Giving the Gift of (Tea)Time

Finding the perfect gift can be a daunting task. Christmas and birthdays are joyous occasions, but wanting to truly honor a hard-to-shop-for loved one can sometimes add undue stress. This challenge faced one of our recent guests, Paige. “My sister and I were lamenting to a coworker recently that our mom is so hard to buy for. Her birthday is just a month after Christmas, so we always have to come up with two gifts in a short amount of time.” Fortunately for Paige, her coworker gave her some good advice: “Don’t gift her with things, gift her with your time.”

The gift of time brought back a memory for Paige. Growing up in Phoenix, Arizona, where she still resides, Paige and her sister have fond memories of their mother taking them to tea during school days. “When we were young, my mom would pull us out of school one day a year separately to go to tea. It was a unique opportunity to get one-on-one time with her. Skipping school when we weren’t sick almost made it extra special, because we were doing something a little ‘forbidden.’ I probably would never remember what I would have learned at school those days, but I’ll always remember the special time I spent with my mother when we went to tea.” Even into adulthood, the tradition of having tea together is considered precious time. Their favorite teahouse in Arizona has since closed, but Paige and her sister frequent tea with their mother at other tearooms in the area.

All of these memories came flooding back as Paige’s coworker offered up her suggestion, and she immediately thought of a special tradition to create for her mother. “We decided to find new tearooms across the county to try every year on my mom’s birthday.” Despite having only visited The St. James Tearoom on one other occasion nearly a year prior, Paige’s experience made it their inaugural tearoom for this new tradition. So, on a sunny Wednesday in January, Paige, her sister, mother, and a dear family friend boarded a flight to attend a teatime here at St. James , with a flight lined up to head home right after. “I knew my mother and sister would love it. It certainly brought all of us back to the authentic afternoon teas we remembered from my childhood. Tea in a big hotel can be fancy, but there’s something so special about a quaint, old-fashioned English tea.” In pursuit of relationships, nostalgia, and celebration, these four women were able to escape their hectic lives by about 500 miles in order to sit and enjoy one another’s company over a cup of tea.

We look forward to hearing from Paige and her family about their ongoing tea adventures, and we are so blessed to have been the start of the new birthday tradition!

What is your St. James story? We love to hear how the Tearoom impacts the lives of our guests. Tell us yours any time by emailing You’ll help inspire others with what St. James is to you and have a chance to be featured in our blog. We can’t wait to hear from you!