By A.C. Cargill

Once the tree is decorated, it’s time for tea! After untangling 20 miles of tree lights (ok, it’s only seems like 20 miles), deciding between the red sparkly garland and the gold sparkly garland, searching everywhere for the tree ornament hooks, and selecting which of the endless array of ornaments to use on the tree, my eyes are crossed and my brain is looping like a record with the needle stuck. A sure sign that I need a really, really, really good cup of tea.

Fortunately, hubby has foreseen this (maybe the babbling noises I was making were a give-away) and put the kettle on to heat some water. The teapot is also standing by. The air is full of the aroma of cookies baking and almost ready to remove from the oven. What remains is to choose the tea. Decisions, decisions, decisions…

The choices:

  • English Breakfast, good anytime of day, not just at breakfast. Usually a blend of black teas like Keemun, this tea brews up dark and strong. Definitely needs a bit of smoothing with either honey or milk and a sweetener, at least for my delicate constitution. It also smells so yummy, especially with that cookie smell wafting my way.
  • Indian Spiced Chai, made with black tea and traditional spices like cardamom, coriander, and ginger. Again, milk and sweetener are my enhancements of choice.
  • A delicate green tea, brewed up light. Since the cookies are chocolate chip, this tea is a great go-with. Better decide before that water boils, though, or the tea will be more of a green tea stew. Ugh!
  • Darjeeling is another option. Often called the “champagne of teas,” this tea is delicate and satisfying. Some purists might cringe at this, but I put milk and sweetener in mine.

The choice is made: English Breakfast! It’s so appropriate for this time of year and will stand up well to reheating, very important since I’ll probably end up setting the cup down somewhere for a half hour or so while I “tweak” the decorations on the tree. It always seems lopsided with more garland or lights or ornaments on one side versus another, and one or more of those twinkle lights always manages to burn out.

Some year, we’ll set up a model railroad around the base of the Christmas tree. Hubby has wanted to do this since childhood. We envision a train with an engine pulling a line of flat cars loaded with tree ornaments. Of course, we couldn’t run the train too fast, or those ornaments, through the wonder of centrifugal force, will become projectiles, going ping! around the room and landing in a less-than-gentle manner against the brick fireplace, the wainscoting, or a table leg.

If you look really close, you’ll see a little black-and-white kitty napping under the tree. That’s “T.C.” — the Christmas cat. He’s gone now, but the memories remain. He never climbed the tree, like some other cats we know, but he would bat at any ornaments hanging down below the lowest branches. We often found them off in a corner where they had rolled when he was done playing with them (after which he would join us for tea).

Holiday wishes to everyone and a teacup toast. Enjoy!

Don’t forget to check out A.C.’s blog, Tea Time with A.C. Cargill!

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