Christmas China

I have a real soft spot for Christmas china, though I don’t personally own a set. But I look at it with a fond eye when I spy it in the stores. From what I hear, you Southern ladies pick out a set when you get engaged (or is it when you are born?) and you have a Thanksgiving set as well. Is this true?

When I look at the beautiful Spode Christmas china, my practical side says, “Well, even if it is on sale, is it really worth it if I will only be using it about two months out of the year? And then, only once a week during those two months?” And my practical side says, “Move away from this aisle at once.” But my other side (is it my mother’s Southern side?) says, “Oh, that is just lovely. I really should invest sometime in some Christmas china.” But then my practical side says, “And where, oh, where would you store it for the other ten months of the year?”

I do have a set of adorable dessert plates from Pottery Barn that feature the twelve days of Christmas on them.  And they pack up neatly in their orignal box, no problem. And I have a glorious Spode Christmas Tree Grove punch bowl that is full of mandarin oranges at Christmas. It is easy to store and brings a certain gravitas to my table. But it can also stumble me into thinking that I really should just buy the whole set to go with it. But then my practical side gets the mic again, and I humbly (and wisely?) obey.

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19 thoughts on “Christmas China

  1. After I had finished cleaning up the mess from the slaying of my practical side this morning… I decided once and for all to buy a nice Christmas china set during the after Christmas sales.

    But then, I might just buy different Christmas place settings.. with the family growing and guests in and out all the time…and considering the fact that picking just ONE Christmas pattern seems very boring and forever hems me in to that choice… I think I will get one setting at a time.. all different from each other but all Christmas and sharing common colors. Each person can have their very own setting.

    Oh I can’t wait!

  2. I land on the practical side with you, Nancy. I’m a transplanted Northerner, lived more of my life in Texas than in New Jersey now, so have certainly enjoyed the Southern influence for all of my adult life. I think for Christmas, it’s ideal to have something like a transferware pattern in a red or other color that you could mix and match with some offwhite or other solid colored or simple designed dishes. You can certainly set a GORGEOUS and very festive table without Christmas china from what I have seen. But then I’m still working on acquiring enough of my own simple off white dishes to host a serious crowd of company! And like you, I have NO clue where I’d store the Christmas china the other 11 months out of the year!

  3. My practical side sounds like yours, but fell big time when I wandered into the “china sale” at our local thrift store a couple of years ago and found a delightful set of Christmas dishes (not Spode) for $20! These are now the grandkids’ place settings at our holiday gatherings, and they (and I) couldn’t be more pleased.

  4. (hand waving–windmilling–in the air)

    OH! Oh! OOOH!

    I bought a set called Magnolia at a garage sale last year. Not strictly Christmas, but definitely Christmas colors.

    We get it out for the first Sunday in Advent and use it everyday through Epiphany. I have a cupboard in my garage where I store the set. (The cupboard came from a garage sale too.)

    So festive are the plates, that every meal eaten on them seems a feast. We have to handwash the plates, which is a bit more work, but I’m willing!

    Check out Ebay! I think Christmas China is so worth it!

    You can see my set here:

  5. Well the super-thrifty-Dutchie in me is much like Nancy when it comes to this. But, while I was at the Dollar Store the other day, I noticed that they had Red and White snowflake patterned plates…so even though they are the farthest thing from fine china, and if you look closely you will see where the colors are off and the pattern slightly skewed, once you have them sitting on a nicely set table with a fine table cloth, napkins, and all the rest, they do look quite festive! (Horrible run-on there, eek!) Of course, I saw from your previous article on table-setting, that you are the proud owner of a gorgeous set of bright red dishes, which need only be paired with some lovely green or white napkins, and you have yourself a lovely Christmas table setting! πŸ™‚

    If nothing else, you can always keep your eye out on or – you just never know who might be looking to get rid of an old set of Christmas dishes. πŸ™‚

  6. This displaced Southern girl has Christmas dishes — Spode Christmas Tree that we use everyday from the day after Thanksgiving to New Year’s, and fancy Christmas salad plates (Fitz & Floyd) that go with my Lenox china. I use those on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

    I picked the Spode ones out in my bridal registry, and we’ve gotten lots of use out of them for 19 years. We just replace our everyday dishes with them during Christmas. Those Christmas Tree mugs are just so cheerful, and they make me happy every morning.

    I don’t have Thanksgiving china, but my mother does, and she has collected enough to pass complete sets down to me and my sister. I have NO idea where I’ll store them.

  7. I have Pfaltzgraff Ribbons and Bows that we use from Thanksgiving to the New Year. I have always loved the Spode Christmas china. In fact, I bought my Grandmother Moses the teacup the first year that I taught school. I have the cup now and it brings back great memories. This year is a Twelve Days year. Did you see the Twelve Days of Christmas plates and napkins at William Sonoma? With white plates and gold or red chargers..what fun.
    Those purchases that often seem sooo over the top often become the things that children and grandchildren associate most with the holidays. Watch the sales and check out Replacements on the web for good prices. Merry table setting to you!

  8. Just hop on over to your daughter-in-law’s house and eat off her Christmas Tree Spode. I started that when she got married and she has tiered plates to put all the family recipe cookies on. Now that their dining room is almost done it is time for company! Blessings!

  9. Great idea, Diane! I do have my red plates and my white plates, so I have no shortage of possibilities. You were wise to get Heather started on those. But then, you’ve got a little Southern china streak too, don’t you?

