and Quick Breads

Second Course - Scones and Quick BreadsWhile it’s traditional to serve scones for the first or second course, quick breads are also a great choice to include on your menu.

Poppy Seed Bread is a recipe I received from my Aunt Ruth. It’s a super moist bread to share with your loved ones and friends at Christmas and one of our favorites. And while it’s perfect to give as a Christmas food gift, you’ll want to save back a few loaves for your own enjoyment.

Poppy Seed Bread
Poppy Seed Bread is a recipe I received from my Aunt Ruth. It's a super moist bread to share with your loved ones and friends at Christmas and one of our favorites.
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Recipe for Poppy Seed Bread

 

My grandma used to make Orange Nut Bread every Christmas. I like to make it every year to think of her, and to use as a holiday food gift. The orange flavor and pecans are perfect paired with a nice cup of warm tea.

Orange Nut Bread
My grandma used to make Orange Nut Bread every Christmas. I like to make it every year to think of her, and to use as a holiday food gift. The orange flavor and pecans are perfect paired with a nice cup of warm tea.
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Recipe for Orange Nut Bread

 

I enjoy making Orange-Glazed Cranberry Fruitcake during the Christmas season. Made with dried cranberries, raisins, dates, figs, and pecans, it’s not your average fruitcake. Plus, it makes 8 small loaves, so it’s perfect for gift-giving for those on your fruitcake-lovers list.

Orange-Glazed Cranberry Fruitcake
Here's a recipe I enjoy making at Christmas. It makes 8 small loaves, so works well for your fruitcake-loving friends. It seems, even those who don't care for fruitcake, enjoy this bread. Yay! Here's to Fruitcake!!
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Recipe for Orange-Glazed Cranberry Fruitcake

 

Enjoy Orange Cranberry Scones with a warm cup of tea in the morning or afternoon. This was the first scone recipe I ever made. The chopped cranberries and orange zest give them a wonderful warm flavor of Christmas.

Orange Cranberry Scones
Enjoy Orange Cranberry Scones with a warm cup of tea in the morning or afternoon. This was the first scone recipe I ever made. The chopped cranberries and orange zest give them a wonderful warm flavor of Christmas.
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Recipe for Orange Cranberry Scones

 

This recipe for Orange Cream Scones with Currants is an adaptation of my English Scone recipe that is very similar, and yet I have been turning to this recipe more and more this past year. My daughters love the light orange flavor, and I do too!

Orange Cream Scones with Currants
This recipe for Orange Cream Scones with Currants is an adaptation of my English Scone recipe that is very similar. My daughters and I love the light orange flavor!
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Featured Image - Recipe for Orange Cream Scones with Currants

 

Here is a traditional German recipe for Christmas Stollen with Marzipan. I love this sweet bread as a snack in the morning or afternoon with tea or coffee. The surprise marzipan treat in the center is probably my favorite! I’m like a kid that way, I guess.

Christmas Stollen with Marzipan
Here is a traditional German recipe for Stollen, including the surprise marzipan treat in the center. I hope you'll enjoy it!
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Recipe for Christmas Stollen with Marzipan

 

Course #3 – SweetsThird Course - Sweets

It’s easy to go crazy when choosing the sweets for your tea. There are so many holiday options out there. Try to limit your choices to 5 or 6, though, if possible! Here are some of my favorites.

 

Tea Cookies

These Cherry Pistachio Biscotti Cookies are absolutely wonderful. Crunchy butter cookies flavored with dried cherries and chopped pistachio nuts. So delicious, and perfect with a cup of tea or coffee.

Cherry Pistachio Biscotti Cookies
These Italian cookies are absolutely wonderful with tea. Crunchy and delicious with bits of dried cherries and chopped pistachio and a sparkly sugar topping. Make some today!
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Recipe for Cherry Pistachio Biscotti Cookies

 

Chocolate-Coated Raspberry Spritz Cookies are a delicious addition to your next tea party or for the holidays. Sweet butter cookies dotted with a dab of raspberry jam and coated with rich dark chocolate on the bottom. So yummy!

