Sunday, December 7, 2008

A Christmas Tea Tradition

"Men ate the bread of angels;
He sent them all the food they could eat."
Psalm 78:25
When Gabrielle was three years old, I started a special tradition. For my Mom's Christmas present from my little family, with Jim's enthusiastic blessing, Gabrielle and I began taking my mom (Nan Nan to Joshua & Gabrielle) each Christmas season for a very special afternoon of "Tea With Alice in Wonderland" at the Four Seasons Hotel in Philadelphia. This is a special splurge for us, and the best Christmas present for my Mom. Taking the time in the busy month of December and saving the resources ahead of time for this annual tradition is worth it. It's a magical afternoon where you feel like your stepping back in time to the days of a warmly nostalgic Christmas celebration.

Each year, we have invited friends to join us, and it's always been fun. When we are there, it feels like we are getting away with a wonderful secret only a few people know about. It truly is an afternoon of delight.

Serendipitously, we have dined there among some celebrities. Our first year, Kelly Ripa, her daughter and other family members were there. She was down-t0-earth and friendly, and she graciously invited Gabrielle to take a picture with her.

Here is Gabrielle with Kelly in 2005. Below is my mom meeting Kelly, too. (I had met her previously as I usually go up to NYC a few times a year to be in the audience of the "Live! With Regis & Kelly" show, always bringing a few family members or friends along for the fun! It's just a train ride away for us!)

Here are my mom and Gabrielle in 2006 and 2007:

Here are a few pictures from this year. It truly was an extra-blessed day! The little no traffic on the way there...and a great table. And the big wonderful, comfortable company (family and friends) to be together with the opportunity the three little ladies had to meet Cindy McCain. Yes, Cindy McCain (wife of 2008 Republican Presidential Candidate, John McCain) who happened to be dining in the hotel with her younger son. (I'll blog more about this later this week...and no I don't have pictures because I was unaware of the encounter that my sister, Anne, graciously initiated. Lucille and I were outside retrieving our cars from the valet while my mom, sister and the young ladies were chatting with Cindy. And Heather and her mom, Ruth, had the opportunity to meet the McCains' youngest son. So exciting for them! We thank the Lord for these special enounters that had His handprints all over them!)

Gabrielle with her friends Leigha and Emily
My friend Lucille and her daughter, Leigha,
joined us for the second year in a row!
And my friend Heather and her daughter,
Emily, and Heather's mom, Ruth, joined us for the first time.
(They loved it and are making it a tradition, too!)
Gabrielle, Me, Mom (Nan Nan), Emily's Grandmother, Emily, Heather, Lucille and Leigha

My sister, Anne, (Aunt Anne to Joshua & Gabrielle) joined us this year.
She is enthusiastic and wonderfully fun, and all of the kids just flock to her!
(Thankfully, Josh & Brie are willing to share her!)
Emily, Brie, Aunt Anne, Leigha
Me, Gabrielle, Nan Nan, Aunt Anne

Chocolate-covered strawberry and other sweet treats!

Gabrielle and Nan Nan enjoying this Christmas tea tradition.
A favorite part for the little ladies.
Dancers come and perform pieces from
The Nutcracker Suite

And the icing on the scone...Alice in Wonderland
comes and meets all the girls!

We are still enjoying the warm afterglow of yesterday's planned splurge and special afternoon of Tea with Alice in Wonderland at The Four Seasons. This nostalgic Christmas tradition lingers in our hearts so much so that we already start planning and saving for next year.

If you live in the area, we recommend this special treat! And my dear friends who are reading this and think you'd enjoy this, you are invited and welcome any time! (I make the reservations in October on the designated day, so just mention it to me!)

Would you care for some tea? What nostalgic traditions do you enjoy? We'd love to hear!


Joyful said...

What a very special time and a lovely Christmas tradition. I so enjoyed seeing all your pictures - thank you for sharing so many with us. It looks like a delightful event!


Jill said...

Sounds and looks like a wonderful tradition!

I'm so glad you got to spend some quality time with Heather and Emily too. I'm sure Ms. Emily loved it!

Miss you all - hugs and love!

Chatty Kelly said...

I didn't even realize until the end that as I was reading the nutcracker was playing! Then it all kind of zooming in together and my brain engaged. I LOVE your blog!

Glad you had such a wonderful time. I'm jealous about the Kelly Ripa thing. :-)

Edie said...

What a wonderful tradition! It looks like so much fun! Thanks for sharing that.

Mommahen said...

Oh Sharon, what wonderful memories! Sometimes, the most precious gifts (time with loved ones) just don't contain price tags. Long after the sweaters are outgrown and the games lose their pieces your sweet daughter will remember the effort you lovingly put into this adventure every year. I pray many more blessings on you and your family this holiday season.

Truth4thejourney said...

What a wonderful tradition you have here! I loved the pictures and reading all about it. Glad I stopped by today.


Chatty Kelly said...

**off topic**

Did you get my email regarding "Live" at your sloan home email address?