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Barry's TeaEveryone associates St. Patrick’s Day with wearing green but it’s much more than that. Over the years, I have learned there are more ways to celebrate St. Patrick’s. Being an American, I have only seen people wear green, go to parties, and hold parades in the news. It wasn’t until recent years I found out that people made a tasty dish called Corned Beef and Cabbage (even if it’s just in the States). While I spent my St. Patrick’s Days at school growing up, it was still more fun to wear green and watch everyone else doll themselves up in wacky getups, wigs, jewelry, etc (plus all the kids got a green shamrock cookie at lunch)! We would read stories about Ireland and learn more about their culture. When I learned St. Patrick’s Day was also about feasting, I was very excited since my interest in UK and Irish culture has increased over the years and I love food. I have tried soda bread which is delicious but I have yet to try boxty (Irish potato pancake).

Saint Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland who was known for bringing Christianity to Ireland. He was originally from Britain but later came to Ireland to live. It is said March 17th is the day Saint Patrick died. St. Patrick’s Day was created as a religious holiday meant to celebrate his life and work but has become a public holiday in Ireland since 1903.

St. Patrick’s Day is more important on the other side of the pond. While March 17th is a normal day for people in the United States with the addition of green to our wardrobes, it is actually considered a public holiday in Ireland, so places like banks, government offices, and even schools are closed. Since it is Ireland’s national holiday, it is a day for families to observe. Families will attend mass while wearing their best clothes to honor Saint Patrick while parades are held celebrating Irish culture. Once mass is complete, they usually join together for a feast though not with corned beef and cabbage, but rather bacon and cabbage. This dish is enjoyed with some parsley sauce, maybe with a bit of mustard and some potatoes.

While people are drowning shamrocks and toasting a certain beverage that is sometimes dyed green for the occasion, I will be St. Patrick’s Day with some Barry’s Tea imported from Ireland. Pairs up very well with a nice soda bread (especially a freshly baked one that’s buttered up while it’s nice and hot. You can also celebrate with Bewley’s, Twinings, or even our very own blend.

And so I raise my teacup in honor of Saint Patrick saying this old saying, “May your blessings outnumber, the shamrocks that grow, And may trouble avoid you wherever you go.” Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

A few random St. Paddy’s facts:IMG_20150310_141024_498

  • Pubs weren’t actually allowed to open on St. Patrick’s Day until the 1970s!
  • The color of St. Patrick was not originally green but instead was blue! That changed in the 19th century when green became a more official color for Ireland.
  • Saint Patrick’s given name was Maewyn Succat. He adopted the name Patrick once he became a priest.
  • The first American St. Patrick’s Day celebration took place in Boston, Massachusetts in 1737

~ CD

Editor’s Note: Green is typically for the Catholics on St. Patrick’s Day. As a Protestant, it is appropriate for me to wear orange. But since that is not commonly known, I typically don’t. 🙂

Image courtesy of nokhoog_buchachon at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of nokhoog_buchachon at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

January has come and gone and everything seems to have returned to normal after the holiday excitement. Christmas lights are down and there is a chill in the air. Everything seems blue but one thing that is around the corner will definitely warm your heart. Valentine’s Day.

As much as people say that Valentine’s Day was totally made up, Valentine’s Day is

much more than hearts, cards, and chocolate. Valentine’s Day is to celebrate in the memory of Saint Valentine, who was a martyr and lived his life for love. February 14th was a feasting day in Saint Valentine’s honor. Valentine’s Day is celebrated around the world to this day and the United States and Britain are no exception!

I grew up in the US where I have seen so many flowers, cards, and sweets given to loved ones, along with packed restaurants booked to the brim with reservations. Britain has the same customs but unlike the Americans, many Brits write poems, sonnets, and more to pay a tribute to Saint Valentine.

The children of Britain also get to be a part of the celebrations! When I was growing up, the only thing I did was give Valentine’s Day cards to my classmates along with some candy hearts. The children in Britain sing special songs and are given treats and money in return. In some regions, tasty Valentines buns with plums, raisins, or caraway seeds are enjoyed as well. These buns are also eaten in honor of the birds. Valentine’s Day is dubbed “Birds Wedding Day” because February 14th is the time for birds to begin looking for a mate. Geoffrey Chaucer even wrote a poem about the birds: “For this was on St. Valentine’s Day, when every bird cometh there to choose his mate.”

