By now, you’ve probably done a considerable part of your holiday shopping. But you’ve likely overlooked one category of gifts: stocking stuffers. In many households, stocking stuffers have gained a reputation for being a subpar supplement to an otherwise awesome Christmas haul. That’s because stocking stuffers are usually an afterthought. Resolve to make this the year of amazing stocking stuffers with this handy list of what to choose and what to avoid!
Mugs are a great stocking stuffer. A good-sized stocking should be able to hold a mug like this one. We love the loop mug because it has a bit of contemporary flair without being too outlandish. Another great thing about stuffing with mugs? They add some heft. A stocking that’s packed to the hilt but light as a feather is just an empty promise.
Don’t stuff your stockings with socks. It doesn’t matter if they are lederhosen, nylon stockings or tube socks from the nearest sporting goods store, taking this route ultimately amounts to putting smaller socks into one giant sock. The end result is like one of those Russian Babushka dolls, where each consecutive reveal leads to a smaller version of what you already saw before–except in this case, it’s with socks!
A giftcard is a fantastic way to round out an already stuffed stocking. What’s so great about giftcards? Their small size belies some real spending power! Also, it’s a great choice for someone who is indecisive and loves to do his or her own shopping.
Nix razors this year. Finding a razor in your stocking always feels like someone is trying to send you a thinly veiled message about your personal grooming habits. It’s also possible that in the rush to unwrap things, an errant blade might do some harm!
Why does this gift basket belong in every stocking? It’s the perfect way to introduce friends and family to the world of loose leaf tea. If you’ve been trying to evangelize someone all year round and turn them on to your favorite Tea Smith brews, they’ll have no excuse with this unexpected gift.
We all care about oral hygiene, but most of us can shop for toothbrushes, floss and dental paste on our own. Nothing says “impromptu run to the drugstore” like finding a stocking full of things you can snag at the checkout aisle.
We’ve got great stocking stuffers for the seasoned tea lover, too. If someone in your household loves to geek out on tea, help them take their zeal for the perfect cuppa to the next level with this. Science meets artistry when you use an adjustable loose tea measure to get your brew just right every time.
Stuffing someone’s stocking with perfume or cologne is always a big gamble. Do you really know how your loved ones want to smell? Are you trying to tell them they should be masking their natural fragrance somehow? That new celebrity-endorsed scent you’re eyeing should probably stay on the shelf where it belongs!
Infuse Christmas morning with someone unexpected. We have many different styles of infusers for people who love to brew loose leaf at home or at the office. If you’re shopping for someone that likes a good helping of humor in their cup, this Teatanic Infuser will make them feel like the king (or queen) of the world!
Looking for more stocking stuffers? Check out the accessories section of our online store. It’s full of great ideas to make sure your stockings are packed to the brim with gifts everyone will love.
December 5th, 2013
All across the nation, families are just getting over the food-induced stupor brought on by last night’s feast. While you’re still reeling from overindulging, it’s probably dawning on you that you still have enough turkey left to last you all the way through Christmas. What to do with all that bird? Last year, we shared an idea for some turkey-shaped tea sandwiches. This year, we’re upping the ante and sharing a recipe (from Grace Parisi, originally printed in Food & Wine) for a turkey tea sandwich that uses actual ground up tea! We recommend trying it out with our Earl Grey Special.
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon Earl Grey tea, finely ground
Pinch of salt
1/2 Granny Smith apple, peeled and coarsely shredded$
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
16 thin slices pumpernickel bread
3/4 pound sliced smoked turkey
In a mini food processor or in a bowl, blend the butter, honey, ground tea and salt. In a medium bowl, toss the apple with the lemon juice. Squeeze out any excess liquid and pulse or mix the apple into the honey butter.
Spread a scant 1/2 tablespoon of the apple butter onto each slice of pumpernickel bread. Top half of the slices with the smoked turkey and close the sandwiches. Using a sharp serrated knife, trim off the bread crusts. Cut the sandwiches into 4 triangles, transfer to a plate and serve.
Make Ahead: The uncut sandwiches can be covered with a lightly moistened paper towel and plastic wrap and refrigerated overnight. Bring to room temperature before serving.
November 29th, 2013
No one is ever really ready for the holidays. There’s so much planning, cooking and cleaning to do that it’s nearly impossible to tick off everything on your to do list before big events like Thanksgiving arrive. And, as luck would have it, this year’s Thanksgiving celebrations happen to coincide with the first night of Hanukkah, so some revelers are getting ready to play double duty next week!
Feeling overwhelmed already? Don’t worry! Loose leaf tea is here to help infuse some calm into your day. Here are some recommendations for getting through the first big holiday party of the season with your favorite brews from the Tea Smith.
Slow Down with Chamomile
Feeling frazzled? A warm cup of chamomile way be just the thing to help you recover. Chamomile has been shown to reduce anxiety and stress levels, so it’s not a bad idea to brew a fresh pot before your relatives decide to start talking politics at the table!
