spiced tea and Brit lit

Winter holidays and hot drinks go together like …mistletoe and kissing.  Add some firelight, slippers, and a good book, and you are talking about deluxe comfort!

For some reason, in our house, spiced tea and Christmas in particular are paired up.  Though Starbucks sells Chai Lattes all year round, here in the Swanson household, we mull our own, homemade chai on the stovetop in the month of December.  Mmmmmmm.  It smells exotic, and tastes like relaxation.  Here’s how to make your own:

Christmas Spiced Tea

5 cups water
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
6 whole cloves
3 bags of black tea (PG Tips, Tetley, Lipton…just be sure it’s unflavored)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup milk (at least 2% is probably best)

Bring 5 cups of water and the spices to boil in a large saucepan.  When boiling merrily, pop in the tea bags and sugar.  Boil for 3 minutes.  Remove tea bags, and stir in 1 cup of milk.  Heat through and enjoy!   Adjust the amount of sugar next time if this is too sweet for you…or perhaps not sweet enough!

A cup of this is great for sipping on with a slightly more sophisticated book, such as…

A Child’s Christmas in Wales, by Dylan Thomas

This short story by the beloved Welsh poet is mesmerizing as it parades past us the sights and sounds and  jumble of quirky aunts and uncles of a small Welsh village in the early 1900s.  I  read this repeatedly to my  children, even when they were too young to follow the whole story.  They were captivated anyway by certain episodes, and by the poetic beauty and toothsomeness of Dylan’s language. 

A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens

Don’t neglect the most classic Christmas short story of all.  Kids who read well can tackle this one by about 5th grade and up. 

No Holly for Miss Quinn, by ‘Miss Read’

Not for children, this one is for you moms who are looking for something short to enjoy with that cup of tea.  Just over 100 pages.  ‘Miss Read’ is the pen name of a prolific British writer whose books unfold the delightfully unsophisticated, unrushed,  goings-on of several fictitious English country villages.  The polar opposite of Tom Clancy, these are pleasant character-driven stories.  Dora Saint is an excellent writer.  I’ve enjoyed many of the Miss Read books, especially during the stressful early-childhood years when serenity seemed like such a beacon.  This one is a Christmas-season story.

Here are the Amazon links:A Child’s Christmas in Wales (Godine Storyteller)
A Christmas Carol
No Holly for Miss Quinn (The Fairacre Series #12)