We love exploring the T Ching archives, discovering posts ones like this one. In December, 2011, author, Guy Munsch, shared a special message about giving the gift of tea. There’s the delight of creating one last-minute gift and the question of whether or not being a tea person inspires us to be a bit more mindful.

At this time of year, many of us are wondering how to select something from the tea world for others. Updating Guy’s original article, we’ve added a few suggestions for giving the gift of tea to celebrate this 2021 holiday season.

A Christmas Eve Gift of Tea

Last year, by the middle of the afternoon on Christmas Eve, shoppers seemed to have completed their last-minute gift buying. Our tea shop was pretty much picked clean, except for one of our larger gift baskets that remained by the front window. Weary employees kept their eyes on the slow-moving clock and the front door, hoping we were ready to call it a day and let everyone go home to start their holiday celebrations.

But just before we …

Swaying a little with each step, a gentlemen opened the shop door, grabbed the large gift basket and pulled out a credit card at the front register exclaiming, “Looks nice!” On his way home from an office holiday happy hour, he was one gift short of what he needed and we were conveniently located across from where he worked and still open in his hour of need. We completed the transaction with a little bit of guilt. Was our carefully prepared gift basket of teas and accessories going to a good home? 

This customer didn’t seem particularly attuned to the tea-drinking habit and there was no indication that the person he was giving the gift to was much of a tea drinker either. For all we knew, later that evening, the artfully arranged basket could end up being re-gifted at another holiday event. Yet, when he walked out the front door, the customer seemed quite happy and all we could do was hope for the best. Following him to the front door, we turned the lock shut and switched off the “Open” sign, joining merchants and their store elves everywhere in breathing a sigh of relief. We had survived another hectic holiday season, and even sold the last gift basket.

Most tea customers are the exact opposite of our last customer of Christmas 2010. When putting a gift together, they carefully select teas, flavors, and accessories that match the preferences and the lifestyle of the gift recipient. This thoughtful gift giving doesn’t only extend to the selection of the most appropriate items, but they also seem to appreciate when a tea or merchandise program inherently gives back to the larger community in some way as well. There is a mindful quality to their gift giving as opposed to just fulfilling another gift-giving obligation.

That regular tea drinkers might make more thoughtful shoppers probably doesn’t come as a surprise to “tea people.” It is just one more extension of the good that comes out of the tea-drinking habit. Perhaps as the world gains more tea drinkers, there will be a little more humanity in our consuming. What a positive, healthy development to look forward to in 2012.

This10 Suggestions for Giving a Gift of Tea

  1. Choose a tea for their tastes and not what tea you want them to like. A gift of tea is not the time to give someone who prefers Constant Comment a Pu’erh. 
  2. If you don’t know what they like, then select an assortment. 
  3. Or . . . consult your local tea retailer. Like the gift basket Guy described in his article, let a pro guide you to make choices. They are keen observers of tea preferences and how to make a tea gift special. If you don’t live near a tea shop, you might check out our Holiday Gift Guide for 2021. Meet 20 different online sellers with great ideas for gifting te
  4. Consider how and when they are likely to drink the tea. If you know that they drink coffee in the mornings and tea at night, then select a soothing herbal blend. Many retailers are now calling herbal teas “functional” teas. The way they describe these teas, serving specific needs, can guide you to one for the person on your list. 
  5. Add infusion ware to the gift. It might be a simple in-cup strainer basket. Or a funny tea fob. If you’re giving teabags, add a teacup or teapot. 
  6. Sweeten your gift with a time together. Zoom now enables virtual teatime. During Covid, many people found regular gatherings for “afternoon tea” made a regular phone call feel much more special and satisfying. 
  7. Tea gifts can be more than just tea and infusers. You can include homemade cookies or scones and a favorite jam or honey. 
  8. Create your own holiday blends. 
  9. Create a complete tea-party-in-a-box. Include treats and a simple decoration in addition to the tea and perhaps a simple teapot. 
  10. Give a live tea party! This is especially good if you love party planning. You create the event but the recipient of your gift invites others. Below is a sample gift certificate for giving someone a party. This design was created on Canva. But there are hundreds of ways to make your own gift Tea Party Gift Card.



Holiday Tea Gift Guide 2021

Finally, this is the first year that T Ching has published a gift guide with a wide variety of tea gifts. There are choices in almost every price range and varied interest in tea.

But, if all else fails, and you’re still stumped for what to give the tea lover in your life, consider again Guy’s observation that tea lovers very much enjoy browsing and pondering their decisions. Perhaps a gift card and shopping spree?

 Happy Tea Shopping One & All!