Mid-February in Britain also signifies the changing of seasons from winter to spring. With the birds and everyone rejoicing, it certainly adds a spring-filled cheer!

Image courtesy of zole4 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of zole4 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Of course, not all the gifts have to be the standard flowers and candy. Tea lovers enjoy a nice cuppa, perhaps even with their date! English Tea Store’s Lover’s Leap can be purchased by itself or as part of a number of samplers (Tea Lovers being one). The Lover’s Leap is a black tea which can be enjoyed during a nice Valentine’s Day tea. The Lover’s Sampler is also a nice variety for your V-Day tea, letting your guests pick which tea they want to try! Don’t forget to whip up some fresh scones, too! Home baked goods are always the best gift of the heart!

~CD

Groundhog-Standing2You might have taken a look at your calendar and have seen the words “Groundhog Day” gracing the February 2nd spot. Groundhog day is an important day for many, especially the people who are dealing with cold weather. California doesn’t have too many groundhogs that I know of (plenty of gophers in my area), so it is a good time for me to learn about this day.

Why February 2nd? It’s because that day is Candlemas Day, an ancient Christian festival marking the midway point between winter and spring. All the candles that were used in the church in the coming year were brought into the church and a blessing was said over them, making it the “Mass of the Candles.” In the medieval days, it was believed the hibernating animals left their dens on Candlemas day to observe the weather and forecast early springs and late winters. The English used to use otters and badgers to forecast the weather and planting seasons as did the Germans. When German settlers came to the United States, they were not able to easily find badgers, especially in Pennsylvania where many had settled. The settlers then decided a groundhog was more suitable since they were more common.

The groundhog pops out on this day from the ground once a year. If he sees his shadow, it’s six more weeks of winter. However, if he doesn’t see his shadow, it’s an early spring!

You will be surprised to know that Groundhog Day does not just take place in the United States but in Canada as well. Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania is a well-known town that celebrates Groundhog Day. They were the first town to hold Groundhog Day 1887 with the original groundhog, who has always been named Punxsutawney Phil. This now-televised event also attracts tourists to the small town of Punxsutawney just to see the famous little groundhog and have fun along with the town regulars.

Tea_CupNow, if six more weeks of winter is ahead, a good way to beat it is with a good cup of hot tea. A nice cup of Yorkshire tea is a good accompaniment to a cold winter’s day. Perhaps if you do not want caffeine and just want to relax (or go back to sleep like the groundhog!), then a Georgia Peach Rooibos is another good tea. Very peachy and soothing, the color of the leaves will help take your mind off the dreary winter days. Of course, if the groundhog predicts an early spring, try them iced!

~CD

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Thanksgiving is once again upon us. And tea is an important part of this annual gathering of kith and kin. No matter what you traditionally serve in your house, there is a tea that is perfect to go with it.

Pumpkin Spice Flavored Black Tea (Photo source: The English Tea Store)

Pumpkin Spice Flavored Black Tea (Photo source: The English Tea Store)

Flavored teas are especially welcome at such times, and not just any flavors but typical flavors for this time of year. Pumpkin, cranberry, cinnamon, apple, oranges, and various spices. These carry through when the Thanksgiving feast is done and into the Christmas season.

A few options:

Stash Tea has a number of Fall and Winter flavors that will go great with whatever your feast consists of (note that Stash – and some other tea vendors – mislabels their spiced teas as “chais”):

  • Stash Chai Spice Black Tea — Very aromatic, slightly sweet, strong, and penetrating flavor, with lingering notes of almond. Excellent plain or with milk (regular or evaporated) and sweetener.
  • Stash Christmas Morning Black Tea — Black teas and jasmine green tea in this breakfast blend makes a rich, multi-layered drink. Brisk and sweet. Full-bodied. Lovely aroma. Enjoy it hot or iced, with milk and sugar or plain.
  • Stash White Christmas Tea — A unique blend of white tea, cool peppermint, and a hint of ginger. Add a touch of sugar or honey to bring out distinct flavor notes.
  • Stash Orange Spice Tea — Full-bodied black teas from India, Sri Lanka and China, with cinnamon from Sri Lanka and sweet California orange peel and orange oil. Aromatic with flavors of zesty orange and spicy cinnamon.
  • Stash Chai Green Tea — Lung Ching (Dragonwell) Chinese green tea and cinnamon, whole cloves, cardamom, ginger root, and sarsaparilla. Flavorful and spicy, great with milk and sugar any time of the day.
Blue Q Pleasant Holidays with Family Tea  (Photo source: The English Tea Store)

