Monday, December 1, 2008

Happy 70th, Spode Christmas Tree!

Now that December has arrived, it's time to start pulling out the Christmas decorations, including teawares. And as much as I love cups, saucers and plates of every variety, it's a bit odd that until a few years ago, I actually had no Christmas china! But then my friend Ashly gave me some pieces of the Spode Christmas Tree pattern I had admired when we were out shopping one day, so now I can at least have a friend over for tea and use some "nice" Christmas china. Did you know that this pattern, which I'll bet some of you also have, was introduced in 1938?

The story of the Christmas Tree design is a fun one, and if you don't already know it, the short version is this: During the 1930s, a Spode agent was searching out new patterns for the American market. He asked a Spode designer to create a pattern with a Christmas tree, but since the man had never seen one he actually drew the tree with presents hanging from the branches! He was then told that in the U.S., the custom was to heap the presents in piles on the floor beneath the tree. He was also unaware of what went on top of the tree, thus the Santa Claus tree topper which is so prominent in the Spode Christmas Tree design. According to Spode, "In the last quarter of 1999 Spode's Christmas Tree was recorded as the largest selling casual dinnerware pattern in the USA." (If you want to read more of this pattern's history, go here.)

I was happy to see that Denise over at Uniquely Tea is featuring her Christmas cups and saucers over the coming days, and she's made me want to start collecting vintage Christmas cups and saucers. Do you collect Christmas china? If so, I'd love to know what patterns you have -- or would like to have!

SPECIAL NOTE: For my tea friends who enjoy Christmas crafting, I thought you might like to know about Newnan-Coweta Magazine's "12 Days of Christmas" blog, which kicks off today right here. Art Director Deberah Williams and I have been busy making goodies to share with our magazine's readers, but I think some of you who are not in our readership area for the print magazine might enjoy some of these ideas as well!


  1. That is so interesting! I didn't choose this pattern for my Christmas china because I didn't care for the Santa at the top. But your story of Why has made me at least want a teacup from the Spode pattern!!

  2. I did not know of this pattern's long history, either. Very cool!

  3. It is a great pattern. I have the miniature teapot and teacup ornaments in this pattern on my dining room tea tree. I also like to give the Spode teapot ornaments as Christmas gifts. Thanks for the interesting history on the pattern.

    They have changed the teapot ornament this year and it is not as traditional looking. It looks like a little teapot house with a wreath decorated door and a Christmas tree on each side.

    My only Christmas china is the Debbie Mumm Snowman pattern and various Christmas cups and saucers.

  4. I love to read histories of china, silver, other homegoods etc. I am off to follow the link you provided. Thank you for your interesting post. We have some pieces of Holly and Ivy by Portmeirion, but don't have a full set. Happy Holidays to you!

  5. Cute story, I don't have a single Christmas tea cup. I do have tea plates (kooky ones) and a tea pot- just a plain one though. We'll need to get on the ball about that won't we.

  6. Every year I admire the Spode Christmas china when I see it in the stores. I've even spotted many pieces at stores like Marshalls and TJMaxx, and have been tempted each year to buy some, but I'm running out of room to store all my china that I collect! So as a consequence, I have none. (So sad!)I do have a cute teacup and saucer set that I bring out every Christmas to admire and use. It's white ironware with a holly and berry design on it. I found it years ago at a thrift shop for a few dollars. (Don't you just LOVE thrift shops?)I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!


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