Cares hopes that tea timers will dress up and create Wonderland-esque settings in the safety of their own homes rather than among all of their friends this year.
Cares hopes that tea timers will dress up and create Wonderland-esque settings in the safety of their own homes rather than among all of their friends this year.

By James Steindler
Sopris Sun Correspondent

Basalt Regional Library (BRL) has done it’s best to carry on traditions and events in new safe ways throughout the latter part of 2020. With the holidays coming up the staff has kept busy preparing virtual events and take-home activities.
Caroline Cares has been with BRL for almost seven years and currently is the childrens’ librarian and its youth services assistant director.
One beloved tradition is the annual Tea Party, which generally happens around Thanksgiving break.
“Growing up I remember going to holiday tea times with my mom,” said Cares, “We thought it would be a fun thing to offer for kids in the Valley to be served tea, have cupcakes, hear stories and songs and have the chance to dress up.” Cares added that they generally have around 200 people attend.
This is the fourth anniversary of the event and Cares was not ready to simply cancel tea.
“What we came to is that it would be really fun to offer tea party kits that they take home,” explained Cares, “So each family gets a bag and inside are disposable but really cute looking tea sets.” The tea comes from Two Leaves and a Bud — a local company out of Basalt — which donated the supply. The kits also include napkins, cookies, two crowns, sugar cubes and table decorations such as cut out flower petals and doilies.
“We are making 50 kits and there is enough for two kids in each,” Cares assured, “And it’s actually been quite time consuming because we want to make it appealing.” Each kit will be presented as a wrapped gift for the novice tea drinkers to unravel step by step.
Cares and her colleagues are also in the process of making a video where they’ll demonstrate what the significance of drinking tea means to various world cultures; as well as the dos and don’ts of tea etiquette. “The idea is that they’ll go home, set up their tea party and watch the video,” she continued, “We’re going to travel to Japan, Russia, Argentina and we’re also going to talk about some indigenous cultures in North America.”
The video will be available for two weeks beginning Dec. 21, so youngsters and their parents can schedule a time to watch that works best for them. It also serves to occupy kids’ time who typically take up most of their parents’.
The gingerbread house competition will also go on this year. Kits will be provided to young people who can snap a photo of their gingerbread creation once it’s built and send it to Cares to post it on BRL’s Instagram page to effectively enter the contest.
These are but a few of the adaptations the library has made on behalf of local youngsters. There are also take home kits and virtual events catered to adults including virtual game nights and holiday knit kits (available on Dec. 22) where anyone can learn the basics of knitting.
Cares mentioned that virtual tutoring is available for high school students studying for their SATs, “The woman who is leading the sessions is bilingual,” she stated. Cares added that the library has new Google Chromebooks and WiFi hotspots available for checkout.
Check out the library’s calendar on its website for more fun and safe take-home creations and happenings.