Monday, December 8, 2008

A Cup of Christmas Tea

But if you find you have some time,
how wonderful if we
Could have a little chat and share
a cup of Christmas tea.
Tom Hegg, 1981

In 1981, Tom Hegg's pastor asked him to write something to honor their church's 125th anniversary. Compiling a plethora of Christmas memories and depositing them gently into A Cup of Christmas Tea, Tom's poem embodied the desire of all to stop the world and share a visit, if only for a moment.

When I visit my past, I realize it is rich with tradition and the beauty of true family history. It is my deepest hope that my children will have memories of their own and will learn the importance of tradition.

We began a new tradition this year.

Back in October, my dear friend Sharon, and I ran into each other at the dentist's office. We see each other all the time, but it was that morning that she shared with me her own legacy of taking her mother and her daughter to tea in the city. Knowing my affinity for tradition, she offered we might like to join them this year. And join them we did.

Each little girl received a tea set in a heart shaped box - adorable!

A gift for Emily and my mother, it was I who received the greatest gift of all. Just watching their faces, feeling their happiness and bearing witness to complete joy, I want for nothing more. The hotel was lovely, but paled in comparison to the company we shared and the laughs we enjoyed. The food was excellent, but certainly not as good as the time spent learning more about one another and watching relationships being nurtured.

Our little girls sat rapt with attention as dancers slid effortlessly past them dancing scenes from the Nutcracker. Our eyes were big at the beauty of the decorations and the sheer glimmer of the large silver teapots that circled the room. Our time together was blessed beyond measure from beginning to end. We encountered little traffic despite a city filled with holiday frivolity and even the snow knew to begin falling just as we exited the hotel.

Aunt Anne with the girls

I am grateful that my friend knew me well enough to know this would be my cup of tea:) And I feel so thankful that God paved the way for our new tradition. I look forward to the day when Hannah will join us and any newcomers that might want to capture the nostalgia of a time that we have forgotten or dismissed. Our biggest surprise of the day came at the very end. Aunt Anne (Sharon's sister) visited the restroom and she came back announcing that Cindy McCain was in the restroom. Aunt Anne composed a note to be delivered to Mrs. McCain and all three little girls went with her. She was dining privately with her son and after reading the note, got up and came to each little girl and shook their hands. Her son also came out and greeted several of us. These little girls will never forget this beautiful encounter and the kindness expressed to them by a woman they each knew readily upon seeing her. Though we have no pictures, we have an indelible imprint of her gentle handshake.

Perhaps this season, you will find the time to share a cup of tea with someone you will be precious time, I assure you.

Emily, Gabrielle, Leigha

The whole group

The girls with Alice in Wonderland

Lucille & Leigha

Sharon, Gabrielle, Gabrielle's NanNan, Aunt Anne

Each Mommy stole a shot with the lovely little girls!

One of my favorites of the day, celebrating Leigha's birthday!

We went inside and then before
I knew how to react
Before my eyes and ears and nose
was Christmas past, alive, intact
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
That the girl inside knew well.


DiJo said...

What a special day!! You both look so beautiful!!!
I look forward to the day when we can have tea!


ADELE said...

This post truly touched my heart. Oh Heather, how I wish we lived closer. You are my kindred spirit. We have so much in common and think so much alike. I love traditions too and reading this post made me feel as if I were there too. You have a gift of writing that makes one feel as though they were there. Emily looks so beautiful. I love her coat and hat. She is so beautiful to me. Thanks for sharing this lovely post.

Missy said...

I'm with Adele! This post is so touching. I love how you LOVE life and you live if fully. Traditions are what make our lives last for years to come. You made some precious Christmas traditions.

You are all such beautiful girls!

sara said...

Wow. What a beautiful day, for beautiful girls!!!

Joy in The Truth (Sharon Sloan) said...

Oh, Heather...I have tears reading this! You capture it all so beautifully in words and pictures! What a special day together indeed!