Blue Q Pleasant Holidays with Family Tea (Photo source: The English Tea Store)

Other brands have some wonderful flavors, too:

  • Blue Q Pleasant Holidays with Family Tea — A black tea spiced with ginger, cardamom and cinnamon.
  • Harney & Sons Holiday and Spiced Teas — Available in festive blends like Hot Cinnamon and White Christmas, these teas are sure to please. Don’t miss Hot Cinnamon Spice and Indian Spice.
  • Harney and Sons Hot Cinnamon Spice Tea — A sweet and spicy tea with a blend of cinnamon, orange, and sweet cloves. Very seasonal aroma and taste!
  • Revolution Orange Chocolate Green Tea — An amazing combination of flavors: chocolate, oranges, and green tea. The aroma will make your mouth water!
  • Taylors of Harrogate Spiced Christmas Tea — Created by master tea blenders especially for the Yuletide season, but popular year round. Black China teas, tangy lemon peels, fruity orange peels, cinnamon and safflower petals. Enjoyed with a bit of honey.
  • Twinings Christmas Tea — Expertly blended black tea with traditional spice flavors of cinnamon and cloves. The aroma will get you into that special holiday mood. Enjoy plain or with milk and sweetener.
  • Twinings Cranberry Green Tea — Green tea with the essence of fresh cranberries for a great fruit flavor that pleases all the senses.
  • Twinings Orange Bliss Black Tea — A fresh citrus tasting tea combining the awesome flavor of freshly squeezed oranges with an exquisite black tea for delightfully sweet tea you will love.

As you’re getting that Thanksgiving menu all set up, be sure to include teas. They will enhance that festive mood and please your guests’ tastebuds!

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

20141117_111106pumpkin spiceI brought home a package of our Pumpkin Spice Scone mix for the weekend, with the promise of baking them and bringing them to our merchandising meeting. These are the kind where you just add water. For comparison, I also baked a batch of regular scones. The instructions on the pumpkin spice were easy to follow but the mixture was a little crumbly. More along the line of a pie crust flaky, the drop-biscuit type of scone was difficult to form. They turned out crunchy in the oven after the 12-15 minutes stated. The flavor was mild, without overpowering cinnamon or clove. They paired well with the double devon cream.

Next week catch our informative blog on scones, and be prepared for some lively debate!

 

 

20141117_140157

 

Flowering Tea - 3 Flower Burst - Green Tea (ETS image)

Flowering Tea – 3 Flower Burst – Green Tea (ETS image)

Tea is being cultivated in more and more countries around the world. China and India remain top producers with Sri Lanka and Kenya being close contenders. It makes me and others interested in the culture of these countries, and that includes some of their holidays. So, I have been looking them up and thought I’d start sharing some of them with you as a way of enhancing your experience of enjoying their teas.

Guy Fawkes Day – United Kingdom

Always on November 5th and also known as Gunpowder Day. It dates back to when King James I, an avid Protestant, was crowned king and began persecuting Catholics (unlike “bloody” Queen Mary who did the opposite). Well, as can be expected, a group of Catholics didn’t like this very much and sought to send a bit of a message by blowing up the British Houses of Parliament when the king and his supporter were in the buildings. Their leader was – tick… tick… tick! – Guy Fawkes! He led the infamous Gunpowder Conspiracy of 1605. He was stopped as he was about to light the fuse for all the gunpowder that was set in place for the big bang. And appropriately the day is celebrated with fireworks and bonfires – and effigies of Fawkes. The UK is quite a bunch of tea drinkers, although their tastes are getting more varied. And they have a bonafide tea garden there called Tregothnan. A great tea to celebrate with is Gunpowder (hee! couldn’t resist).

