We all have one (or more) on our gift list: that tea lover. And every year many of us go out and buy him or her a gift that is not suitable to his or her tastes in tea. Well, never fear – you have an alternative: a non-tea gift. Yes, a gift that does not include tea! Just be sure it’s related to tea in some way or other. Here are seven that I personally think would fit that description:
Okay, I confess, I’m attracted to all things chocolate. So a milk chocolate calendar counting down the days until the big day when all those mystery packages can be unwrapped is perfect! This Cadbury Advent Calendar is 100% delicious dairy milk chocolate pieces that with every bite, mark one day closer to Christmas day. (Chomp! Gobble!) It’s imported from the UK and so is the very best. Try one and you’ll end up making it a Christmas tradition.
2 – Christmas Crackers
“Pop!” goes the – no, not the weasel – it’s the Christmas cracker. Christmas crackers are a British tradition where two people pull the ends of the cracker and “pop!” out comes a bright paper hat, a small gift, a balloon and a motto or joke. The gifts include puzzles, masks, tools, tiny treasures, jewels, tricks, and novelty items. The more expensive crackers hold higher quality gifts. They’re fun for kids and adults alike! Who doesn’t love a good surprise? Crackers are used by almost every British family at Christmas time. Get some extras, though, for parties, birthdays, weddings, and any special occasion throughout the year! (Tom Smith is the leading British brand of Christmas Crackers.)
3 – Christmas Candy
More chocolate! (I told you I was a chocoholic!) But your options also include other candies here. These are the most popular candy and chocolate brought in from the UK for the holiday season. Brands include Nestle, Mars, Cadbury, Bassets’, Walkers’ Toffees, and Turkish Delight. Some are available all year round.
4 – Mince Pies
This time of year is one I approach with delight and anticipation, not because of gifts to be received or even seeing the joy on the face of a giftee when he/she opens that perfect item I spent months – okay, days – okay, minutes selecting. Nope. My feelings stem from one thing: mince pies. My faves are the Walkers Luxury Fruit Mince Tarts in the 6-pack (which is actually, as far as I’m concerned, a single serving!). Buy a bunch for a traditional British holiday, and get some extra to store in the refrigerator and enjoy all year long. Also, try Mr. Kipling’s Mince Pies or even make some of your own using Robertson’s Mincemeat or Thursday Cottage Mincemeat.
5 – Christmas Cookies & Biscuits
Imported from the UK, these cookies are traditional and/or just plain delicious! I’m a McVitie’s fan through and through. And Walker’s is also top of my list at tea time. These come in fun holiday boxes that make them great as gifts for friends, family, or even yourself.
6 – Christmas Puddings
You’ve probably heard the song with the line “O, bring us a figgy pudding, and we’ll eat it right here.” Well, that pudding is the English traditional style, which is more like a cake than what we here in the U.S. think of as a pudding. They date back for a century or more. Try one of the most popular Christmas pudding brands from the UK, including Matthew Walker, and Cole’s. They’re as delicious as homemade without the hours of work and weeks of preparation (and for folks like me who tend to be better at other things, they are very much appreciated). Serve with whipped or clotted cream on top of the pudding.
7 – Christmas Cakes
Tea and cakes is a combo that goes back to the late 1800s and Anna, the Duchess of Bedford. So these Christmas cakes, an English tradition for over a hundred years, are a safe bet for that tea lover on your gift list. Oh, and they are great for your own enjoyment, too, especially as a dessert or just for your own private tea moment to help you keep your mental equilibrium during the holiday rush.
Whichever you choose, that tea lover will thank you for the great tea time treat!
© 2014 A.C. Cargill photos and text