Updated December 2023
Here’s a perfect holiday tradition to adopt for Christmastime (I might be biased being a Brit, but I hope you won’t mind because it’s very delicious). It’s the Classic British tradition of the Cream Tea.
You can wear your pajamas or your tutu. Really anything. Although dressing up in your best fancy outfit is fun—and a hat is always an excellent choice (you might also want to bring your pets if they’re like Mr. Pockles and love hats).
How to Hold the Cup
I like to practice with my American friends holding a tea cup with your pinkie raised.
What is a Cream Tea?
Cream Tea is all about the clotted cream (never whipped. Only clotted). And you must slather it on the scones before your jam, never after. Unless you prefer after, and then that’s the best way. I like no rules. (It’s like milk in tea—before or after? There’s a debate. So I say—up to you.)
Here are more etiquette tips from the experts.
- The perfect cup of tea, preferably loose leaf
- Tea cups
- Tea pot
- Little tea plates
- Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter to schmear on your scone first
- Clotted Cream
- Jam. Strawberry is traditionally served, but I love raspberry or lemon curd even. Really any jam!
- Scones (here’s a mix, or if you’re fancy you can make your own with the best scone recipe from the great Mary Berry)
- Biscuits. NOTE: This is a very important fact. Biscuits in the UK are not scones; they are cookies. My favorites are Chocolate Digestives. But I also adore these Snickerdoodles — special with chocolate chips!
- Delicious sandwiches. Cucumber is traditional. You can cut them into fun Christmas shapes. If you’re being extra fancy, you cut off the crusts.
- Fancy Christmas clothes (or just pajamas or your tutu)
- Christmas music (check out my Advent Spotify Playlist)
Then tuck in!
Traditionally, the person closest to the teapot pours the tea for all. And the one who pours the tea you have to call “Bishop.” I have no idea why.
Are you missing someone special? You could send them some tea and invite them to join you virtually.
As you tuck in
Take turns sharing your favorite memories from the past year.
The best thing about a Cream Tea? It’s a space you create to slow down and savour delicious food and most of all time together.
If you have a Cream Tea Party, I’d love to see! Tag me in your photos.