Getting kids to don some decent clothes and use some manners is a struggle. But that's less the case, we've found, around the holidays. Many children—girls and boys—get excited to dress up and head out to a fancy, festively decorated place, especially when special treats are involved. These restaurants and hotels are rolling out the red carpet (and some pretty fantastic pastries) for kids and their parents this month. Make your reservations soon for a perfectly sweet and civilized afternoon. (Some are more of a splurge than others, so be sure to call ahead for updated prices for your group.)
1. Mandarin Oriental Holiday Tea—Boston
November 19, 2018 to January 6, 2019
While kids sample delicacies like an over-the-top hot cocoa bar with a selection of flavors and candy cane straws, you can sip champagne by the cozy fire in the swanky Lobby Lounge. There are also house-made scones and petit fours by acclaimed pastry chef Robert Differ.
2. Teddy Bear Tea at the Taj—Boston
November 24 to December 23, 2018
Overlooking the Public Garden, The Taj may be the quintissential spot for afternoon high tea in Boston, so it's no wonder that this grand hotel really does it up over holiday time. During these Saturday and Sunday events, kids can enjoy stories, write a letter to Santa, decorate cookies, and get their face painted, too. Children are welcome to bring a new toy or teddy to donate, and the Taj will donate a portion of ticket sales to the Highgate Charitable Foundation.,
3. Snowflake Tea at the Langham—Boston
November 24, 2018 to February 7, 2019
The Reserve room at the Langham is transformed into a winter wonderland with seasonal selections of tea sandwiches and sweets as well as tea and hot chocolate. On Saturdays, you can opt for a visit to the Holiday Chocolate Bar at Cafe Fleuri, also in the hotel.
Guests are encouraged to bring new teddies to donate to charity as part of Teddy Bear Tea. Photo courtesy of The Four Seasons
4. Four Seasons Teddy Bear Tea—Boston
December 1 to December 23, 2018
The annual Teddy Bear Tea returns to Four Seasons Hotel Boston for the 20th year. This event includes a festive afternoon tea at the iconic Bristol Restaurant and Bar, accompanied by a reading of a holiday story, often by a Boston celebrity. Truffles the Bear makes daily appearances, and kids are encouraged to bring a stuffed bear to donate to charity.
5. Frost Tea at Rowe's Wharf Sea Grille—Boston
December 1 to 31, 2018
Children are invited to decorate their own gingerbread cookies and sip cocoa while mom and dad can sample from exotic teas, including a special handcrafted seasonal blend just for the holidays, or champagne.
6. L'Espalier Prince and Princess Tea—Boston
December 2 and 15, 2018
Inspired by chef Frank McClelland's childhood memories of afternoon tea on his grandparents' farm, L'Espalier's tea service is a warm, but elegant affair, with sweet and savory bites. The Prince and Princess teas have an added element of childlike fantasy to them, in which children receive tiaras and crowns to wear along with miniature treats and tea or hot chocolate.
Meet Nutcracker stars at the Sugar Plum Fairy Tea. Photo courtesy of The Ritz Carlton
7. Nutcracker Tea at Ritz-Carlton—Boston
December 8, 9, 15, and 16, 2018
This elegant tea features cocoa and treats for kids and specialty cocktails for grown-ups. Kids can hobnob with characters from The Nutcracker, sing along to Christmas music, and do crafts. Guests are encouraged to bring small, unwrapped gifts for a collection run by the charity Catching Joy.
8. Holiday Tea with American Girl—Natick
November 23, 25, December 2, 9, 16, 23, 2018
Collect Christmas and Hanukkah wish list ideas and sample teatime sweets at the American Girl doll store. Kids can make a "silly sweater" craft and a treat to take home.
Tea with Mrs. Claus. Photo courtesy of The Wenham Tea House
9. Tea with Mrs. Claus—Wenham
December 12, 13, 18. 19, 2018
This charming tea house hosts regular character teas, but the one with Mrs. Claus is particularly special. Children are offered tea or hot chocolate along with a special character cookie and other treats while they listen to a holiday story.
10. Santa Tea at Gore Place—Waltham
December 15 and 16, 2018
Enjoy scones, sandwiches, and sweets in a festively decorated 1793 carriage house. Children do a holiday craft, listen to stories and sing songs, and leave with a small gift from Santa.