Take a break from the holiday whirlwind and savor the season by indulging in a festive afternoon tea service filled with merriment.
The holiday tea menu at the Huntington Library, Art Museum and Botanical Gardens, presented in the Rose Garden Tea Room, is available daily through Jan. 2 and puts a twist on traditional items that might include insubstantial finger sandwiches and bland scones. Instead, you can savor turkey cranberry tea sandwiches with a marmalade cream spread, wine-poached pear and brie crostini, pumpkin cupcakes and mini apple pies with crumble topping.
Seasonal tea blends are also offered, including butterscotch white tea and pumpkin spice chai. Afterward, explore more than 120 acres of gardens and European and American arts collections in the galleries on property.
Cost, info: $37 for adults and $20 for children, plus tax; a separate admission fee to the Huntington is also required for Tea Room guests (check website for details). Vegan and gluten-free options are available. huntington.org/dining
Relish the salty air and views of the Pacific Ocean from the festive Lobby Lounge at Montage Laguna Beach during its Holiday Afternoon Tea, offered at 2 p.m. daily through Dec. 31. Seasonal indulgences include lobster salad tartlets, gingerbread-Bosc pear pie and orange peel scones, along with French apple streusel and Masala chai teas. The holiday cheer continues at 3 p.m. with live piano music.
Cost, info: $75 for adults ($95 with a glass of Champagne) and $45 for children (no Champagne), plus tax. Vegan and gluten-free options available on the regular afternoon tea menu. Reservations suggested; bit.ly/montagelagunatea
Inspired by the Los Angeles Ballet rendition of “The Nutcracker,” the Nutcracker Tea at the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills gives visitors Nutcracker-themed decor and a live harpist in the Lobby Lounge. The tea is offered from 2 to 5 p.m. Fridays through Sundays through Dec. 29. The extensive tea selection includes a special hazelnut-and-vanilla-flavored black Nutcracker tea; food includes pumpkin quiche and shrimp cocktail with cranberry sweet and sour dip.
Cost, info: $75 plus tax per guest including children ($95 with a glass of Champagne, not for children). The harpist performs only Saturdays and Sundays. Reservations suggested; bit.ly/waldorfnutcracker
Cozy up by one of the fireplace nooks at Tres by José Andrés at SLS Beverly Hills hotel for its Holiday Afternoon Tea. It’s offered 3-5 p.m. weekends in December, and the menu features such selections as caviar steamed buns, rice crispy bon bons, chocolate pop rocks and yule log mousse cake. Of the many tea selections, the black orchid with ylang ylang, mandarin and vanilla is a highlight.
Cost, info: $65 plus tax per guest, including children. Reservations must be made at least 24 hours in advance;
The Polar Bear Tea takes place in the Hotel del Coronado’s oceanfront ballroom from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Dec. 20. Besides hot chocolate, teas, finger sandwiches, cupcakes and cookies, guests may partake in cupcake decorating, listen to a live quartet and spend story time with Mrs. Claus and the North Pole elves. Part of the proceeds go to Toys for Tots; every guest who brings a new toy to donate will receive a plush polar bear keepsake.
Cost, info: $65 for adults and $35 for children 4-10, plus tax; free for children younger than 3. Reservations can be made by calling (619) 522-8100. A Victorian Tea is scheduled for Dec. 16, 18, 19, 21 and 23; hoteldel.com