These sweet vintage Santa mugs are becoming quite collectible!
When I was a growing up, my family had a favorite Christmas tradition. Every Christmas Eve my mother would make a large pot of hot chocolate and we would drink it out of sweet little Santa mugs. The hot chocolate was always made from scratch and it tasted delicious! (I’ll post my mother’s recipe at the end of this post).
Over the years, those sweet Santa mugs became chipped and heavily worn from use. Eventually we stopped using them because of their worn condition, and my mother stored them away.
When I married and had a child of my own, my mother passed those Santa mugs to me, and all these years later, I still cherish them.
Each and every time I see one of these iconic mid century cups, I’m filled with such sweet Christmas memories.
Over the years, I’ve added to my collection, picking up these old cups at flea markets, estate sales, and thrift stores. Along the way, I’ve added pitchers and miniature cups as well.
These jolly cups were usually found at very inexpensive prices, but recently the prices have started to increase as more and more people have started collecting them. These mugs are highly sought after and are cherished for their nostalgic appeal.
They have made a resurgence in popularity, and retailers are now making reproductions of them. Today, I was at Hobby Lobby and there was an entire display of newly made Santa mugs.
A few weeks ago, I added another Santa cup and an old vintage pitcher to my collection and I started wondering about the history of these iconic pieces.
I know many of you have seen these Santa mugs, and probably more than a few of you actually have some in your cabinet.
Well, it just might be time to take those vintage Santa mugs out of storage for a festive holiday display!
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It appears that these adorable vintage Santa mugs have become quite collectible in a big way, and apparently not just during the Christmas season.
Newer versions of the classic design are popping up in major retailers, offering an opportunity to start your own tradition of serving hot chocolate in them on Christmas Eve to your children and grandchildren.
The original vintage Santa themed mugs and dishes were first introduced back in 1949. That’s when Grant Holt, Robert Howard, and John Howard started the Holt-Howard Co. with a $9,000 loan from their families.
They launched their company with a line of Christmas table decor, selling it through department stores and catalogues.
Today, if you find one of the original mugs, you can identify it very easily. Most Holt-Howard products are hallmarked with a clear date and copyright.
You may also find one with a foil label reading “HH Japan”, because some of the production was moved to Japan in the mid 1950’s.
The founders left the company in the 1970’s, and the company completely closed in 1990. During the mid century, they were also made by Napco, Lefton, and others.
The Santa mugs were mass produced in the mid century, so it’s not too difficult to find them in thrift stores, flea markets, and estate sales. Especially during the holiday season. Although, lately the prices have been skyrocketing.
There’s something so nostalgic about these vintage Santa mugs with the tail of Santa’s hat twisted into a handle and his jolly, twinkling smile.
My collection started with the set of cups and pitcher passed down from my mother, and mine isn’t a large collection, but each year I add a few pieces if I find them at a good price.
My hope is to one day fill an entire cabinet with these sweet pieces and bring them out for display each Christmas.
Every Christmas, I pull out my small collection and display it in different ways.
This year I displayed the collection in the antique French Vaisselier in the breakfast room, mixed among my vintage ironstone typography collection.
Vintage bottle brush trees look so cute displayed inside these charming old mugs.
I love the miniature Santa cups but I never knew what they were used for! Recently I found out that they were used as shot glasses, and were often given as party favors! What a cute idea!
I have such fond childhood memories of these vintage Santa mugs. They represent everything that is magical about the holiday.
I guess that’s why I love this collection so much and why I add to it every year. They evoke such sweet memories of my childhood holidays.
I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing my whimsical collection of Santa mugs. Maybe I’ve inspired you to start your own?
If you would like to know how to make hot chocolate from scratch, here is my mother’s tried and true recipe!