Every year at Christmas I receive a new Danish Christmas plate. They used to come from my Grandmother and now from my parents. These plates are a tradition in my family. My parents have a large collection with plates going back to around the 1920's I believe.
My family on my mother's fathers side is Danish. My great grandparents both emigrated from Denmark to the US, independently of each other, when they were teenagers back in the early 1900's. I never knew my great-grandfather, but I was quite close with my great-grandmother until she passed away when I was 14.
Two companies in Denmark make these plates: Royal Copenhagen and Bing & Grøndahl.
According to this site: The Danish Christmas Plate Collection began in 1895 with a plate titled "Behind the Frozen Window" by the Bing & Grondahl company. The Royal Copenhagen firm began making their own Christmas Plate in 1908 with a plate titled "Maria with Child". Both companies have continued to make a plate each year with many varied and charming designs.
These are two of my favorites:
The oldest plates I have are from 1957:
I especially like the one of the Christmas tree as it shows a couple items that remind me of my great-grandmother. I have a candle holder and candle similar to the one on the tree that used to be hers. (Don't worry, it has never been lit.) She used to help me make the two-colored heart that is on the plate. They actually open up and are little bags/baskets. They will always remind me of her.
Receiving one of these plates is always one of the highlights for me at Christmas. I look forward every year to hanging another one on my dining room wall.