  10. My china has a red band with a gold design through out. I like it because it has a festive look for Christmas, but isn’t so detailed that it would seem out of place throughout the rest of the year.

    As far as having an actual special china set just for Christmas… the practical side of me begs that should I even think of spending money on an additional china set like that, that it would be far a greater blessing to others to put that money toward helping those that could never puchase one set of china, let alone two. But that is just me.

  11. We were given a two-tiered Christmas cookie plate for our first Christmas. On our second and third Christmases, we were given dessert plates with matching mugs. Amazingly we had never broken any, and they have been much used and much fun over the years, even though we had outgrown the number of settings we had!

    This year our home burned on Dec. 2, and we lost most everything, including all of our Christmas things: the dishes, the handmade ornaments, the hand-knit Christmas stockings that Grandma made for each child the year he or she was born, and the Christmas sweatshirt collection that Grandma had added to each year to keep each of us Christmas-y. Amazingly, it is not the clothing or the music or the personal stuff – or even the 17-year-old’s mustang – that the older children are lamenting. It is the things that made life special for all of us. So yes, esp this year the money could be spent 100 other ways, but I will begin collecting some special dishes to use at Christmas during the sales this week. We have already begun duplicating some of the ornaments we had crafted over the years. The ones Grandma crocheted will take a little longer to replace. And who knows, maybe someday I will learn to knit well enough to make those stockings just like Grandma always made! We are learning that its not really the stuff, so much as the memories that were made enjoying those things. And praise God, we still have all of the children safe and well to keep working at making those memories!

  12. I was blessed to be given a set of Pfalzgraf’s Winterberry pattern for my (Advent-time) wedding. We use them often during advent through epiphany. I love them, but I wouldn’t have bought them. I might consider fiestaware that was in different colors: red, white, blue, and green (I think I’ve seen all those colors!). Then you could mix and match for holidays except the autumnal ones.

  13. I recently bought “Friendly Village” for Thanksgiving (It is still on sale, Nancy, if you want me to bring some to Monroe). I have 2 Christmas patterns: a formal “Holiday Tartan” by Lenox, satisfying my Scottish roots, and a casual Christmas Cabin with snow falling, which is the only snow I will see in Florida. Alas, my Lenox outlet store is closing in a few weeks, and Christmas Cabin is no longer made, but I have enough. Seasonal china is as much a priority for me as the decorations. I store them in quilted china protectors in my “decoration” closet.

  14. Dawn, I’m so jealous! I LOVE that pattern, and there are so many accessories to go with it! If I had it, I’m afraid it would be perpetual Christmas at my house!

    I do have to laugh at the Southern dish thing. πŸ™‚ My husband, a native South Carolinian, would always get far more excited than I did (and I got pretty excited) when we would go shopping for dishes. The local Pfaltzgraff store is now closed and they’ve moved all their production to China, so it isn’t quite as tempting anymore.

    I believe some Southern ladies have their china (and silver and crystal) picked out for them when their mothers get married… at least, that’s the way it worked for my sister in law! πŸ™‚

    I, too, would love a Christmas and Thanksgiving set of dishes, but don’t have space for storage, so just have a few pieces here and there that go with my pattern (Pfaltzgraff Naturewood) in the Naturewood Holiday and Winterwood patterns.

  15. I, too, love china. A couple of years ago I put away my many colored Fiesta Ware (mostly in pastels!) and purchased white stoneware. I use it exclusively in the winter months. Then this year I was looking through the Williams Sonoma catalog and found the perfect dishes for me. The 12 days of Christmas china! It is all I want for Christmas. My husband bought me 6 of the large red dinner plates/chargers and I hope to get the 12 luncheon plates too! So I will mix in my white dishes with the 12 days of Christmas plates and be very happy!

    As we have been thinking how we as Christians celebrate Advent, Christmas and Epiphany we decided to go all out this year. Christians should do it the best! So we are celebrating the 12 days of Christmas with our children who are still at home. I think I am looking forward to that as much as Christmas Day.

    Nancy, I think you should put this on your Christmas list for THIS year! We still have a day and a half of shopping, after all. Then hit the sales after Christmas and start collecting that special china you love.

  16. My mom started me on the pottery Christmas Heritage about 15 years ago. At Thanksgiving we pack up our everyday dishes and replace them with the Christmas ones until New Years and use them daily for about 7 weeks – it made the holidays last all month.

    I am not a displaced Southerner but a true Pacific NWster.

  17. I have a very inexpensive set of Christmas stoneware that I use from the day after Thanksgiving to New Years Eve. (I use my Thanksgiving china once it begins to look autumnal where I live, through Thanksgiving.)

    I also have my wedding china, my inherited very feminine looking Victorian china, my pretty English bone china (Goodwill purchase), and I began collecting Thanksgiving china at thrift stores and Goodwill a few years ago.

    Except for my wedding china, all was collected while “thrifting”. Now, I know this is absolutely strange but I’ve thought of the dining rooms in Heavenly abodes and the out-of-this-world china patterns there. Hmmmm…

    As for my daughter, she has mix and match WHITE dishes.

  18. Hey Nancy!

    I just wanted you to know that BB&B have paper plates etc. in the Spode pattern for half off. Just thinking you could do that for dessert plates for everyone or even collect the china for adults and paper plates for the grandkids. Check it out! πŸ™‚

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