Cup of Christmas Tea

Mmmmm!

Cozy this week at The Writer’s Reverie.

We’ve had snow the past couple of days and the gray skies pouring forth their snowflake petals to carpet a deadened landscape with white fluff was a welcome seasonal sight. 

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Especially since I did not have to be traveling in it.  It was a writing day for me – and floral frill making day to build up my inventory for the last two Christmas shopping weekend shows I’ll be doing.  I call this one Christmas Rose.

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I like it so much – I think I’ll keep if for myself!  But, I’ve tried to do that before and it doesn’t always work out that I can keep them – especially when an eager customer insists upon buying one of my favorite frills right off my sweater!  No matter.  The blessing of seeing her face so merry and bright as she pins her new frill onto her own jacket really makes my day.

It’s about GIVING things away.

Like the theme of this darling Christmas book that was all the rage in gift shops a few years ago.  A Cup of Christmas Tea was written by Tom Hegg and illustrated by Warren Hanson.

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It was marketed with a complete line of tea things – cups, saucers, teapot, creamer & sugar, salt & pepper shakers, a platter, candlesticks and even napkins & holders.  My friend has the whole set and puts it out each year.

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The book tells the story of a young man who is guilted into paying his elderly great-aunt a Christmas visit to share a cup of tea and bring her the gift of company and good cheer. The gift of himself.

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He complains, but does his duty.  Only, it is he who finds a gift – intangible and precious – when he CHOOSES TO GIVE of his precious time.  As he steps across the threshold of his great-aunt’s humble old home:

Before my eyes and ears and nose was Christmas past . . . alive . . . intact:

     The scent of candied oranges of cinnamon and pine

     The antique wooden soldiers in their military line;

     The porcelain Nativity I’d always loved so much . . .

     The Dresden and the crystal I’d been told I mustn’t touch . . .

     My spirit fairly bolted like a child out of class

     And danced among the ornaments of calico and glass.

     Like magic, I was six again deep in a Christmas spell,

     Steeped in the million memories the boy inside knew well . . .

     I sat alone with feelings that I hadn’t felt in years.

     I looked around at Christmas through a thick hot blur of tears . . .

     She poured tow cups, she smiled, and then she handed one to me.

     And then we settled back and had a cup of Christmas tea.

 

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That’s how I feel each year when I take my nostalgic Christmas decor, and what I’ve saved from the Spirit of Christmas Past, out of the storage bins and arrange them just so.  It brings family – as once was – just a little closer for a few moments. It is a joyful place to linger . . . to visit.  The memories are sweet and savored – a treasured gift to this grown-up girl – from the little girl that was.

I’m featuring some more of my vintage treasures that I, once upon a time, found under our family Christmas tree.  So long ago and far away, now.  It seems.

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Uncle Matt gave me this circa 1965 Santa – still intact – albeit with the marks of  little loves and hugs to give him vintage character.

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My Aunt MaryAnn was an Avon Lady.  Every year my sisters and I were the recipients of collectible Avon products like this “Love Dove Cream Sachet” from the “Small World Collection” – circa early 1970’s.

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As soon as I smell the fragrance cream inside, I am transported to that simpler time.  The sense of smell is a powerful memory trigger.  The molecules of scent go directly into the brain and ignite memories stored there.  Sort of like when I walk into the old Italian deli in town and am suddenly in grandma’s kitchen while she’s preparing a family dinner.  The smell of all those amazing herbs and cheeses in the deli take me there – where those same Italian herbs and cheeses were a staple of grandma’s cooking.  Like they were absorbed into the kitchen wallpaper, the scent lingered still – even after grandma was gone and we were clearing out the house for sale.  Saying goodbye to the old homestead a couple years ago was saying farewell to a storehouse of tangible memories . . . falling through our fingers like melting snow.

I am so thankful for the few things I keep from my early years.  They are connected to people and times that deeply impacted my life.

Say – do you remember this?

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I confess – it is not my original as in the photo here.  See it – there – at my feet?

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No, I found it at a yard sale for $3 and consider it money well spent.  The leap in my heart when I laid eyes on it on a table overflowing with all manner of cast away artifacts – again – I was no longer there in the present, but transported to my wonder years.

 

The Gift of Memory

Not everyone has memories they cherish and treasure.  In a sin stained world, tragic and fearful memories sting – especially at Christmas.  I think on this as the snow falls – and the HOPE that Christmas brings to the past – present – and future echos in my thankful heart:

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Glancing out the window I can’t see that unsightly pile of leaves decaying by the roadside in front of our house, waiting for the city trucks to come and take them away.  Their unkempt nature is covered over with a blanket of white, and the landscape is at one with PEACE.  This is the memory I will etch in my mind.  This is the treasure I will keep. The CHRIST in Christmas covers the earth with a mantle of cleansing white – making sweet memories sweeter, and taking the bitter from the sting of tainted pains from the past.

