Being a great lover of French champagne and having lots of great girlfriends, a champagne party seemed a great way to entertain the girls during the holiday. And then last week my sweet , young client Kristen Anderson , owner of Quintessentials in Raleigh, N.C. gave me a stunning gift as a thank you for doing the design work on her new shop. I was speechless (which is rare!) when she presented me a very large wooden red box that looked somewhat like a tool box. Oh my, a lovely designer tool box?! But no, the box contained a Waterford Crystal Collection of the 12 Days of Christmas Champagne glasses! I was stunned, but immediately thought , “a champagne Christmas party!”
Each glass in this 12 Days of Christmas features a different Waterford crystal pattern specially selected from the Waterford archives. Waterford has captured the essence of each well-known stanza , from swimming swans to leaping lords. This collection was started in 2005, with two flutes added to the collection each year.
Each champagne flute is exquisitely etched with the subject of each stanza of this famous Christmas song.
A Partridge in a Pear Tree
The partridge derives its name from Perdix of Greek mythology. It is told that Perdix was transformed into a bird and flew off to be with his beloved goddess Athena, often depicted as the pear tree.
The Clare crystal pattern recalls the natural beauty and Celtic folklore influences of its namesake county in Western Ireland.
Two Turtle doves
Turtle doves are found in England during spring and summer. A gift of two at Christmas is a reminder of warmer day and would certainly make an impression on one’s “true love”.
The Alana pattern was selected for year two and derives its name from a traditional Irish name bestowed upon the fairest young ladies of the land.
French Hens were a coveted extravagance during these times, and are still prized today for its unique, dark mahogany colored eggs.
Adorned with diamond and vertical wedge cuts, the Araglin pattern was used to depict three French hens and is reminiscent of the shimmering reflectivity of the river Arra in Ireland.
Four Calling Birds are in the Powerscourt pattern, named after the Powerscourt waterfall, 12 miles south of Dublin. It is the highest waterfall in Ireland and I few years ago on a trip to Ireland, I had the pleasure of enjoying it’s beauty!
Year Three included the pattern Maureen (one of my favorites) with five lovely rings in the precision wedge cuts that are the signature of this pattern. This year also included six geese a laying which would supply an abundance of eggs, a Christmas goose for the holiday table, and feathers enough to fill many a feather bed! The lovely Rosslare pattern with its wedge cut starbursts depicts the six geese a laying and recalls evenings along the seaside of its namesake, whose Olde Irish name, “Ros Lair”.
A gift of seven swans would more precisely be considered a loan. To this day in England, the Monarch maintains ownership of all swans in the country. Waterford’s pattern Kenmare was chosen for this year, possibly because Kenmare is a haven of tranquility and unspoiled environment. The milkmaid was considered the lowest cast of servant, but enjoyed the protection of Bridget, the Patron Saint of milkmaids and dairy workers. The eight maids a milking is represented by the Waterford pattern Tramore , named for town of Tramore , just up the coast from Waterford, Ireland.
Nine Ladies Dancing was well represented at my champagne Christmas party, with lots of holiday revelry. Christmas celebrations were held throughout the British Isles and the Eileen pattern with its graduated vertical blaze cuts are very appropriate for many ladies dancing! We did not have ten lords a leaping at this party . However, the guest that drank from the Glenmore pattern had plenty of fun without the leaping lords.
2010 was the final year for this beautiful Waterford collection and represents 11 pipers piping with the Collen pattern. Collen is one of Waterford’s most treasured patterns with delicate diamond and olive cuts adorning graceful curves. And finally 12 drummers drumming. In Ireland , 12 drumming drummers would no doubt be playing the bodhran, a hand-held drum that provides the “heartbeat” of Irish music. A most appropriate conclusion to the 12 Days of Christmas Collection, Waterford’s Lismore pattern is probably the most popular stemware suite ever made! And just happens to be my Waterford pattern.
So with all this interesting Irish information, what do 12 girls do for a champagne party? Well, at Chestnut Cottage, I provided one 12 Days of Christmas Waterford flutes per person and a sterling silver bowl with 12 red numbers between 1 and 12. Each guest drew a number and that number was assigned to 12 different bottles of French champagne.
8. Krug 1990
11. Pierre Peter
Your number was your bottle to drink and take any that you might have left home . However, the Waterford flutes had to stay at Chestnut Cottage! What a fun way to celebrate the holidays. Afterwards we made a visit downstairs to my husband’s wine cellar and celebrated a little more around his wine themed Christmas Tree.
So cheers to all good French champagne and to Waterford crystal!