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Celebrate the Holidays with a Christmas Tea Party

Looking for a unique holiday get-together idea? Have a Christmas tea!

Christmas tea



High tea is a perfect event for the holidays. You can hold your tea any time of the day but mid-morning and mid-afternoon are probably the best.


It’s the holidays! Your decorations are decor enough. Use your finest dishes, utensils, and glassware to serve your food and beverages. And dig out that fancy linen that’s hidden in your closet.  

Or make it super easy and buy paper holiday plates, napkins, and tablecloths. There is no need to add extra stress to this. It’s a party! Make it as simple or complex as you like.  

For your table, pieces of pine tree, white birch, and small wrapped gifts interspersed with white tealight candles would be pretty.   


Anyone will enjoy a holiday tea. Make sure to include the kids!    


Again, it’s the holidays. Christmas music in the background is a no-brainer. Choose whichever genre you like - classics, pop, country, new age - anything works. If you did invite the kids, maybe a TV with holiday movies or TV shows like The Grinch Who Stole Christmas would be a welcome distraction.  

Another fun thing to do at a tea is to have a gift exchange. You can have everyone draw a name from a hat or have a white elephant exchange. Put a dollar limit on the gifts  


With little finger sandwiches, mini quiches, cookies, mini cupcakes, brownies, and petit fours you can make your food quite festive. This type of food is fairly simple. The cookies and petit fours can be purchased while the sandwiches can be as easy as pimiento cheese, cucumber, and chicken salad.  

Consider holiday-themed cookies rather than the usual jelly filled varieties (not that there’s anything wrong with those!) Gingerbread cookies, snickerdoodles, and holiday shaped iced cookies would be the perfect touch to your party. And petit fours decorated to look like tiny Christmas presents would be adorable. 


Of course, you should serve tea! Have a wide variety of teas available for your guests. And serving so many different teas is simple. Provide everything needed and let your guests make their own.  

In addition to the tea, include a pot of coffee, hot cocoa, an iced tea or tisane, a couple of sodas, and maybe hot apple cider or a punch (only if you feel so motivated).   Some choices of tea can include:  

Black Tea - perfect on its own or with milk and sugar, black tea is a staple at tea parties. 

Oolong Tea - this full-body and refreshing tea is a cross between black and green tea.

Herbal - mint, chamomile, rooibos, or yerba mate are tasty caffeine-free alternatives

Tisanes - made with rose hips and hibiscus leaves along with other flowers and herbs, you can find a number of flavors your guests will enjoy.   Put out milk, sugar, honey, lemon slices or wedges, and sugar substitutes for your guests to add to their tea.   


Now that you have decided to have a tea party, here is a checklist to help you prepare.  

Two Weeks Before

  • Invite your guests with either printed invitations or one of the online invitation sites
  • Order your gourmet teas from CoffeeAM
  • Order any foods you are having pre-made for the party (petit fours, cakes, etc)
  • Wash your good dishes, utensils, glassware, and linens (or contact a company to rent)
A Few Days Before
  • Clean the house (don’t forget the entryway and the bathroom)
  • Decorate and set the table (make sure to put a trash receptacle nearby with a water-proof lining for the used tea leaves)
  • Go grocery shopping
  Day Before
  • Make your iced tea
  • Pick up your pre-made foods
  • Make the salads for the finger sandwiches
  • Buy ice
  Day Of
  • Make finger sandwiches
  • Arrange foods on plates
  • Put out your teas
  • Put out the modifiers for your teas
  • Make a final run-through of the house
  • Turn on the music and/or movie
  • Greet your guests
  • Enjoy your party!

Shopping List

Here is a potential shopping list for your party. Of course, you should adjust this list to your tastes.  


  • Petit fours (holiday design)
  • Cake
  • Brownies
  • Cookies
  • Sandwich ingredients
    • White and wheat breads
    • Pimiento cheese
    • Chicken salad (or chicken, mayonnaise, celery, onion)
    • Egg salad (or eggs, mayonnaise, celery, onion)
    • Cucumber sandwich fixings (check out this recipe
  • Lemons
  • Milk
  • Sugar
  • Honey
  • Sugar substitutes
  • Hot cider mix
  • Sodas (include a decaf option like Sprite, Seven-Up, or Sierra Mist)
  • Ice
  • Paper products (if you prefer)
  • Incidentals
    • In case you don’t have them, tea balls or infusers are helpful. You can find them in the coffee/tea aisle or sometimes in the cooking utensils area of your local grocery store or you can get them from CoffeeAM here.

Have Fun

Most importantly, have fun at your Christmas tea party. Try not to stress out and if budget is stopping you, make it a potluck kind of event and ask guests to bring a tea party dish (we suggest you keep track of what people are bringing so you don’t have multiples of the same dish). You just provide the tea and hot water!   Happy Holidays!

(originally posted 12/10/2018; updated 12/19/2021)

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