If you ask our nearly 8-year-old son what his favourite part of Christmas was this year, he’s not going to list the fun toys (Lego, Playmobil) that he received, and he likely won’t remember the Angel Tree opportunities we had that made the Season special to my husband and me. He’s not even likely to remember the camera that we gave him, or The Big Gift (a snowblower) that my husband and I received from my parents. He’s likely to say, “Spending time with my family,” and although we never coached him on that answer, we were pretty delighted that he chose it.
We did have a great time as a family – relaxed, enjoyable, in front of the fireplace, and quiet. But we were also surprised by a secondary gift my parents sent us – a large box from EnglishTeaStore.com.
My mom had called me on the pretense of “being bored with her tea” (she drinks Lady Grey and a few others almost exclusively) and wanted to know what I enjoyed. And so, being slightly naïve (and always assuming that what people say is what they mean), I deluged her for about 20 minutes on what we drink, what mixtures I enjoy creating, and all of the nuances of tea-drinking in our home. I put the pieces of the puzzle together when the box arrived – but we didn’t open it until Christmas morning.
The short of it was that my mom was taking notes for my dad, who promptly placed an order for us and included a bunch of British goodies. We were so delighted when we opened it!
Of course, we found some of our favourite teas – Lady Londonderry, Irish Breakfast, Arctic Raspberry, and Peach, but also included was a delightful bag of Blackcurrant tea and a large variety of yummies.
We have long been fans of HP Sauce, and the HP sold in stores in the States includes high fructose corn syrup. HFCS is my personal health-nutrition-nemesis and it lends an overly-sweet taste to items in which it’s used. So our HP Sauce is the original – and comes either from Canada (we live about 45 minutes from Windsor, Ontario) or from ETS. And so my parents included some HP Sauce in our package. We use it on stews, pot pies, and other savoury meals and love the spice and enhancement it brings. A1 Sauce simply doesn’t compare.
There is a variety of English candies, all of which are significantly less-sweet than their US counterparts (which was both a surprise and treat to our tastebuds). And a jar of the famous Robertson’s Golden Shred Marmalade, which has turned out to be the first marmalade we’ve eaten that isn’t bitter or cloying.
We’ve been rationing out the Digestive Biscuits to go with our tea, and our son has been devouring the Planets – as rapidly as we permit him.
While a box from ETS won’t ever remove the snow from our long, rural driveway, it truly was a treat to open and explore on Christmas Day – and one that has been enjoyed by the whole family.
Sue’s blog, A Mother’s Heart, is a great place to pass the time reading.
[Editor’s note: Our blog is chock full of great articles on this topic. Use our search feature to find them!]
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