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We haven’t even reached Halloween yet but we are extremely excited to tell you that we now have Christmas Crackers available for your purchase. It’s never too early to stock up on them as gifts or for yourself! And it’s also never to early to talk about Christmas!

 

What are Christmas Crackers?

I had no idea what a Christmas Cracker was before the English Tea Store starting selling them! But I am so happy I now know because they make such easy, inexpensive & fun gifts that all ages will love.

They were invented (by accident) by a man named Tom Smith in 1847. That means this tradition has been around for over 150 years! A cracker, pictured below, is a small cardboard tube wrapped in beautiful Christmas paper. Two people hold on either side of the tube to “pop” it. Next the cardboard turns into a hat for you to strut around in, a small gift, a balloon and a saying/joke. The “joke” is usually so laughable because they really are not that funny. The tradition is to crack them open after Christmas dinner.

Image result for christmas crackers

Tom Smith eventually started making Crackers for more seasons because they were so popular! Something that makes crackers so special is that they are made by hand.

 

 

Here at ETS, we have crackers for all ages. There are crackers for adults & kids.

 

Christmas Crackers for Kids:

Christmas Crackers for Adults:

 

We also carry a large variety of Pudding Lane Crackers! If you’re planning on having a Christmas party this festive season, they would make for perfect party favors! Or even pick one up for each member of your family for an inexpensive & fun tradition to start.

 

-Alexis

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Christmas is a magical time for everyone but for the children, it’s especially magical. School is out, snow is falling, and presents are unwrapped under a beautifully decorated tree with loved ones. The most important memories are developed during childhood, so it is key to make the holidays special for them. Tradition is taught early on and it sticks with children for years to come. They learn of old family traditions, like bringing out an old family heirloom to hang on the Christmas tree, baking Christmas cookies, or decorating the house, especially hanging Christmas stockings.teatssc1000021391_-00_mars-and-friends-medium-selection-box-181g

teatssc1000015115_-00_cadbury-selection-pack-medium-81g_1Now, about those stockings: they’re usually left empty right up until Christmas, when they’re filled to the brim with goodies and toys! For children, sweets are a big deal, so when shopping for their stockings this holiday season, why not try a candy tube like Maltesers, Rowntree’s Fruit Pastilles, Pink Smarties, or Cadbury Buttons? They’re narrow enough to fit in the stocking and no one will ever see them! Candy tubes are popular during the holidays in the UK and nearly every confection company makes them!

Another popular candy creation in the UK are selection boxes. They range from small to large and they come with all sorts of chocolate. Milkybar and Galaxy also make variously sized selection boxes if you or your loved one fancies these more. Each box comes with a preselected mix of candy bars loved by fans. The hardest part is which one to eat first!

Now I know candy is not entirely good for children, but it’s the holidays and they only come once a year! Let them enjoy themselves before they go back to school and homework!

-CD

 

Oolong Tea and others - should kids drink them or not? (stock image)

Oolong Tea and others – should kids drink them or not? (stock image)

In the Age of Communication, publishing and distributing their thoughts and ideas is always at people’s fingertips. Actually, this is really great, and the world of tea has benefited hugely from this: there are myriads of tea bloggers, creators of websites or books or e-books related to tea, content writers and “niche journalists” out there now, boosting the general knowledge about tea and very probably the popularity of tea with their publications. However, as all things in the universe, the ease of creating huge volumes of information at no or low costs and the overall accessibility of this information has its downside: things are being discussed over and over again that actually wouldn’t need any discussion at all, but only some common sense instead.

So, in tea forums and blogs, I keep coming across the much discussed question, whether tea is good for children or not, and whether it is reasonable to let them drink some or not. And I keep thinking, ‘What a question’!

It all starts with most of these discussions never even defining what they mean when saying “tea” in the first place. This inevitably becoming apparent in the course of the discussion, the same usually ends with reaching a consent that herbal tisanes might be harmless for children, while “real” tea (Camellia sinensis: green tea, Oolong tea, black tea, white tea, yellow tea, Pu Er tea) is known to contain caffeine, or theine (same thing) and is therefore not good for children, at least not to a certain age.

While a little more differentiation would definitely do good here in the first place, if the topic needs to be discussed at all, as a father of two boys (one 16, the other 8 years old now) I just cannot remember that this question has ever been seriously arising.

Tisanes are harmless? Oh, my god! Won’t this depend on what tisane we are talking about? I don’t want to be too specific about this, since I don’t know much about tisanes, but common sense tells me there are probably harmless ones, such as chamomile or peppermint “tea”, and there are others that have partially powerful medicinal properties and effects, so I would think twice before considering them as ‘harmless’ for children.

