It’s been another fun year adding to the T Ching blog, which looks to be growing in scope and quality each month!  Thank you for the opportunity to be a fellow contributor to this community.  I’ll close out this year with a fun list of ways to enjoy loose-leaf teas during the holidays.

1.    Throw a traditional holiday tea party.

The most obvious, of course, as they’re dominating the newspaper holiday events page these days.  But putting a tea party together for friends can be a truly memorable way to welcome them.  You can go as fancy as you like, but there are easy ways to get festive with a tea party as well.  Serve up at least two different types of tea – it’s always good to have a caffeine-free variety – peppermint’s a great holiday choice – and then steep up a pot of your own favorite.  The best part of holiday entertaining isn’t gifting, but sharing, and we tea lovers do like to share our newest finds!

2.    Consider Earl Grey cookies – they’re delicate and delicious.

They’re perfect for your holiday tea party, or as a uniquely spiced sugar cookie addition to your Christmas cookie platter.

3.    Spruce up your hardwood floors.

As if there wasn’t enough to keep us busy this season, the holidays seem to be when we’re cleaning house the most.  However, you can lighten your load and deodorize your house by throwing some of your least favorite (!) teas on your hardwood floors an hour or two before you plan to sweep.  You’ll be surprised – the tea leaves help you gather more dust than you’d ever manage otherwise.  And, even if the tea you used is less than stellar for drinking, it’ll freshen the atmosphere.

4.    Use tea for potpourri or incense.

Here’s another way to take advantage of the absorbent quality of tea leaves.  Here again, a tea that turned out not to be your best friend in the cup will do wonders for your home.  In the evenings, after cooking, I love to burn tea leaves in an incense burner in the kitchen.

5.    Roast a turkey with tea.

6.    Make an Egg Nog Tea Latte.

We love our Bolder Breakfast loose-leaf black tea at The Tea Spot…and have a special place in our hearts for this tea latte’d up with some amazing egg nog.

7.    Sip an Irish Earl Toddy.

Try some Bailey’s splashed into a mug of hot Earl of Grey.

8.    Remember that tea-infused vodkas make lovely after-dinner drinks and holiday hostess gifts.

9.    Gift some tins of tea.

Your friends will never tire of it, and nor will you.  The beauty and variety of loose-leaf teas are nothing short of amazing.  Package it up in a pretty tin, and you don’t even need to wrap it.

10.    Darjeeling, Darling.

I couldn’t finish a holiday teas post without mentioning my favorite tea-time tea.  In my world, there’s no better tea than an organic Darjeeling to pair with almost any baked holiday dessert – be it fruity, spicy, or chocolaty.  And to ring in the New Year, you can bring tea to the party – just chill down some Darjeeling, and turn your champagne into tea cocktails with a 50-50 mix of the two.  You’ll love both the sophisticated color and the flavor.

Happy Steeping to all, and to all a good night!

Originally posted in December 2010.

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