Mug designers are a creative lot sometimes. And when it comes to mugs for your cuppa Christmas tea (or even your hot cocoa), these folks seem to outdo themselves in the cute department. I’m a total sucker for cute, especially when it comes to such mugs! We tend to go for ones that are first and foremost for holding that hot beverage and after that a cute item. But we came across some online that definitely prioritize the “cute” over the “useful” – and with sterling results as you can see here.
1 – Snowman Themed
Tons of mugs are out there that have snowmen painted on them, some that are just the snowman’s head (with the top open sort of like you’re drinking the snowman’s brains…eww!), and some that are just plain goofy. Cute is tough when it comes to snowmen. They are so overdone sometimes, too, that you just want to run screaming in the opposite direction. But this Winter Snowman Christmas Tea Mug caught our eye as being just the right balance of “Aw cute!” and “Ew, I’m drinking his brains.” Plus, I figure if you’re going to go with a snowman theme, the shape should reflect that, too, not just a painted image on the side. Too picky?
Speaking of mugs shaped like their theme, Santa mugs certainly are ones that abound. Mostly disembodied heads with the top open as if for brain surgery. Not being flippant, and maybe I want too many late night horror movies, but they really do look like that. Nevertheless, many are just too cute for words, but not too cute for that hot tea, cocoa, or even that other hot beverage (starts with a c… hm… oh yeah, coffee). A great example is this Santa Claus mug from Boston Warehouse. At least he’s cheerful with his “Ho, ho, ho” inside the rim of the cup! Great for adults and kids, and us who are inwardly still kids!
In the case of Christmas Tree themed mugs, we need to forego them being shaped like trees, I think – very impractical. It’s best to go with a mug that has a painted-on theme (the practical side of me holding sway here). The design range seems to span from traditional, cliché, and corny, to downright boring. So finding a cute one was a bit of a search. But here it is: Spode Christmas Tree Peppermint Footed Mug.
4 – Snowflake/Snow Themed
So, snowflakes and snow figure prominently in Christmas mug designs, as a quick online search will attest. Of course, shaping a mug like a snowflake is a bit problematic from a logistics standpoint. In fact, I didn’t see any that even attempted it. But I did see this cutie mug (okay, so the matching spoon was a big part of the appeal): Highly Scented Strong Fragrance Mug Tea Cup Candle Snowflake Cinnamon – Okay, so it’s a candle in a mug – a cinnamon scented candle. It’s still cute, and you can burn the candle all up and then wash out the mug thoroughly and then have the cute mug. (I like multi-use items!)
5 – Candy Cane Themed
One of my favorite childhood memories was from elementary school where Santa (okay, so it was really a guy in a suit) showing up and passing out gift boxes with Christmas goodies inside, including the iconic peppermint red-and-white-striped candy cane.
So, you’d think that candy cane themed mugs would be very appealing – well, yes and no. The ones that have the striping only look like barbershop poles (the design dates back to Medieval times when barbers also did bloodletting that was supposed to drain out bad blood and thus the infection but instead weakened patients who then often died). The striping also has a psychedelic quality and makes my head spin a bit. And again, like with snowflakes, the shape was a bit hard to adapt to a mug. These things made the hunt for cute a little tricky. Plus, many of them had logos on them – sigh! But here was a nifty one that was featured on an even niftier article by Melissa Lester on her blog a few years ago.
Our Private Collection
Over the years our collection of mugs has grown and shrunk (we moved, our tastes changed, and so some of them went to friends, family, and Goodwill). But our Christmas mugs remain. You will note that three of them are in solid colors. That helps them do their duty year round. As long as the colors are in line with the holiday here, though, we include them. You will also note that they are rather generously sized, not the small, dainty types at all. Great for that big mug of spiced chai or even (dare I say it?) some non-tea hot beverage such as hot cocoa or even mocha!
One thing that is NOT cute on any Christmas mug is a logo – especially one given as a gift. Great to promote a business or brand but kinda spoils the theme. Logos on the bottom are much better and still serve as a promotion. My two cents’ worth.
© 2014 A.C. Cargill photos and text