Veteran’s Day – United States

Always on November 11th, this date was called Armistice Day and first celebrated in 1921, but was changed to Verteran’s Day in 1954. It honors those members of the Armed Forces who served and died in any wars or military service. The date was selected since it was the day marking the official end of World War I in 1918. It’s a time for pausing and having a moment of silence – and then a nice hot pot of tea! More and more tea gardens are growing tea here in the U.S., from the garden in Charleston, South Carolina, to the ones in Hawaii. Time to celebrate with a nice blooming/flowering tea.

Labor Thanksgiving Day – Japan

November 23rd is the annual celebration of Labor Thanksgiving Day (勤労感謝の日 Kinrō Kansha no Hi) where thanks is giving to those who perform manual labor in fields and factories. Various festivals are held throughout the country, and school children give drawings of thanks as gifts to local kōbans (police stations). This holiday is the modern incarnation of a harvest festival known as Niiname-sai (新嘗祭?, also read as Shinjō-sai) that possibly dates back as far as the reign of the legendary Emperor Jimmu (660–585 BC). The modern version came about after World War II in 1948. You have several Japanese teas to choose from, so just pick one for your celebration.

While you dedicated tea drinkers certainly need no such reasons for drinking a great cuppa, these will help you get a better feel for the source of those teas and may inspire you to a special toast to them all.

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Celebrating with Darjeeling tea! (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

Celebrating with Darjeeling tea! (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

Tea is being cultivated in more and more countries around the world. China and India remain top producers with Sri Lanka and Kenya being close contenders. It makes me and others interested in the culture of these countries, and that includes some of their holidays. So, I have been looking them up and thought I’d start sharing some of them with you as a way of enhancing your experience of enjoying their teas.

Durga Puja – India and Nepal

30 September through 4 October2014 – Durga Puja festival commemorates a victory by the Goddess Durga over an evil buffalo demon named Mahishasura – an allegory for victory of Good over Evil. An important holiday in several states in India, including West Bengal (home of Darjeeling teas), Bihar (home of the Doke Tea Garden, an up and coming contender in the Indian tea world), and Assam (home of Assam teas). It is also celebrated in nearby Nepal (another area where their teas are beginning to gain more prominence among lovers of fine teas).

Double Ninth Day – Taiwan

Double Ninth Day falls on the 9th day of the 9th lunar month of the year. The number “9” is part of “yang” (positive energy), so the festival is sometimes called “Double Yang.” It also represents longevity. The Tawainese celebrate by climbing hills, drinking special wine made from chrysanthemums, and other customs from the Han Dynasty. Originally, these were meant to avoid dangers. These days they provide a reason to enjoy a hike and cool winds of the season, flying kites. Many fine teas come from Taiwan, mostly oolongs. And they continually strive to improve those teas. Enjoy a few to join in the celebration!

Thanksgiving Day – Canada

Yes, north of the border those wonderful folks also celebrate a Thanksgiving day, and yes they are growing tea. Not much yet, but who knows? The holiday was declared on 31 January 1957 by the Canadian Parliament as a day to celebrate harvest during the past year. It is on a Monday (the 2nd one in October), making a long weekend for parades, ball games, family gatherings, and other festivities. A few provinces have this as an optional holiday (Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia).

Diwali/Deepavali – India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Mauritius, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, Malaysia, Singapore, and Fiji

23 October 2014 – This is the “Festival of Lights” and is a 5-day Hindu celebration (with the main night being on this date to coincide with the darkest new moon night of the month of Kartik) dating back a long time, signifying the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil, and hope over despair (same theme as Durga Puja above). The event is marked by cleaning and fixing up homes, dressing up in their best clothes, fireworks, feasting, and gift exchanges with family members. The countries where this holiday is observed are all ones where tea is grown and/or enjoyed very much. Malaysia seems to regard tea almost as an obsession, rivaling the UK and the Irish Republic.

Daylight Savings Time Ends – UK

26 October 2014 – Clocks “fall back” one hour so there are more useful daylight hours, supposedly. Personally, it’s a time when I want my “elevenses” tea time at 10 a.m. and my afternoon tea at 3 p.m. instead of 4 p.m. It takes a few weeks for my “tea gene” to adjust its internal clock. Tea growing in the UK is at the Tregothnan estate and also some in Scotland. (Clocks in the U.S. aren’t set back until 2 November 2014.)