I love this tradition with my mom and Brie, and we love that it is now a tradition for you, too! Looking so forward to it year after year!

We love you, friends! So much!

3 Peanuts said...


What a wonderful tradition! I love your writing and you al look so pretty!!!

I too will do that with my girl! I wish we could just join y'all next ear! My parents always took us to Wanamaker's downtown to breakfast with Santa. I remember it so fondly! One year, when my MOm came to visit, we took Will to children's teddy bear Christmas tea at a beautiful hotel. He was one of two boys there but he was a great sport and loved it nonetheless.


Half Gaelic, Half Garlic! said...

What a magical day!! Everyone and everything looked beautiful! The smiling faces say it all!

As always, beautiful post Heather!


Lori said...

What an incredibly special day! Everyone looks so lovely in their pretty dresses and oh the smiles!!! An absolutely beautiful tradition.

Sheri said...

Oh Heather, you have reminded me of great memories I had tucked away in my heart! I have that booked and had forgotten about it. When I lived in San Francisco, each Christmas I would go to tea with a group of my girlfriends. What special times those were. How wonderful that you've been able to start this tradition with Emily. It sounded like the most glorious time!

MacMui Mom said...

What a wonderful tradition! I may have to do something similar with Mia as I know she would love this. You all loook so beautiful and happy. May the spirit of Christmas shine in your lives the whole year through!

Doug and Terrye said...

You have inspired me to have a tea party with my little Grace today. It is a windy, rainy day...what a lovely day for a tea party!

Terrye in FL

Jboo said...

What a special and wonderful day! You all look so beautiful and what wonderful memories you are making! Take care.


Michelle said...

What a beautiful post - both in pictures, sentiment and your wonderful writing. And what a very special surprise to meet Cindy McCain!

I hope you have a wonderful weekend!


Jodee Leader said...

I, too, love traditions! What a fabulous new tradition you started. Cute pictures!

The Byrd's Nest said...

Oh my goodnes...what a glorious day for all of you! The girls and all of you Mom's look absolutely radiant! I love it!

prechrswife said...

That sounds like a great day!

Ashley Winters said...

What a lovely day spent with family and friends!

Jill said...


I had the sheer delight in reading about your time on Sharon's blog and yet - coming here to visit today and hear it all over again was pure joy!

I'm touched by the way you desire to give your children such special memories. How your heart is for them to grow strong in the Lord and have a bond between each other as well. It is really touching to hear, see and be witness to.

You all looked so beautiful in your Christmas best! Thanks for taking the time to share some tea with us!

Miss you all!
Hugs and love to all of you,

Oatsvall Team said...

I have so missed visiting you ... life has just gotten away from me lately ... what a beautiful tradition and so full of priceless memories ... this is something that will leave a legacy w/ your girls and their girls ... what a blessing!

sheryl said...

Oh what a wonderful tradition! I wanted so badly to do tea this year with another bloggy friend, but between illnesses and other things, it just didn't happen. Next year...

I hope you are having a wonderful Christmas season sweet friend!


Kristy said...

I think that this was just such a beautiful post and it has inspired me to do something just like this. I am off to find somewhere in San Antonio that my daughters, and my neices and I along with my sister can do the same. Thank you for the inspiration. I love these pictures , they are so lovely. I am not the kind of person to say "lovely", but there was no other word that fit.

Love and blessings, Kristy

Meredith Teagarden said...

I LOVE the poem at bottom and all the beautiful pctures. Merry Christmas, Heather!!!

Michelle said...

In case you don't post again before Christmas, I just wanted to stop by and wish you and your family a very, Merry Christmas!!


Denise C said...

Absolutely precious!!!! Thank you for sharing such a special time! I have to agree with Adele and Missy...I'm moving into your house with Adele and Miss right after Christmas!!! hee-hee!!!
I just wanted to stop by and wish you and your beautiful family a very merry Christmas!!!
Hugs and love sweet friend!!


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