Welcome to a grand celebration of teatime this Christmas season – with all our lovely tea hostesses and linking guests from around the world! Sharing our love of tea and some holiday cheer, I have chosen to spotlight a wonderful ladies’ outreach our church does every year: The First Responders Gift Baskets!
After a weekend of baking, we all individually wrap up our home-made offerings and bring them to church the first Monday of December. Various baskets and platters, along with cellophane, ribbons, and bows are on hand to create dozens of gift baskets to be delivered to our Mayor’s office, the Police Department, Fire Departments, EMT Units, and other men and women who have chosen a career of serving the community in dire circumstances.
Many of them may have to work the holidays this year, and we want them to know how grateful we are that they maintain the front lines on the home-front. A special card is tucked into each basket reminding them that they are greatly appreciated, prayed for, and loved by Jesus – the Reason for the Season.
Now, what does this have to do with TEATIME? Glad you asked!
You see – each year at this event, after all the baskets are packed, we ladies enjoy a White Elephant Gift Exchange. We bring something – anything – wrapped up, and oftentimes of questionable value. Most ladies clear out something from a closet – something they’d put on a yard sale. Participants pick a number and choose a gift – but if they would rather take someone else’s gift, than they have that option, too. Laughs ensue all around and a good time is readily had by all.
Well, last year I chose a gift from the pile – and wasn’t I shocked and amazed when I opened it!!
No, your eyes do not deceive you – that is a Lenox “Holiday” teapot – never used! I thought I was seeing things when I opened the box. Who would put a Lenox anything in a White Elephant exchange? Well, my friend, Dottie, would!
Apparently, someone gave it to her some time back and she has no use for it. All the better for the likes of me! I was fearful that someone else might want to take it from me, but everyone knew that the teapot had found the very best of homes, so they left me alone!
To be sure, I have looked forward all year to displaying it – along with a matching teacup and saucer by Lenox in the same pattern that I came by for only five dollars at a thrift store!
I’ve displayed my teacup here (look for the teapot again later this month) with a little teatime treat to partake of while I plan my own little gifts for this year’s First Respondser’s Baskets and White Elephant Gift Exchange – held last evening – just in time for today’s Tuesday Teatime!
I chose a favorite leaf tea from the Vintage Rose Teas I get locally here. Almond Cookies – the perfect green tea blend for holiday teatimes!
A teaspoon in a diffuser and some boiling water – delish! The very best inspiration for beginning my preparations for the gift basket and exchange!
First up – the cookies!
Quickly and easily done! I used a couple of cake mix alteration recipes I found on Pinterest – don’t you just LOVE Pinterest – and they took no time at all!
Then, I considered the gift. I have plenty of stuff around here that would be a worthy White Elephant gift. Especially the many superfluous odds and ends collected in my jewelry box.
There’s those earrings that I thought were interesting – see there – in the center of the shot? Found them second hand and thought them of great artistic interest, but just couldn’t wear them. Too big! And, how about a scarf to go with them – I’ve plenty to choose from.
Yep – here’s an orange and purple combination print that I just could never pull myself to wear. Orange does nothing for me.
Packaging is everything! I sipped my tea in my “Holiday” Lenox with a side treat of sliced apples, rice crackers and herbed goat cheese spread, with Sebastian – a creative little sprite nearby to infuse the tea with some inspired ideas . . .
He tried to help – decking the table with ribbons and Saran wrap for the cookies . . .
Why, even Copperfiled got into the act with his own suggestions . . .
However, I opted for the snack size zip lock baggies in the end.
Cookies wrapped and ready, what I needed was an idea on wrapping up the earrings and scarf for the gift exchange. Not that Sebastian and Copperfield didn’t help – but, I was so refreshed by my tea, that creative thoughts flooded my imagination! I came up with a fake company name and artistic designer character with which to wrap up the earrings and scarf. Enter the fictitious “Thru The Door 1st Creations”!!
The equally fictitious and whimsical Serendipity Dooda, Fashionista Artisan of Thriftstore Trendsetters, Inc. is a good friend of mine – designing for “Thru the Door 1st Creations: Where what you wear says it all before you open your mouth!”. She always advises me when we go to the thrift store, you know – what to wear – finding the most unusual of items for an eclectic appearance . . .
A fun White Elephant contribution all wrapped up pretty and ready to go!
As soon as daughter, Bethany, gets the rest of her cookies packaged up!
Upon arrival, tables were overflowing with baked goodies with which to fill baskets and platters. The ladies got right to work! I was put on the cellophane wrapping detail. No time for photos until after everything was all wrapped up and stacked in the sanctuary . . .
And throughout the foyer . . .
All ready for delivery to bless so many hard working public service men and women in our community. An expression of the season – GIVING! Embodied creatively here in a tag created by dear Shawn over at Poetry in a Pot of Tea.
Please do visit her and see what other lovelies she creates glorifying the Lord as is His due!
The tradition of giving at Christmas is a reflection of the Gift of God to mankind. Sin separated us from fellowship with our Creator God, and only He could reverse such darkness – transformed by His marvelous Light.
|Vintage Christmas candle from my childhood.|
God, in the flesh, come to live – to die – to rise again – and put an end to dark hearts with new life in Him. Such a gift has never been equaled. Not even by the mountain of baked goods we ladies gathered together to give as tokens of the Spirit of Christ in Christmas to people in our community who make a living out of giving – putting their lives on the line for others – as Jesus has done for us.
|Tiny Nativity from mid-’60’s – a childhood treasure.|
“ Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
|’60’s Angel revolving music box playing “Silent Night”|
So, at Christmas we take joy in the giving of gifts – remembering the GIVER OF THE GREATEST GIFT.
So, what happened at our White Elephant Gift Exchange? Well, JoJo, Maddy, and Rissa stood guard over the forty gifts gathered for the event once all the baskets were done.
I was number twenty so there were a fair amount of gifts already open to choose from – and not take a chance on opening a real dud of a gift! I had to steal a rustic pendant from my gardening friend, Jeanette, who was glad for another try at the gift pile.
My Serendipity Dooda’s earrings and scarf set was chosen by a lady – but stolen by another who really loved the earrings, and left joyful with her find!
Sharing this Ministry and Christmas Tea with: