Thursday, December 4, 2014

Holiday Tea Time with Mrs. Claus

With a pre-Thanksgiving snowfall blanketing the slopes of Bretton Woods, we were ready this weekend to embrace the holiday season. Following some spectacular fresh snow runs down the mountain, the kids and I visited one of the most magically decorated holiday venues: The Omni Mount Washington Hotel.

Set at the base of the stunning 6,288-foot Mount Washington, the highest peak in the Northeast, the Omni Mount Washington Hotel is a picture-perfect backdrop for families looking to celebrate the holidays in an intimate yet fun-filled setting. Bedecked with boughs and bows and twinkling lights, the elegance and grandeur of the historic landmark invokes sugarplum dreams from a gilded age childhood. 

Kids from one to ninety-two are sure to get into the spirit of the season with a twist on the gilded age tradition of afternoon tea: Tea with Mrs. Claus.

The entire hotel and the grounds surrounding it are festooned to resemble a magical North Pole palace, with boughs of holiday greenery strung with twinkling lights, gorgeously decorated Christmas trees and dutiful wooden soldiers. I believe Timmy was trying to imitate this nutcracker's strong jaw in this photo.

Although you probably won't find us spending a Saturday afternoon at the mall waiting in line to sit on Santa's lap, Tea with Mrs. Claus was the perfect opportunity for my kids to recall the magic of the holiday season. An elf greeted us at the door of the Gifford Room, adjacent to a Christmas tree as grand as the hall that housed it.

A display of gingerbread cookies, cupcakes and sugarplums promised we wouldn't leave without a sweet treat along with our afternoon "tea."

Mrs. Claus welcomed all the children with the warmth and hospitality of a friendly grandmother who certainly has tabs on whether you've been naughty or nice.

She handed out candy canes to each child with a question for each and invited each child to share a little bit about themselves. Timmy talked about his best friend from school, Bridget declared her wish for an American Girl doll to be delivered by sleigh on Christmas night, and a handful of other children had to decide if they were on Santa's naughty or nice list.

Perhaps inspired by the elegant setting of the Hotel and the fine teacups and cloth napkins before them, the room full of children were on their best behavior as they waited for turn to take a plate of goodies and devote them with red, green, and white frosting.  Bridget added a creative flourish to her cupcake with a gumdrop on top. Mrs. Claus and her elf offered rich hot cocoa or hot mulled cider to each guest.

Following our treats, Mrs. Claus invited the children to join her by the fire for some songs and a reading of Olive, the Other Reindeer. Instead of the lyric, "all of the other reindeer,"  Olive the dog hears mistakenly that she is a reindeer ad decides she must head to the north pole to help Santa. 

Mrs. Claus took time to say farewell to each child and pose for photos.  You can bring the little ones to enjoy special holiday music, a child-friendly tea menu and holiday stories with Mrs. Claus Saturdays at 3:30 pm until December 20th. Reservations are required and can be made by contacting the Activities Concierge Desk at (603) 278-8989.

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