Chocolate-Coated Raspberry Spritz Cookies
Here's a delicious recipe to make for your next tea party or for the holidays. Sweet butter cookies, dotted with a dab of raspberry jam, and coated with rich dark chocolate on the bottom. So yummy!
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Recipe for Chocolate-Coated Raspberry Spritz Cookies

 

Christmas Wreath Macaroons are so festive and delightful, I know you will enjoy making them for your Holiday Cookie Tray! Not only are they pretty, they are quite yummy, AND they are simple to make. Plus, they are gluten free, which is always nice to include during the Christmas season.

Christmas Wreath Macaroons
Here's a sweet little recipe to add to your Christmas Cookie Tray this year. Perfect for gluten free guests.
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Recipe for Christmas Wreath Macaroons

 

Holiday Cardamom Spice Cookies are perfect for a Christmas Tea Party or for gifting. Filled with warm spices, candied cherries, dried cranberries, and almonds, these triangular cookies are a fun addition to any holiday cookie tray. Plus, they are so delicious! Especially with a cup of hot tea.

Holiday Cardamom Spice Cookies
Make these fun refrigerator slice and bake cookies for a Christmas tea party, for gifting, or as part of a Christmas cookie tray.
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Recipe for Holiday Cardamon Spice Cookies

 

These little Neapolitan Tea Cookies are full of flavor–strawberry, coconut, and chocolate–perfect for your next tea party!

Neapolitan Tea Cookies
These little Neapolitan Tea Cookies are full of flavor–strawberry, coconut, and chocolate–perfect for your next tea party!
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Recipe for Neapolitan Tea Cookies

 

I like to make Russian Tea Cakes during the holidays or for special tea parties. My granddaughter loves these little cookies–at least she loves licking the jam from the center! They are easy to make, too, which means they are kid-friendly.

Russian Tea Cakes
This is a recipe I like to make during the holidays or for special tea parties.
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Recipe for Russian Tea Cakes

 

Snowball Powdered Sugar Cookies are perfect for the holidays and especially sweet for tea parties!  They are simply delightful, and practically melt in your mouth–like a snowball!

Snowball Powdered Sugar Cookies
This recipe for Snowball Powdered Sugar Cookies is perfect for the holidays and is especially sweet for tea parties! Sometimes referred to as Russian Tea Cakes or even Mexican Wedding Cakes, they are essentially butter cookies with chopped nuts (in this case pecans) and covered in powdered sugar. They are simply delightful, and practically melt in your mouth–like a snowball!
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Recipe for Snowball Tea Cookies

 

Try this classic recipe for English Shortbread with Pecans this holiday season. Perfect for an shared afternoon tea with a friend or loved one. Not too sweet, with the perfect amount of nuttiness from the pecans, plus hints of vanilla and orange. So good.

English Shortbread with Pecans
Try this classic recipe for English Shortbread with Pecans this holiday season. Perfect for an shared afternoon tea with a friend or loved one. Not too sweet, with the perfect amount of nuttiness from the pecans, plus hints of vanilla and orange. So good.
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Recipe for English Shortbread with Pecans

 

See even more of my Favorite Christmas Cookie Recipes Here.

 

TartsTea Foods at my Grandmother's Table

My mom makes these Buttery Pecan Tarts almost every Christmas. They are so yummy, with a buttery, cream cheese shell, and then more butter in the sweet pecan filling. They practically melt in your mouth! Perfect for the upcoming holiday season.

Buttery Pecan Tarts
This is a recipe my mom makes every Christmas. These tarts are so yummy, they practically melt in your mouth! Perfect for the upcoming holiday season.
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Recipe for Buttery Pecan Tarts

 

This Cranberry Bakewell Tart recipe is my attempt at a traditional British tea pastry. Lined with a buttery shortbread crust, and filled with almond cream (frangipane) and a thick delicious cranberry sauce, it received a thumbs up from our daughters.

Cranberry Bakewell Tart
This recipe is my attempt at a traditional British tea pastry. Lined with a buttery shortbread crust, and filled with almond cream (frangipane) and a touch of brandy, plus a thick delicious cranberry sauce, it received a thumbs up from our daughters.
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Recipe for Cranberry Bakewell Tart

 

Easy Lemon Tarts are sure to bring a smile to those who eat one! Tender pastries filled with luscious lemon pudding or curd and topped with whipped cream and fresh berries. Perfect for a brunch or afternoon tea party, or simply as a finger food dessert.

