Christmas traditions build up over the years, from setting up the tree and decorating it to the after gift unwrapping clean-up. Tea can be a part of those traditions as a thirst quencher and stimulator to keep your energy up.

Have a cuppa while you sort out which ornaments to use on your tree

Have a cuppa while you sort out which ornaments to use on your tree

Here’s my list of the various teas hubby and I enjoy while we go merrily about transforming our house into a virtual North Pole extravaganza, as excited as when we were both just small children:

Activity: Setting up the artificial tree and finding that a limb is missing and that a family of spiders have nested in a corner of the box ― right after one of them has bitten my finger.

Tea to Have: Some of our special mocha pu-erh. The earthy yet chocolaty flavor keeps us smiling and calm as we rearrange the tree limbs so the bare spot where the missing limb was supposed to be doesn’t show. That tea also keeps us hopeful that the spider that bit my finger was just an ordinary house spider, not a deadly brown recluse, and that the bite will only swell a bit and turn red, not cause my finger to fall off.

Activity: Untangling strands of lights for the tree and also for the house exterior, only to find that several strands are hopelessly entwined and that a couple of the others don’t work because their teeny weeny fuse blew last year and we forgot about it and now can’t find the replacement fuse.

Apple Spice Naturally Flavored Black Tea

Apple Spice Naturally Flavored Black Tea

Tea to Have: We tend to go with something fruity and cinnamony here. Apple Spice is perfect. A few cupfuls and we’re ready to chuck all those lights and head out to the local hardware store for a fresh batch. Tra la la!

Activity: Speaking of shopping, one fave activity is hitting the local craft fairs where all sorts of unique and hand-crafted items are on display, made by craftspeople who have worked hard all year to assure that plenty of items will be in stock. We are usually able to check off a dozen giftees from our list.

Tea to Have: Any HOT tea, kept warm in an insulated mug, is great here, but I tend to go for something Kenyan-based, such as Devonshire Tea, and add just a touch of milk and sweetener. Hubby likes it, too, so we usually end up sharing. Keeps us warm from our knit cap covered heads to our multi-sock encased toes in their “shopping boots” (ones comfy enough to last through hours of trudging here and yon for the perfect gift).

Activity: Using those supposedly “safe” hanging hooks to string garland and lights around the Dining Room. (I always seem to put at least one on in the wrong place and then mess up the removal so that it doesn’t come off cleanly the way it’s supposed to. Oh, well, I’ll touch up that spot in January when the holidays are over.)

Tea to Have: We like to sip on some Tie Kuan Yin Iron Goddess during this time. It’s a great tea to settle my nerves after another of those “dang!” moments. When the garland and lights are all up, though, the effort seems totally worth it, and that oolong really lifts our spirits.

Activity: Hiding from the carolers who come to our door, singing “Silent Night” way off key and hoping for some cookies.

Tea to Have: Okay, so we’re little piggies keeping those holiday cookies all to ourselves, but they taste so good with that Holiday Spice tea! Can you blame us? Besides, we gave out all that candy at Halloween ― well, most of it, anyway ― so they should be satisfied.

Activity: Wrapping presents for each other and trying to keep it secret.

Tea to Have: What could be better than some Darjeeling, especially Mim Estate? Fruity yet mild. I steep and enjoy a small potful while hubby wraps his gifts to me. When he’s done, we reverse roles. When I’m done, the real fun begins ― teasing each other about what’s in those brightly wrapped packages.

Activity: Staying up late on Christmas Eve to catch Santa in the act.

Tea to Have: We go for something strong in caffeine and flavor ― a black-tea based Masala Chai. That and a dozen cookies each while we watch Scrooged for the umpteenth time and follow it up with It’s a Wonderful Life.

Activity: Waking up early the next morning to open our presents.

Tea to Have: Our necks are usually a bit stiff from falling asleep on the sofa, so a nice pot of Lover’s Leap Estate tea is our first choice here to get the kinks out. Then, we tear into those packages just like little kids and ooh and aah over each gift as if it were the Crown Jewels of England!

Activity: Enjoy a pancake breakfast with a side of crispy bacon and warm apple compote while wearing the new bathrobes we got each other.

Tea to Have: English Breakfast Blend No. 2 is the perfect accompaniment. I have my first cupful while hubby fries up the bacon and the pancakes are heating on the griddle, forming those telltale bubbles that show when they are ready to be flipped over. I have my second cupful at the dining table with my butter-and-syrup-covered pancakes, taking care not to drop a sticky forkful down the front of my new robe.

Gee, aren’t the holidays fun? Ho, ho, ho!

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