Halloween – Canada, UK, US

31 October –“All Hallows Eve” was when evil spirits were able to walk among the living and do their mischief. Posting scarily carved squashes (in the UK) and their kin (the pumpkin here in the U.S.) with lit candles in them were said to keep your home safe from these pests. Now they are something to delight the trick-or-treaters. Tea growing in the U.S. is on the rise, with the tea plantation in South Carolina being the best known (see my article here). This date also happens to be Nevada Day in that U.S. state, but no tea is grown there. Just thought you’d like to know.

While you dedicated tea drinkers certainly need no such reasons for drinking a great cuppa, these will help you get a better feel for the source of those teas and may inspire you to a special toast to them all.

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The kiddies are getting their costumes ready (or more likely mommy and daddy are getting them ready). And the adults (in-between the costume making) are piling up the treats. In this house, we’re skipping the costume part (no kids here) and going straight for the treat part. Yay!

Trick-or-treating usually involves a lot of candy. Mini chocolate candy bars, teeth busting hard candies, taffy and peanut butter chews to stick in your teeth, the seasonal favorite candy corn and pumpkins, and other high-sugar treats. But there are lots of alternatives, some not so high in sugar, and some that are not even candy. Here are a few we found:

  • Fall Harvest Snacker Gift BasketA hand-painted basket filled with warm and comforting flavors of Fall! What could be a better gift for birthdays, anniversaries, housewarmings, or just because? The basket includes: a frosted Autumn pumpkin cookie, creamy vegetable cheese spread, 3 pepper crackers, 3-ounce beef salami, stuffed olives, honey mustard pretzels, Chamberry chocolates, Sonoma three cheese swirls, 2-ounce caramel corn. Lots to crunch and munch at tea time.
Fall Harvest Snacker Gift Basket (ETS image)

Fall Harvest Snacker Gift Basket (ETS image)

  • Sticky Fingers Pumpkin Cranberry Scone MixA combination of two favorite seasonal flavors makes these scones extra special. Sticky Fingers scone mixes make scone baking as easy as open-add water-mix-bake. You’ll have hot, tasty scones in the blink of an eye. And these, with their spices, rich pumpkin flavor, and cranberry pieces, will be the best for your fall tea time. Each package makes about 12 medium-sized scones. Certified OU and D Kosher. Top with butter, clotted cream or even pumpkin butter!
Sticky Fingers Pumpkin Cranberry Scones: On the left is the mix (ETS image), on the right is the result (Stickyfingersbakeries.com image)

Sticky Fingers Pumpkin Cranberry Scones: On the left is the mix (ETS image), on the right is the result (Stickyfingersbakeries.com image)

  • ShortbreadDelicious Scottish shortbread from top companies like Walkers, Border, and O’Neill’s. Buttery and crumbly, these shortbreads will melt in your mouth. Our traditional Scottish shortbread comes in a variety of tins, styles and flavors.
Shortbread brands (ETS images)

Shortbread brands (ETS images)

A box of 6 Mr Kipling Cherry Bakewells (ETS images) and a close-up of one of these tasty treats via Yahoo! Images

A box of 6 Mr Kipling Cherry Bakewells (ETS images) and a close-up of one of these tasty treats via Yahoo! Images

  • Almondina Gingerspice Cookie BiscuitsThe Almondina company was founded by Yuval Zaliouk, symphony conductor and gourmet chef, who wanted to bring his grandmother Dina’s recipe for Petit Gateau Sec (Little Crisp Cakes) to the American market. This cookie is the ginger version but, like the original, is free of cholesterol, salt, preservatives, and most fat (the only fat is from the almonds), yet is wonderfully crunchy, flavorful, and perfect with tea. (The name “Almondina” is a tribute to grandma Dina.)
Almondina Gingerspice Cookie Biscuits in the package (ETS Image) and a close-up via Yahoo! Images.

Almondina Gingerspice Cookie Biscuits in the package (ETS Image) and a close-up via Yahoo! Images.

Don’t those all sound scrumptious? While the kids are out ringing doorbells and yelling “Trick or treat!” you can be snuggled at home with some of these and, of course, a pot or two of your favorite tea!

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Every year it seems as if that holiday season sneaks up on us, with each year getting faster and sneakier. By the time you’ve outfitted the kids for another school year, picked the perfect pumpkin to carve, and calculated the poundage of turkey needed to feed the number of relatives who’ll be gathered at your house this year, it’ll be time to hang wreaths and find the perfect little evergreen to decorate. During all this head-spinning rush you could find yourself ill-prepared for those all-important holiday tea times. Time to ask yourself: are you ready?

