Spode’s Christmas China: The Story of an American Holiday Household Tradition

By Marjorie Magazine

Atop the table settings of most families in America during Christmastime, you might find a familiar dinnerware only seen during the festive season. Fir green trimmed china stamped with a beautifully decorated illustration of a Christmas tree adorned in colorful decor with Saint Nick at the top– that’s the Spode signature china that’s been an American favorite since its introduction in 1938. You might have marveled at this unique, non-frivolous set of plates, glassware, and serving ceramics when grandma hosted Christmas dinners, or perhaps your taste in classic dinner sets derives from your parents’ own collection. Spode is a must for setting the scene of a truly traditional holiday feast, but how did this particular design become so popular?

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Via Macys

According to Spode’s site, the tree design is cherished for its “nostalgia and warm recollections of Christmas past.” Spode, an English household brand renowned for its exquisite designs and contributions to modern bone china, was founded in 1770, nearly 150 years before the Christmas set came into existence. Traditions, naturally, were the mainstay of Spode, along with elegance. A popular purveyor of porcelain and china based out of Stoke-On-Trent, Spode was only sold in one store out of New York up until the 1930’s. Their sales rep, Sydney Thompson, would travel once a year to England to collaborate with Spode’s art director Thomas Hassall on new unique designs that would generate mass interest among Thompson’s American clientele.

In 1938, the task to introduce a new festive design for the Christmas season in the States was left to one of Hassall’s designers, Harold Holdway. While many seasonal designs were already in existence, none seemed so lively and fresh, let alone personal, like the iconic illustration of Holdway’s tree. The moment it was introduced into the US, the dinnerware was a bestseller, bringing Spode into a broader audience across the nation and showcasing its classic designs to new faithful fans across generations.

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So when it’s your turn to host the holidays for friends and family, be sure to add a truly classic Christmas spark to your memories with the dinnerware that could only feel right for the moment! Spode is here to stay, and though it’s only once a year, you’ll be thrilled to set your table with their simple yet magical set!

Bring the magic to your home this Christmas with Spode’s renowned Christmas Tree Dinnerware Collection, $30 – $126 at Macy’s and Spode.

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