Because it’s never too early to start planning for Christmas.

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We know, we know: School started only a few weeks ago, and football season just kicked off, but at the Southern Living offices, we have been in holiday mode since June, preparing our December double issue for print. And our excitement for the holiday season only continues to grow, thanks to a festive new collaboration that launches this week.

Riley Sheehey Susan Gordon Christmas Collection
Credit: Photo: Graciela Blevins; Styling: Sara Clark

Virginia artist and 2021 Southern Living Tastemaker Riley Sheehey and Alabama ceramicist Susan Gordon have partnered to create the holiday china of our dreams. Their new Christmas collection features Sheehey's original, hand-painted designs on Gordon's handmade appetizer plates, mugs, and ornaments.

Susan Gordon x Riley Sheehey Christmas Collection
Credit: Photo: Graciela Blevins; Styling: Sara Clark

The collaboration was inspired in part by their shared love of The Nutcracker (Sheehey attends a performance each year in D.C., and Gordon's daughter takes ballet), so four motifs from the celebrated ballet appear on the collection's pieces.

Susan Gordon x Riley Sheehey Christmas Collection
Credit: Photo: Graciela Blevins; Styling: Sara Clark

"One of my favorite aspects of this collaboration is that Riley's Nutcracker designs are truly evergreen," says Gordon. "Any of the pieces in the collection can be used all year long, not just for Christmas."

Each of the pieces is handmade, with extra care paid attention to all the little details, from the gold trim on the ornaments and plates to the richly painted insides of the mugs. The ornaments can also be personalized with an initial or monogram for a special, giftable touch.

Susan Gordon x Riley Sheehey Christmas Collection
Credit: Photo: Gabriela Blevins; Styling: Sara Clark

"One of my favorite parts about running my small business is being able to meet and collaborate with other small business owners," says Sheehey. "I am constantly inspired by other women and their businesses, and Susan is no exception. She is as kind, funny, and down-to-earth as she is talented and hard-working. I hope that these pieces become heirlooms for shoppers this season!" The collection will be released on susangordonpottery.com on September 24, and prices start at $115.