Easy Lemon Tarts
Here's a simple recipe sure to bring a smile to those who eat one. Perfect for a tea party, brunch, or finger food desserts.
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Recipe for Easy Lemon Tarts

 

Cakes and Other Treats

Glazed English Walnuts are delicious and there are so many ways to use them! As a Snack; For a Tea Party; On a Wine and Cheese Tray; With Fruit and Yogurt; In a Salad; With Pancakes and Syrup; On top of oatmeal. The possibilities are practically endless!

Glazed English Walnuts
This is a recipe too good to miss out on. It's easy and our daughters love it served with fruit and vanilla yogurt or simply by the handful. Enjoy!
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Glazed English Walnuts

 

Glazed Lemon Madeleines are simply delightful to serve at your next tea party or possibly a Mother’s Day Brunch. Small bite-sized sponge cakes topped with a zesty lemon glaze. They’re adorable. Sweet. And delicious.

Glazed Lemon Madeleines
Glazed Lemon Madeleines are simply delightful to serve at your next tea party or possibly a Mother’s Day Brunch. They’re adorable. Sweet. And delicious.
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Recipe for Glazed Lemon Madeleines

 

I like to make Tea Party Peppermint Meringues sometime during the holidays, whether before Christmas or even during the 12 Days of Christmas. Our girls adore them! It’s also a great way to use up those leftover Christmas candy canes!

Tea Party Peppermint Meringues
This is a recipe I make at Christmastime for tea parties. Our girls adore them! Plus, it's also a great way to use up those leftover Christmas candy canes!
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Recipe for Tea Party Peppermint Meringues

 

Here’s a delicious recipe to make for your family during the holidays. Cranberry Pound Cake with Almonds is especially good after it has set for 1-2 days. It is amazingly flavorful and moist, and I love the added sweet bites of cranberries. So yummy!

Cranberry Pound Cake with Almonds
Here's a delicious recipe to make during the holidays. Cranberry Pound Cake with Almonds is amazingly flavorful and moist, and I love the added sweet bites of cranberries.
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Recipe for Cranberry Pound Cake with Almonds

 

Choosing the Tea and Beverages

Choosing Your Teas and BeveragesNow that the menu has been decided, it’s time to pick your tea for the party. I like to include three different teas to go with each course, but it’s your choice. A simple black tea goes well with savories, while a cranberry or spice tea might be nice with scones.

There are many holiday teas to enjoy. Twinings has a nice selection of bagged teas, although I like to encourage you to use loose leaf teas, as they just tend to taste better. Harney and Sons have a large selection of holiday tea in loose leaf form.

It’s nice to also include a cold or warm drink for the menu that isn’t tea, such as a sparkling drink or mulled cider. Plan something for the children, too. I always like to serve them strawberry milk, which they love and always request.

 

Christmas Wassail with Pomegranate Juice is a delicious mulled drink to enjoy during the holiday season. Sweetened with pomegranate, apple, and pineapple juice and flavored with cinnamon sticks, it’s good served hot or over ice.

Christmas Wassail with Pomegranate Juice
Here's a delicious mulled drink to enjoy at Christmas or during the holiday season. Sweetened with pomegranate, apple, and pineapple juice and flavored with cinnamon sticks. It's good served warm or over ice.
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Recipe for Christmas Wassail with Pomegranate Juice

 

Games and Activities for Your Tea Party End the Party with a Game or Carols

I often like to end a tea party with some sort of game or activity. This might be a simple coloring activity, word game or knowledge-based quiz where you learn something new. Or it could be a Scavenger hunt, a game of Christmas Bingo, or even singing Christmas carols. Make your activity fit your theme and your guest list, to include children or attendees of all ages.

Pictured Here my granddaughter and me at a Tea PartyIn conclusion, I hope this gives you many fun ideas for planning your own Christmas tea party. And remember that Christmas doesn’t end on December 25. In fact, that’s just the beginning of the celebration, so you still have time to prepare a Christmas themed tea party! Whether you decide to host a party this year or one day in the future, always remember to enjoy the moments!

See more Tea Party Theme Ideas Here. Browse Tea Party Recipes Here.

 

“The very act of preparing and serving tea encourages conversation. The little spaces in time created by teatime rituals call out to be filled with conversation. Even the tea itself–warm and comforting–inspires a feeling of relaxation and trust that fosters shared confidences.” ~ Emilie Barnes

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