Provide an Alternative
Not everyone wants wine or pop with their dinner, so it’s good to provide some options. Brewing a pitcher of iced tea is a great way to provide a healthy (but still flavorful) option for your guests. Add a little bit of extra sweetener and it’s sure to be a hit at the kids’ table too!
Sip so You Don’t Stuff
Do you have a tendency to keep eating well after you’ve had your fill? So do we! Indulging in your favorite food is part of what makes the holidays so great. But you don’t want to cut festivities short by overdoing it. Keeping your hands occupied with a warm cuppa is a great way to distract yourself from that tempting spread when you need to take a break.
Digest After Dinner
Tea is a great way to round out a meal, especially a big one. Your favorite brew can aid in digestion, so it’s not a bad idea to keep a fresh pot handy for you and your guests. You’ll earn a reputation as a gracious host and everyone’s stomach will be the better for it.
Finally, don’t forget to join us next week as we Escape from Black Friday! The Tea Smith will once again be serving soup and bread – free of charge – from 11:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. on Friday, November 29th, at both our locations. Stop by and make someone’s holiday by making a “free will offering” to Siena/Francis House. See you there!
November 21st, 2013
We know, we know–you were already planning on stopping in this weekend to visit your favorite tea shop, but just in case you were still on the fence, here are some great reasons to cap off your week with us!
It’s About to Get Crazy
Maybe it’s the crisp air of an oncoming Nebraska winter or the fact that the holiday season is about to start in full force, but it definitely feels like there’s something electric in the atmosphere. It’s a great time to slow down, catch up with friends over a cup of tea and save your energy before the oncoming onslaught of parties, visiting relatives and hectic shopping trips.
It’s Oh So Cold
Did we already mention that it’s getting really cold? It seems like the first snowfall happens earlier every year, making for some frigid days and nights. Don’t worry, we have the perfect treat to keep you warm. Our famous hot chocolate is back, made with real Ghirardelli hot chocolate. We can guarantee one thing: You haven’t had a real hot chocolate until you’ve tried ours!
Flowering Teas Are In Bloom
Do you like to do a little meditation as the winter months approach? While the year winds down, we can’t help but become a little introspective. Any tea can be the perfect companion when you’re resting and ruminating, but flowering teas are particularly good for clearing your mind. Watch them slowly unfurl as you get ready for a delicious, hot cuppa. If you’re ready to indulge in a tea that’s a feast for your eyes and your palate, we’ll be serving up an assorted selection at both of your stores.
Exciting New Items
Looking for some great gift ideas? We’ve got suggestions to fit every budget, from gift cards to gift baskets. If you think you know our inventory like the back of your hand, make sure to check out the new items section of our online store. We’ll be making exciting new additions through the holiday season, so keep checking back! Don’t forget that orders of $75 or more ship free!
Get Fancy with a Proper Tea
You asked for it, so this weekend we’ll be hosting another afternoon tea at our Old Market location, featuring some of the Tea Smith’s finest brews and great eats from chef Jillian Mal (from The Green Bowl Project). If you’ve never been to a proper tea before, don’t miss out on this chance to learn about tea etiquette and try out delicious sweets, tea sandwiches and classic scones. Make a reservation by calling (402) 932-3933. The fun starts at 2pm!
There you have it–five reasons to spend some time with us this weekend. Hope to see you soon!
November 14th, 2013
There are only two types of people in the world: loose leaf tea lovers and people waiting to become loose leaf tea lovers! It’s not difficult to see why. Loose leaf tea is great for you, has the best flavor, enjoys a special place in many different cultures, and offers enough variety to please everyone’s tastes. Looking to impress your friends this holiday season and surprise them with a truly unique gift? Here are three great gift ideas from our online shop!
Tea of the Month
Our Tea of the Month membership has always been the the gift that keeps on giving year round–and now we’ve expanded it to include some exciting new options with an Iced Tea of the Month Club and a Green Tea of the Month Club. It may be chilly right now, but a new iced tea every month is always a refreshing treat! These blends are specially selected because they’re great over ice. If you’re looking to immerse yourself in the world of green tea, our Green Tea of the Month Club serves up some exciting selections that will make an expert out of you. Each selection (from every club) is shipped free on the first week of the month!
Something for the Kids
We’ve got great gifts for future connoisseurs and teavangelists, Here’s a children’s tea set that’s sure to impress imaginary guests and stuffed animals alike. Any Hello Kitty fans in the house? We’ve got two different kitty-inspired tea kits–one that’s geek chic and another with Hello Kitty as you’re used to seeing her. Wanna pick one up for yourself? Who says they’re just for kids?!
Looking for something fancy? How about this Flowering Teas Gift Box? These flowering teas make a great gift for someone who prefers the finer things in life. Each of the 8 blossoms in this box set are like a little piece of art. There is something incredibly soothing about watching each one slowly unfurl. Looking for another extra special option? Check out this Red Serenity Tetsubin Set. Not a bad way to round out a teaware collection!
Looking for more great gift ideas? It’s never too early to start shopping at our online store. Don’t forget, purchases of $75 or more ship for free!
November 7th, 2013