Holiday Spiced Flavored Black Tea (ETS image)

Holiday Spiced Flavored Black Tea (ETS image)

Stock Up on Holiday Teas

Some teas are specially blended and/or flavored for the holiday season that is steam-rolling toward us. They tend to sell out fast, so you are wise to get your orders in soon. A few examples are:

Line Up Those Holiday Goodies

Tea by itself is a fine thing. Tea with the perfect holiday goody is even finer. Just like the teas, these goodies tend to go fast, too, so best to make your selection now. Here are a few that are perennial favorites:

  • Norfolk Manor Mincemeat — Perfect for baking your own mince pies and turnovers, adding to stuffing, or filling a crown roast of pork. A blend of dried fruits, candied citron, sugar, spices, and vegetable shortening.
  • Pumpkin Cranberry Scones — Made with lots of spices, rich pumpkin flavor, and cranberry pieces. Simply add water, stir, and bake!
  • Fig Preserves — Made using only the finest figs, picked at the peak of their ripeness gently cooked to preserve their perfection. Excellent with warm scones or toast, and can be enjoyed at breakfast or any time of the day.
  • Oharas Farmhouse Fruit Cake — A wholesome country style cake, overflowing with rich, real fruit that tastes as if you’d made it yourself at home. Baked in the countryside of the Emerald Isles of Ireland and sure to satisfy.

Schedule Your Holiday Tea Times

Fitting in a moment to yourself or even with a couple of companions to enjoy a “spot of tea” and a nibble or two can be very tricky. Between work, kids, and holiday preparations, you may not have time to catch your breath, let alone steep and savor a nice pot of tea. But if you schedule things carefully, your chances are a lot better of actually fitting in a tea time or two. Clear away the pumpkin “guts” and sip on a nice pot of pumpkin spice tea, for example.

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Build a tea gift basket (Photo source: composite image)

Build a tea gift basket (Photo source: composite image)

Tea helps save your sanity while shopping — whether in actual physical stores or online — for whatever gifts are on your list. Scarf for your cousin Mike. Latest Taylor Swift CD for your sister Cassie (she’s off to college now, so Mom and Dad won’t have to listen to it). Cheese-and-crackers-and-beef-sausage gift pack for Uncle Joe. Hand-dyed scarf for Aunt Beatrice. The list seems longer and more esoteric every year. And often your choices seem the same as they did the year before.

And then there’s the Secret Santa thing that many workplaces do. How do you buy something appropriate for that guy that sits five cubicles down from you but that you hardly know and yet you and everyone else are intimately familiar with his battle with adenoids? A toughie. Mull it over while enjoying a nice cuppa cinnamon flavored tea.

One way to ease your dilemma over what to get those folks who are on your gift list every year but for whom selecting the right gift, one sure to please, gets to be more and more of a head scratcher: the tea gift basket!

I’ve written about tea baskets before and tend always to think of them as a way to satisfy a variety of needs when gifting:

  • Size can vary from the very small and simple, like a mug and a package of tea, to a large and bountiful basket full of teawares and teas and treats and maybe even a cute little stuffed critter.
  • Style and theme can vary to suit the occasion by your choice of container and decorations used. A ribbon or two (blue or pink for baby showers, red and green and gold for Christmas, etc.), a wicker basket or a tin bucket painted with the desired theme, and so on.
  • Contents can vary, from the more “basic” teas and flavored mixes with fruits, spices, and flower petals to some premium straight teas or tea blends available in small quantities and at higher prices. Chocolates, cookies, crackers, cocoa mixes, and other goodies will add a more elaborate touch.

If you’re not sure that those giftees would appreciate such a gift, maybe because they’re not tea drinkers or their preferences run to things like cherry soda and Cheetos (something I used to have all the time before discovering the wonders of tea), by all means give them a gift to suit their tastes. Otherwise, you’d be wasting good tea. But tea can still aid your gift quest. Just steep yourself a nice mugful to sip on while you cruise store sites or fill up your travel mug and take it along as you elbow your way through the crowds at the mall.

Happy shopping!

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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© Online Stores, LLC, and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, LLC., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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