12 Days of Christmas: Christmas Tea

I’m a sucker for a traditional English tea.  Maybe it’s all of those classic novels I was forced, (yet now read by choice) to analyze in high school.  Maybe it’s the fact that my mom – although born in California – exhibits oddly English behavior.  (Although to be fair, she’s read the same novels I have.)

Whatever the reason, I love teatime.  I remember having my first “Official” English Tea almost 15 years ago at a cute little tea shop in Flagstaff, AZ called Tea & Sympathy.  (A quick Google search sadly confirms what I had suspected – it is now closed.)  My mom and I ordered plates of bite sized scones, finger sandwiches, tea cakes, lemon curd and of course pots and pots of tea.

When Madison was old enough to appreciate a real tea-party (which coincided with repeated viewings of Alice in Wonderland,) my mom introduced her to teatime.  At her first party they wore funny hats and said things like, “please pass the teapot Madam” and “lovely weather we are having” in silly English accents.

Last Christmas we hosted a traditional Christmas Tea – for four.  We broke out all of the trimmings – mini scones, cucumber sandwiches, egg salad sandwiches, lemon curd, petit fours, cookies, a tripe-layer citrus poppyseed cake that was almost larger than the platter and threatened to topple at any second and pots of rich black tea with cream and sugar.  I set the table with the good linens, china, silver and teapots and we ate until we almost burst – but this time without the hats or English accents.

Because Madison won’t be with us until after Christmas, we’ve decided to make our tea our actual “Christmas” dinner – High Tea.  According to Wikipedia, high tea has become a term for elaborate afternoon tea, though this is American usage and mainly unrecognised in Britain. So we will be having the traditional English high tea which consists of cold meats, eggs or fish, cakes and sandwiches – probably with the funny hats but without the silly accents.

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