I think it would be a great idea to have a Tea Party for one of the Twelve Days of Christmas! Girls and Boys alike enjoy tea parties…and older folks, too! And it would be a good opportunity to pull out the nice china and set a real spread! We love tea and tea parties over here! We don’t take time to have them too often but it is always a good time! (Scroll down for the recipe links!)

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You can plan a tea party of your own…..simple or a little more extravagant, with a little help from Emilie Barnes.

Christmas Is Coming: Our Family Holiday Organizer

A Merry Christmas Tea

Christmas is a special time for friends and family to gather together, and a Christmas tea offers a wonderful chance to celebrate your relationships and the season itself. Let your Christmas tea be your special gift to friends, family, and yourself.

Tea parties are more personal than a general party. There is something about a tea party that brings out the best in people – the best behavior, the best intentions, the best attitudes. We expect a little more of each other when we come to tea, and we tend to live up to those expectations. We give a little more. That in itself is cause to celebrate!

I begin planning my holiday tea party in October, because it takes time to get the details just right. Keep your eyes out for pretty Christmas-themed notecards with no message inside to use for invitation. Send them out by the end of November.

There are no limits on the decor for a tea party. Take advantage of the wonderful decorating materials that are available – sparkling red and green fabrics, lush and fragrant greens, and all kinds of candles. Fragrant pine garlands, red berries, shiny red apples, pretty ornaments, poinsettias and anything Christmassy are great for an arrangement or special centerpiece.

The table can be as decorative as you like. I usually pull out all the stops and use my best china and fancy white linens for this celebration. I love to decorate each guest’s plate with a little candle held in a special clip – the same kind used many years ago in Europe to secure little candles on the Christmas tree. There are no rules to decorating.  It’s whatever sets a tone and mood for your party. Play Christmas music to add to the merriment!

And load the table with a variety of sweet and savory foods. I usually have a special tea, some tea sandwiches, a fancy cake, fruits and a special cheese like mascarpone, and decorated Christmas cookies. Everything is presented on doily-lined trays…it’s almost too pretty to eat!

The most special part of this holiday tea is when we share our favorite memories and Christmas blessings together. I light the candle of the person nearest to me and ask her to share a Christmas thought or Christmas blessing. After she speaks. she lights the candle of the person next to her, who then shares her Christmas thoughts. Around the room we go with each person sharing a bit of her heart.

Spiced Russian Teaindex

6 teaspoons Russian blend or any good black tea

1 pinch cloves

1 1/2 pints freshly boiled water

Place tea and cloves in pot, add water, and brew for five minutes before pouring. Add sugar and lemon to taste.

Almond Chicken Tea Sandwichesimages

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and chopped coarsely

1/2 cup slivered, blanched almonds

1/2 cup mayonaise

White or wheat bread

Butter each slice of bread well. On half the slices, spoon about 3 tablespoons of almond chicken mixture. Top with remaining slices.

Wrap in wax paper and again in a slightly dampened kitchen towel. Let filling set for at least an hour before serving. Cut off crusts and trim into pretty shapes.

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The following are links for some Festive Food Ideas! Christmas season is not over…let us continue to celebrate!

Peanut Butter Cups:

“The secret to a good peanut butter cup isn’t the chocolate. What really makes them shine is finding the right peanut butter center. We couldn’t use just peanut butter because that would leave the wrong texture, and would probably effect the shape of the cups we’ve come to hold dear. The trick, we found, was to mix the peanut butter in with some confectioners’ sugar and graham cracker crumbs. It provided just the right amount of sweetness with some firmness to it as well to make the peanut butter cups a perfect no-bake treat.”

The recipe is here.

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Eggnog Trifle Dessert (Taste of Home)

This classic Christmas dessert is too delicious to have just once a year. So our family serves it for birthdays…and whatever other occasion we can think of! —Cynthia Butt, Winnipeg, Manitoba

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Cranberry Layer Cake Recipe (Taste of Home)

“I adapted a Bundt cake recipe to create this layer cake. Cranberries, walnuts and homemade frosting make it taste so delicious that you’d never guess it starts with a convenient cake mix.” —Sandy Burkett, Galena, Ohio

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No Bake Coconut Snowballs

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Quick and Easy Snowy Chocolate Pine Cone Recipe

“Many years ago, while taking my nieces on a little nature walk, I remember watching as my youngest niece picked up a pinecone and tried to eat it. I can only imagine how prickly the scales were on her tiny tongue! Here’s an idea for a pinecone snack that’s sure to make curious tastebuds happy.”

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Happy 5th Day of Christmas! “The childlike faith and hope of simple peasants found fulfillment in a Child. Christmas came rushing into their uneventful lives on the wings of an Infant’s smile, and the low-voiced gratitude of a mother welcoming these first Christmas guests who, in a beautiful single gesture, adored her Son and filled her day with the sweet fragrance of their Christmas greeting.” -Fr. Daniel A. Lord, Art by Donna Gelsinger, https://www.donagelsinger.com/

New Podcast!

Join siblings Gemma (15 years old) and Angelo (14 years old) as they discuss the efficacy of Journaling and of using their Traditional 30 Day Journals….

Just in time for those New Year’s Resolutions!… The Catholic Boy’s and Girl’s Traditional 30-Day Journals! Let’s keep our youth engaged in the Faith! Let’s teach them how to be organized, how to prioritize, how to keep on top of, first, the Spiritual things in their lives, and then the other daily duties that God requires of them… Available here.

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In With God in Russia, Ciszek reflects on his daily life as a prisoner, the labor he endured while working in the mines and on construction gangs, his unwavering faith in God, and his firm devotion to his vows and vocation. Enduring brutal conditions, Ciszek risked his life to offer spiritual guidance to fellow prisoners who could easily have exposed him for their own gains. He chronicles these experiences with grace, humility, and candor, from his secret work leading mass and hearing confessions within the prison grounds, to his participation in a major gulag uprising, to his own “resurrection”—his eventual release in a prisoner exchange in October 1963 which astonished all who had feared he was dead.

Powerful and inspirational, With God in Russia captures the heroic patience, endurance, and religious conviction of a man whose life embodied the Christian ideals that sustained him…..

Captured by a Russian army during World War II and convicted of being a “Vatican spy,” Jesuit Father Walter J. Ciszek spent 23 agonizing years in Soviet prisons and the labor camps of Siberia. Only through an utter reliance on God’s will did he manage to endure the extreme hardship. He tells of the courage he found in prayer–a courage that eased the loneliness, the pain, the frustration, the anguish, the fears, the despair. For, as Ciszek relates, the solace of spiritual contemplation gave him an inner serenity upon which he was able to draw amidst the “arrogance of evil” that surrounded him. Ciszek learns to accept the inhuman work in the infamous Siberian salt mines as a labor pleasing to God. And through that experience, he was able to turn the adverse forces of circumstance into a source of positive value and a means of drawing closer to the compassionate and never-forsaking Divine Spirit.

He Leadeth Me is a book to inspire all Christians to greater faith and trust in God–even in their darkest hour. As the author asks, “What can ultimately trouble the soul that accepts every moment of every day as a gift from the hands of God and strives always to do his will?”
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