For many, Christmas means gifts. And gifts can really run the gamut from delightful to what-am-I-actually-supposed-to-do-with-this. Either way, we are appreciative because the individual went to the trouble of getting us something, of thinking of us, of trying to include us.

Since I got married this year, it was my first year receiving gifts from my new in-laws. Thus it ran the gamut of “awesome!” to “what? why?”. My husband’s grandmother was no exception, and in addition to the (adorable) hat-glove-scarf set and obligatory polka-dotted socks, gave me a small tin of tea that she got at a farmer’s market because she’d remembered my preference for tea over coffee.

My husband and my first collaborative piece. I did the pencil illustration of cute kitties, and he did the inking with his more gritty style. AKA, why we always need inking pens.

As a contrast, when my husband and I spent the day after Christmas with my parents, we were given exactly what we had asked for: ‘Wonder Woman’ and ‘Deadpool’ on Blu-Ray, and new inking pens for both of us (plus a pair of Hello Kitty pajamas for me because it’s my MOM). But while we were with them, she also brought out a teapot. It had originally belonged to my paternal grandmother who passed away last year. This delightful woman had collected–of all things–Japanese china. She mailed most of her collection to me years ago, but this teapot had ended up with my parents for whatever reason. My mother had no use for it so asked if I would like it. Of course I did!

It was that incredibly distinctive 1940s Japanese lustreware with the blue and peach glaze. Hand-painted, built-in tea diffuser, inverse glazing detail. Everything about it was just beautiful. So it became important to me that I honor both grandmothers by making a pot of the tea from my husband’s grandmother in the teapot from mine. A delightful way to bring all of my family, my new family, and my love for tea together.

The tea was incredibly aromatic, a ceylon with vanilla flavor and including vanilla bean seeds. The flavor was delightful and sweet. Like many flavored teas, a small amount of honey really brings out the flavors and natural sweetness. Pouring it out of the vintage teapot from my grandmother’s collection only made it all the sweeter to me.

I hope that you have been enjoying the holidays and that tea has been part of it!