Feedith Nola: Teddy Bear Tea

Cheers to Teddy Bear Tea with Edith (photos by: Kim Frusciante)

Last Saturday, a great Christmas miracle unfolded in our household… We were on track for an early departure to Teddy Bear Tea at BB’s Stage Door Canteen. If you have a toddler, or have ever met a toddler, you know that this was a big deal. That is, until we reached the last step of getting ready: shoes. You know the ones. The dress shoes that are worn exactly three times before they are too small. The ones that go perfectly with the sparkly Christmas dress purchased specifically for Santa photos. Or they would have, if the right shoe had been located.

So out the door we went, now ten minutes late, in a sparkly red dress and a pair of dirty tennis shoes. On the drive downtown, I braced for the eyebrow raises and subtle-not-so-subtle mom shaming.

The last teddy bear tea we attended was packed to the gills with girls sporting perfect ringlets and moms in high tea attire fit for the queen. Outside of BB’s Stage Door Canteen was more casual, even calm. No moms frantically brushed their daughter’s hair. It all felt like less of a production and more like a pleasant way to spend a Saturday morning.

The rest of the program had the organization of a military base with the whimsy of crayons and coloring sheets, Christmas bingo, and a dance party with Santa & Mrs. Claus.

The harmonies of the Victory Belles were sweeter than your grandmother’s cookies. Though the caroling was a great idea, the adults would need way more booze to really get into it.

Edith getting down with tea and teddy (photos by: Kim Frusciante)

Ultimately, the warmth, and genuine care of the staff made this a stand-out event. When Edith nervously approached the stage for story time, Mrs. Claus herself grabbed her hand and helped her up the stairs. When Edith had a full on meltdown during our first attempt at a picture with Santa, the photographer was patient and kind. In between tries, her old pal Mrs. Claus gave Edith a pep talk. (Surely Mrs. Claus wouldn’t marry a scary man!) When Edith finally overcame her fear, servers, volunteers, and performers congratulated her on her bravery. By the end of teatime, Edith was so happy that she was jumping up and down on the dance floor. Good thing she was wearing comfy shoes!

Helpful Tips for Teddy Bear Tea at BB’s Stage Door Canteen:

  • Logistics: This is, by far, the easiest Teddy Bear Tea to attend. The overall feeling is smoother and more relaxed than the hotel teas. Parking at and around the World War II Museum is easy. Like the major hotel teas, seating is assigned. The doors open at the listed start time for the event. Unless you show up early, you will not have much of a wait.
  • Food: It is not substantial enough for a meal for either kids or adults. There is not kid-specific food, so if you have a picky eater, make sure to get some nutrition before. Otherwise, prepare to enjoy every kid’s dream and endure every parent’s nightmare: a lunch of cookies, brownies, and candy. If this happens, there is a contingency plan… mimosas are included for adults.
  • Photos: Though it’s not listed, there are pictures with Santa. Instead of waiting in line at the mall with overzealous moms and sugared up children, wait at your table with a mimosa until Mrs. Claus calls your table. Note that they will make you purchase your photo package before taking the picture. (This was nearly disastrous for us.)
  • Lagniappe: Santa gives the teddy bear gift to the children when they come up for pictures. It’s a nice touch, especially for shy kids like Edith. The bear is the highest quality of any of the teas and is dressed as a WWII pilot.

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