The holidays are quickly approaching, and that means one thing in Chicago. No, not sub-zero temps (at least not yet) — SHOPPING!! We live in one of the best cities in the world for working your way through the holiday wish lists. But all that shopping can be exhausting. Take a much needed time out for afternoon tea to rest and recharge. Our fair city offers the time-old tradition that will turn a day of shopping with the kids into a cherished memory. Here are our picks for getting in touch with your inner Brit with a spot o’ tea.

Learn Some MannersThe Four Seasons: Allium Restaurant and Bar
Allium is giving you two ways to enjoy your tea this year. Every Saturday beginning November 4 and then daily from December 9-31, stop in for a holiday tea from 2:30 p.m.-4 p.m. If you go December 2 or 16 (1 p.m.-5 p.m.), you can also build gingerbread houses with the family. The house comes pre-assembled and pastry team members will be present to assist with the decorating.

If you prefer to throw back your tea with the man of the hour, Allium has a special Santa Claus storytelling tea on December 9 and 23. Besides the obvious tea service, you’ll indulge in holiday cookies and have a special visit with Santa the kids will never forget. If you bring a gift for someone in need, you’ll receive a special gift from the hotel as well as a 50% off certificate for dining in Allium.

120 E. Delaware Place, Near North Side
Dates: Holiday Tea, Nov. 4-Dec. 31; Santa Tea, Dec. 9-23
Seatings: Holiday Tea, 2:30 p.m.-4 p.m.; Santa Tea, 1 p.m.-5 p.m.
Cost: Holiday Tea, $58/adults, $30/kids, $22 for free-flowing Prosecco; Santa Tea, $68/adults, $40/kids
Reservations: 312-799-4900
Online: alliumchicago.com

Palmer House Hilton: Lockwood Restaurant & Bar
If spending the day on Michigan Avenue is the holiday outing equivalent of getting coal in your stocking, spend the day ice skating in Millennium Park and refuel with afternoon tea at the nearby Palmer House Hilton hotel. A separate kids’ menu is also available at Lockwood, with foolproof finger sandwiches and sweets for even the pickiest eaters on your “nice” list.

17 E. Monroe, The Loop
Dates: Ongoing
Seatings: 2 p.m.-4 p.m.
Cost: Regular tea, $45/adults; $22/kids
Reservations: 312-917-3404 (requires at least 24 hours notice)
Online: hilton.com

photo: The Peninsula

The Peninsula: The Lobby
Santa gets all the attention this time of year, but Mrs. Claus knows how to make the holidays extra special, too. The Peninsula is setting kids up for a tea date with this special lady where they’ll hear stories, decorate holiday cookies and enjoy a special afternoon tea menu with their favorite grown-ups.

108 E. Superior St., Near North Side
Dates: Dec. 2, 3, 9, 10, 16 & 17
Seatings: 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
Cost: $85/guest
Reservations: 312-573-6685
Online: chicago.peninsula.com

The Langham Hotel: Pavilion
For the die-hard holiday shopper who starts on State Street and treks to North Michigan Ave, the Langham hotel is the perfect place for a shopping halftime. Pavilion is hosting Wonderland Tea which includes cucumber sandwiches, orange cranberry and gingerbread scones and desserts. Guests can choose from a variety of teas such as The Langham Blend, a sophisticated twist on a classic English breakfast and Palm Court Blend, a unique blend of the finest quality Chinese white tea, with hibiscus flowers, rosehip, and pink rose petals.

330 N. Wabash, Near North Side
Dates: Starting Nov. 19, details to be announced soon
Reservations: 312-923-7710
Online: langhamhotels.com

Drake Hotel Teaphoto: Tea at The Drake courtesy of Sarah Larsen

The Drake: Palm Court
If you want to feel like royalty, afternoon tea at the Drake is for you. After all, Queen Elizabeth, Princess Diana and the Empress of Japan — each of whom has enjoyed tea at the famous hotel — wouldn’t settle for just any cuppa. During the holiday season Palm Court will transform into a winter wonderland complete with festive decorations, seasonal pastries, a harpist and even a merry band of carolers on select days in November and December and throughout the “12 days of Christmas.”

140 E. Walton Place, Near North Side
Dates: Nov. 17-Jan. 3
Seatings: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cost: $49/adults; $24/kids
Reservations: 312-932-4619
Online: thedrakehotel.com

photo: Vanille Patisserie

Vanille
Vanille Patisserie’s French-inspired holiday afternoon tea experience will transport you and your bébés to the city of lights. Enjoy Vanille signature pastries, scones, finger sandwiches and French macarons while sipping on the finest of Benjamin’s Tea and Hot Chocolate with house-made marshmallows.

2108 N. Clark St., Lincoln Park
Dates: Nov. 17-Jan. 7
Seatings: Daily; noon, 2 p.m. & 4 p.m.
Cost: $49/person
&
3243 N. Broadway, Lakeview
Dates: Nov. 17-Jan. 7
Seatings: Daily; noon, 2 p.m. & 4 p.m.
Cost: $36/adults; $19/ages 4-12
Reservations: 773-868-4574
Online: vanillepatisserie.com

Where’s your favorite location to grab a spot of tea with the kiddos? Share in the Comments below!

—Maria Chambers & MaryKate Hickey