Where to Sit Back and Sip Afternoon Tea, Holiday-Style


There are many ways to celebrate the holiday season – some of them more stressful than others. Forget that cup of coffee on the run and take a breather from shopping to sit down to holiday tea. Relaxing in a festively decorated hotel makes for a sweet date with friends, significant other, and even the kids.

Sipping with the Girls

Pair your choice of Mighty Leaf or Red Blossom tea with a glass of Gloria Ferrer sparkling wine during Holiday Tea at The Westin St. Francis. Nibble on a selection of English tea sandwiches, freshly baked scone and seasonal berries with Devonshire-blend cream, preserves and assorted petit fours. $51 per person, November 30 – December 22; available Saturdays and Sundays only, 2 pm to 4 pm Reservations are required, (415) 774-0264, Kids welcome.

Sipping with Your Significant Someone

The indulgent combination of tea, finger sandwiches, scones and macaroons at Afternoon Tea at the Ritz-Carlton San Francisco, may convince you to skip dinner. Live music provides soothing sounds to sip to. $65 per person, November 29-December 1; December 5-8, 12-24, at 3 pm. Reservations, (415) 773-6168, Kids welcome.

Tea Service, Photo Courtesy Rosewood Sand Hill

Sipping with Tradition

This year marks the 18th annual Teddy Bear Tea at The Gardens at Heather Farm. Enjoy teatime treats, story time, a souvenir photograph and favors for every child. $15 per child, $25 per adult, December 7th & 8th, 11:30am & 2pm, Reservations required, (925) 947-1678. Free parking.

Walnut Creek’s Shadelands Ranch Museum offers a three-course Victorian Tea along with its 31st Annual Holiday Faire. Go hungry. Service includes scones with lemon curd, beef wellington, mushroom tarts chocolate cake and cream puffs, just to name a few things. $30 per person; November 30 - December 15, seatings at 11:30 am and 1:30 pm. Reservations required, (925) 935-7871. Free parking and admission to the Holiday Faire.

Sipping ‘Out of the Box’

If one of your favorite parts of the holidays is unwrapping presents, tea at the Fairmont San Jose is a must-do. From tea sandwiches to cookies and pastries; all food is served in Christmas boxes for guests to open at their table. Save room for the dessert bar. Santa’s Chocolate Fountain will be bubbling with two types of chocolate, and they’ll be plenty of holiday treats for dipping. $44 per adult, includes sparkling wine, $33 for children; Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, November 29th - December 22, 3pm to 6pm. Daily December 23rd -December 29th (Closed Christmas Day). Reservations, (408) 998-3960.

Teddy Bear Tea, Photo Courtesy Ritz-Carlton San Francisco

Sipping with the Kids

The Ritz-Carlton also holds a Teddy Bear Tea for kids that includes a live family show starring Stretchy the Elf, the “tallest elf in the world,” his sidekick Holly Berry and the Ritz-Carlton Teddy Bear. They’ll be sing-a-longs, holiday stories and holiday sweets including hot chocolate with marshmallows, children’s tea sandwiches, cookies and pastries. Each child receives a photo with the Ritz-Carlton Teddy Bear and a small teddy bear gift. A portion of the proceeds benefit Make-A-Wish® Greater Bay Area. $110 per person, November 29-December 1; December 6-8, 14-15, 20-24, 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Reservations required, (415) 773-6168.

Every Saturday in December until Christmas, Rosewood Sand Hill is hosting a Children’s Holiday Tea with Santa. The jolly fellow will be reading holiday stories to kids in the hotel’s Library by the Christmas tree. Tea and hot cocoa, along with tea sandwiches, cookies and sweets will be served. Kids receive a teddy bear to take home, but will also be encouraged to write Christmas cards for children of The Ronald McDonald House during the event. The cards will be attached to teddy bears that Rosewood Sand Hill is donating to the organization. $55 per child,Saturdays, December 7th, 14th and 21st, 1:30pm to 3:30pm. Reservations required, (650) 561-1540.

Dana can be found on Twitter @drebmann