Then tea, real tea… if you are drinking tea the way it should be done, i.e. without the highly questionable habit of adding sugar or milk to it, you will never ever have to think about this, because your kids are hardly ever going to drink more than a sip of it, and this more out of curiosity but for actually liking the taste. But even if they would drink a whole cup, how much caffeine will they really take in? And in terms of being unhealthy, how will a cup of tea compare to the sweets, fast food chain meals, sugary lemonades and chemically ‘enhanced’ trend beverages they take in on a daily basis as the average kid of today (without the question how healthy or unhealthy these are being much discussed)?

I am using aroma cups to try first steeps myself, and whenever one of the kids came on and asked to try some of my tea out of curiosity, I would fill one aroma cup for them and pass it on to them with my mind being at complete peace: even bragging about how much they like it, I can’t remember any of them ever asked for a second cup. So, following common sense instead of trying to become all scientific about this seems to make a lot of sense to me, or did you ever hear of a kid dying, or even becoming sick, from an overdose of tea?

See more of  Thomas Kasper’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.

Should kids drink tea? It’s a question that gets tossed around a lot and it doesn’t have a one-size fits all answer.

Before exploring this issue, some definitions are in order. Tea, strictly speaking, is a beverage made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, which means that it usually contains caffeine. Herbal teas, more properly referred to as tisanes or infusions, typically do not contain caffeine.

The next point that merits looking into is what is a child, or more specifically, what age group are we referring to when we say child? Most people will tend to hold to a different standard for a fifteen-year-old child than they do for a two year old. Ultimately, the best bit of advice, as with any health-related concerns you have about your child, is to consult a doctor.

Having said that, it’s probably also safe to say that for any child older than a toddler, tea, in moderation, is not a bad thing. The UK Tea Council, not surprisingly, agrees with this notion and has put together an article devoted to children and tea drinking.

In a time when the consumption of heavily sugared and caffeinated sodas is common, tea might be the lesser of two evils. Parents who don’t think twice about giving kids caffeinated sodas might do better to introduce them to tea. Even if it’s real tea and not a tisane, the caffeine content is not much more than soda and, except with bottled teas, lacks the sugar or high fructose corn syrup that have made soda consumption a matter of controversy in recent years.

Of course, whether or not children are likely to be fond of tea is another matter entirely and may have a lot to do with what they’ve grown accustomed to. A child (or an adult, for that matter) who’s become used to heavily sweetened, flavored sodas and other beverages may be a hard sell when it comes to drinking tea.

For more thoughts on children and tea consumption take a look at this thread at the TeaChat forum. For more on caffeine and kids, look here and here and at this article, which suggests that caffeine has a greater effect on boys than girls. On the flip side of this issue is an article that suggests that caffeinated drinks can benefit health and that school aged kids “can consume up to 95mg a day of caffeine.”

Make sure to check out Tea Guy Speaks, William’s blog.

Loose Leaf Herbal

Loose Leaf Herbal

If you’re a parent and a tea-drinker, no doubt you’ve had your children ask for sips of tea and denied them. While most of us don’t know the half-life of caffeine (the time it takes for the body to rid itself of half of the caffeine consumed) is 4.9 hours, we do know what happens when our kids consume it and don’t appreciate the challenge it creates for them when they try to lay down to sleep.

We found ourselves in a similar position, but as we re-acclimated to Michigan winters after living out of state for a dozen years, dinner was simply cozier and more enjoyable when all of us could partake in tea with supper.

We started out with herbals — I discovered the joy of a lemongrass herbal that literally made my mouth water and our son enjoyed the same herbal immensely. And because it was caffeine-free, I didn’t worry that he would be too wired to sleep properly that night. Our son still enjoys “his tea,” which is generally some type of herbal or decaffeinated tea.

But what to do if you don’t want to drink herbals? What if your children are old enough to handle small amounts of caffeine and you’d like them to develop a taste for tea?

Cambric tea is an easy solution to that. Much as the French add water and small amounts of wine to a glass for a 10 year old child at dinner, cambric tea is mostly milk, sugar, hot water, and splash of black tea. Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote about her mother making cambric tea for Carrie (one of her younger sisters), and how it was more milk than anything else. But served in a teacup and warm, it can make a child feel “grown up” and encourage the child’s tastes to grow as well.

Simply put a lump (or teaspoon) of sugar in a teacup, add milk to bring the level to about half in the teacup, and fill the rest with piping hot water alone or hot water and a splash of black tea. Stir and present as the treat it is, knowing that eventually, the child will likely move out of the sweet-aspect of cambric tea and desire the stronger flavour of brewed tealeaves themselves.

Whether you choose herbals or cambric tea for your children, you’re sure to create a family tradition that the child will look fondly on for years to come. Passing on our love of All Things Tea is a worthy pursuit, at least in my book.

Stop by a pay Sue a visit at her blog, A Mother’s Heart.

[Editor’s note: Our blog is chock full of great articles on this topic. Use our search feature to find them!]

© 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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