There are very few things I do that are not accompanied by a cup of tea (and no, I’m not going to tell you what those things are!). For most activities, tho’, there’s a tea that nicely complements it.
Take holiday gift-wrapping for example. I always enjoy giving and receiving gifts that are wrapped so beautifully or charmingly that you almost don’t want to open them. (I said almost.) And I like to drink tea while I’m busy wrapping.
For the Chanukah gifts I give, I prefer to use wrapping papers with the blue, white, and gold colours associated with this holiday. Why these colours? Traditional Jewish prayer shawls are crafted with two sets of bright blue tzizit – a type of fringe that is mandated to be worn by Jewish law. These shawls are generally white, or white woven with blue. The traditional gift given at Chanukah is money, or gelt – either real money or gold foil-covered chocolates (which many of us actually prefer!).
So as I wrap my Chanukah gifts, I might sip an oolong tea, sometimes referred to as blue tea. The carefully rolled oolong leaves with a bluish tinge are generally the most floral types, and I like these very much. Sweet delicate white teas produce a lovely, smooth, and gentle cup that makes any job more enjoyable, so I often choose one of these teas. And for gold I turn to Assam Golden Tips, one of my husband’s favourite teas for its rich and nectar-y cup, although there are many other teas that fall under the category of “golden.”
Christmas gifts require wrapping in a different spectrum: reds, greens, and silvers are the colours most associated with Christmas. And so these are the teas I sip as I’m wrapping Christmas presents.
Black tea is often referred to as “red tea” in China because of the reddish colour in the cup, so any type of black tea is suitable to start this complementary tea and gift wrap pairing. For something a little different, try a Nepal black tea or, if you prefer your tea with milk and sugar, a hearty Kenya tea may suit you just right.
Green tea is another category that provides for many possibilities. Matcha is a bit too fussy for the messy business of gift wrapping, so I usually settle on gyokuro – not only for the rich taste but for its beautiful bright green in the cup.
If I had to choose a favourite Christmas carol it would certainly be the beautiful and haunting Silver Bells. I try to find wrapping paper with silvery highlights – and enjoy a silvery tea to complement it. My long-time favourite is Ceylon Vintage Silver Tips, either on its own or blended into a black Ceylon tea to “sweeten” it.
As you’re wrapping your holiday gifts this year, give a thought to which teas best complement the beautiful papers, ribbons, and bows that make these gifts so special.
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