While yes, mugs make good fallback holiday gifts for teachers and coaches and colleagues and your mother-in-law, on their own they’re not necessarily…special. (Although we did find one in our 2012 Holiday Gift Guide in the gifts under $16 category that’s pretty darn cool.) Here, I thought of 6 ways to give your mug gift a little more oomph.

1. Include your favorite tea bags
I always look at Tea Forte¬†for gifts each year because not only are the teas great, but they’re¬†always so beautifully packaged and ready for gifting. (No offense to¬†Lipton, yo.) This year there’s a new Winter Spice tea¬†collection¬†that looks delicious and I love the festive red packaging. It’s just a¬†nice little touch to go with a pretty mug. ($6.35, on sale)

TWG Tea Company Rock Candy Sugar Sticks

2. Add rock candy sugar sticks
I think these TWG Tea Company rock candy sugar sticks at Dean & Deluca are so pretty and sophisticated. ($5.50) Of course if you’re crafty you can make your own. Here’s great tutorial for rock candy sticks–along with troubeshooting tips!–at Brandy’s Crafts.

Maple tea tray at Tea Forte

3. Package with a personal tea tray
Also at Tea Forte, I discovered this cool maple tea tray for one, from celeb stylist Robert Verdi recently as one of his own gift recos for the holidays. (Thanks Robert!) He suggested it for the busy mom who needs a little break, and I kind of have to agree. Could it come with someone to brew the tea for me though? ($14)

Kusmi Tea gift set

4. Wrap with a pretty coffee or tea gift set
If you want to spend a little more, I love this selection of Parisian wellness teas by Kusmi ($25.95) and the tins are so pretty to save afterwards. (h/t Mom Trends)


Best gift subscriptions for the holidays: Craft Coffee


5. Add a card announcing a coffee of the month club membership
We recently highlighted a whole bunch of our favorite subscription box gifts for adults and among our favorites, Craft Coffee, which sends three different artisanal roasts each month, plus tasting notes and tips. ($19.99/mo and up)


Hot chocolate on a stick | Make and Takes

6. Make some hot chocolate…on a stick
While you can always pop in a package of your favorite hot cocoa and maybe a candy cane stirrer, I love this recipe for hot chocolate on a stick from Jane Maynard at Make and Takes. I bet the kids would have a great time making them with you. And licking the bowl?