Winter Vibes: Five Ideas to Engage Tea Customers During the Holidays

I don’t know about you but when I step outside in Florida this week, I can definitely tell that winter is in the air. I know it’s nothing like what many people experience up north, but going from 80+ degrees weather to the 50s is a shock to the system. And there’s something almost comical about hitting the streets in Florida after the first cold front has hit. I find it surreal seeing people in heavy winter jackets but still sporting sandals. Maybe it’s a Florida thing, but I am definitely sporting my boots.

This change in weather gives us in the tea industry an opportunity to capitalize on and promote something wonderful – hot tea! But beyond that, it allows teahouses, tea cafes and tea retailers to help our guests embrace the winter season and the holidays that come with it. Yes, Christmas is on its way, along with Hanukkah, and several others. All tucked into this winter season, there are several things we can do to extend the holiday seasons and help our tea customers and guests truly enjoy all that this time of year has to offer.

The White Heron Tea & Gifts
(Photo: The White Heron Tea & Gifts during the holidays / by Kelly Hackman)

Below are some tips that we have found useful over the past several years when it comes to engaging our guests and extending our holiday season to include the winter season.

Tip No. 1 – Focus on the Overall Season, Not Just One Holiday

The Winter season seems to begin the day after we gather for a feast of turkey with family, and runs like lightning speed towards Dec. 25. According to a 2019 Gallop Poll, nearly 93 percent of Americans celebrate Christmas. That leaves about seven percent of the population celebrating other holidays such as Hanukkah, or some that don’t celebrate anything at all.

Therefore, it is important to highlight and provide opportunities for a majority of your customers for Christmas, but it’s just as important to embrace other important holidays as well as the entire Winter season, including those extending to January and February. Think about what you can do to showcase the cooler weather and snow in January (maybe a snow man making contest if you live where it snows). There are lots of ways to focus on the overall season that will lead to additional ways to capture more revenue for your business.

For example, what can you do to create a “Winter Wonderland” that extends through January and February? Can you use blue and white colors in your promotions or in your shop? Remember that cooler weather leads to guests wanting to enjoy warmer beverages and treats, and that doesn’t stop after Christmas day. By having a plan for offerings past Christmas, you will help secure your revenue after holiday shopping is done.

RELATED: Fall Vibes: Five Ways to Engage Your Teahouse or Retail Customers

Tip No. 2 – Decorate Your Shop to Create That Winter Feeling, and Keep It Up Past Christmas!

Do you ever notice that stores are in a rush to get their holiday merchandise down right after Christmas? Did you know that Christmas is actually celebrated through the Baptism of Jesus? Why not keep up those beautiful lights and trees for a few extra weeks. This will also allow you to offer sales of items that didn’t sell before the holiday in displays that look pretty.

If you are fortunate enough, like us, to attend Atlanta Market in January, we make it a goal to leave all of our holiday decorations and products out until we return from Market. Not only does it help us extend the season we love and keeps our shop beautiful for our guests, but it gives us time to decide what we will focus on for Spring and Summer buy checking out the upcoming trends. This is one way we stay on trend in our shop, and we have found that our guests love this as well. Afterall, we spend all this time preparing for the holidays, why are we in a rush to take them down right after?

Tip No. 3 – Create Simple Gift Giving Ideas to Help Your Guests

One thing that people really stress over during the holiday season is shopping and gift giving. Now with supply chain issues and scarce shelves at stores, tea room and tea shop owners have a unique opportunity to make this year’s gift buying season a little easier during an already stressful time. Afterall, who doesn’t love giving the gift of tea?

To help guests navigate the selection of teas we offer, we have created several pre-packaged tea gifts. These include tea sampler boxes and combinations of teacups, tea ware, and tea. Beyond that, we also focus on gifts of certain dollar amounts to help guests in their shopping journey. Sometimes guests are looking for larger gifts, sometimes smaller. By creating a gift guide with gift suggestions, guests are able to get ideas before visiting your shop, thus making their journey to you less stressful.

We promote our gift giving guide on social media and send it out to our mail and electronic customer lists. Our guests are very thankful that we take the time to help them come up with the perfect gifts for them to give.

Tea Gift Giving Ideas
(Image by: Kelly Hackman)

Tip No. 4 – Focus on Gathering Events Leading up to and After Christmas

The winter season often sees families coming together to spend time with each other. It’s also a time when many community groups and friends meet up to share a meal. If you have a tea room, restaurant or gathering space, now is the time to promote your space (of course, keeping in mind your current COVID restrictions).

Events are also very popular during this season. Think Hallmark! People want to have that connection that is fun and promotes a nostalgia that we tend to miss today. People also miss being together, so if you can create an event that embraces the sense of community but also focuses on keeping guests safe, you will be the highlight of your guest’s season.

At The White Heron Tea & Gifts, each year we host a tea in the evening where we have Victorian Carolers come in and sing carols with our guests during tea time. The first year we hosted this event, we had one evening tea. Each year the event grows and this year, our third year hosting this event, we have three nights and one Saturday afternoon. We also host a local saxophone musician who plays Christmas music while our guests enjoy tea. These types of events, where guests can experience the magic of the holidays, are very popular. They promote being together with our friends and/or family and give us a chance to appreciate the holidays in a relaxed and beautiful atmosphere.

Tea Retail Strategies for the Holidays
(Image by: Kelly Hackman)

While we focus our events on the holidays, we are also planning gatherings for after Christmas. Remember, the holiday time gets so busy that we don’t always have time to get together with our friends. Why not create an event or opportunity for your guests to gather in January, when the hustle and bustle of the season has subsided.

Tip No. 5 – Choose Several Styles of Marketing for the Winter

It’s easy to focus strictly on the upcoming Christmas season, but what do you do after the busiest shopping season of the year has passed? The goal is to keep the revenue stream going into the new year and beyond. One way to do that is to focus on both the holiday season and the overall winter season at the same time.

When working with your social media, make sure you are promoting a variety of opportunities, including shopping, events and specials. Mix up the designs, using additional colors besides the traditional reds and greens so that posts may be used multiple times.

Additionally, it’s easy to get hooked on promotion of Christmas and other winter holidays, but remember that your place exists after these holidays too. Start thinking of ideas for January and February promotions. Create ads for social media in advance but create a theme that is easily transferred to the days after Christmas. This will allow you to easily change from holidays promotions to Winter Promotions (and let’s not forget National Hot Tea Month). Having several styles of marketing ready that work together will make the transition from the holidays to Winter easier and more cohesive.

There are tremendous opportunities for tea businesses to capitalize on the upcoming Winter season. We just need to remember that focusing on holidays is important but being able to extend our reach well past those holiday dates is equally as important to keep our businesses alive. Think outside the box when creating a holiday atmosphere and make it one that is easily transferable to the longer winter season. Not having to change directions so much will make your holiday and winter season more enjoyable, as well as offer more to your guests for an extended period of time. Here’s hoping these tips and your ingenuity will have it flurrying lots of extra revenue this winter season and beyond.

Kelly Hackman, owner of The White Heron Tea & Gifts and Driftwood Tea Company in historic downtown New Port Richey, Fla., is a World Tea Academy Certified Tea Sommelier and Certified Tea Specialist. She’s also an Etiquette Consultant. Hackman has created a unique tea escape at her tearoom, which has assisted in transforming her town’s historic landscape and assists in drawing guests to the area from throughout the Southeastern United States. Visit The White Heron Tea and Gifts online at and Driftwood Tea Company at

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