As I sip my cup of Christmas tea and think on these things. 

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And – I plan a trip to visit with my own elder relatives whose Christmas gifts from long ago brought delight to my childhood – giving me more today then they did at the first.

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Sharing A Cup of Christmas Tea this week with:

Sandi at Rose Chintz Cottage Tea Time Tuesday

Kathy at Delightsome Life’s Return to Loveliness

Terri at Artful Affirmations Tea Cup Tuesday

Martha at Martha’s Favorites

Bernideens Teatime Blog

Ruth at Antiques and Teacups

Judith at Wholehearted Wednesday

Jacqueline at Encourage One Another

Jenifer at Word Filled Wednesdays

Laura on Faith Filled Friday at Missional Women

Charlotte at Spiritual Sundays

 Beverly’s Pink Saturday at How Sweet the Sound

 

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Comments

  1. Oh this is such a wonderful post. I especially loved your scripture and reminder of truth at the end of your post. I used to sell the Cup of Christmas Tea things until they were discontinued. I never kept any. People think if you have a shop that you keep everything – now wouldn’t that be silly!!! Merry Christmas!

  2. Oh Kathy, I loved this so much. Your words are always so beautiful – and I so enjoy the photos that you share. Everything is just lovely and quaint. I thought the picture of you was adorable – and I’m like you, I just love when I re-find something from my childhood in an antique store or garage sale or flea market. I just want to know when I became an *antique* myself???

    We have had snow up here, too – and I always think of that Scripture when I see it. White as snow – only Jesus could do that for any of us. And I’m so glad He did it for me.

    GOD BLESS!

  3. Lovely. Our memories can be precious or not…but , but isn’t it nice that we are seen through the Grace of God. I have the book but not any of the teaware. Your post is lovely as usual. Merry Christmas dear friend!
    Ruth

  4. Bridget MacMillan says:

    What a beautiful and fresh way to look at the snow! Thank You Kathy!

  5. Hello Kathryn,
    I love your nostalgic post! The memories of childhood Christmas mornings is very strong around this time of year. I love how you actively search out ways to connect back. I had the same FP “radio” in my childhood. I am the same as you, and have picked up a few things here and there that I had as a child, but lost during the years. But i have never thought of displaying them as you do. Which is a wonderful idea!
    I have always loved this Christmas tea cup you are sharing today. It is so festive!
    Hugs,
    Terri

  6. Oh Miss Kathy, do you know how excited I was when I saw you had left me a message on my blog? I have missed you so. Your post is lovely and full of meaning. Of course, I love the vintage tree and your toys. How fun. I have a few pieces of the china you features and the book. I have always liked it.
    Merry Christmas to you dear friend. I hope to get back to blogging more next year.
    Love,
    Linda

  7. Kathy, your post is so thought provoking and lovely at the same time. Christmas is such a joyous time but can also be bittersweet for some of us. Your Christmas teacup is beautiful and I love the story which accompanies it. I always enjoy your scripture sharing and glad tidings to us all. Thank you, my friend, for sharing once again from your heart.

    Christmas blessings,
    Sandi

  8. I so enjoyed reading your lovely post, the memories that old toys and new smells trigger is amazing. Funny how if it is a food smell the memory can make the recall a lot faster than if it were say a smell of an attic trunk. I wish i had some treasures from my early years, but nothing saying I can’ t collect a few as you did, great find and for such a good price. Enjoy your Christmas Tea

  9. Happy Pink Saturday, my dear friend. Kathy, I love, love, love this post. It is enchanting and brings smiles to my face. Everything looks wonderful. Love your vintage Santa, And, look at adorable little you.♥

    I am having a Holiday Home Tour on my blog. Days one through four are posted with more tour days to follow. Please come by to say hello and visit.

  10. Do you have any idea what an awesome blogger you are? In case you don’t, let me tell you – you’re AWESOME! 😀 Seriously, I so enjoy your posts, and your blog always makes me happy! I have sat here this afternoon with my three grown-ish children, reading this post to them. So beautiful! Have a Merry Christmas, Miss Kathy!

  11. What a sweet sweet post!

    I too posted my CoCT china set today – great minds think alike – sure wish we could sit and have tea together.

    Have a truly blessed Christmas.

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