149. The 2019 Christmas Pipe

The 2019 Peterson Christmas Pipe is rolling out across the globe, and for those of you who missed it for your Christmas-in-July, it’s here and it’s just what those of us in the heat-drenched Southwest need: something cool, something quiet, something for a little solace from all the sizzlings, shootings, tropical storms and day-to-day insanity that have made 2019 one of the craziest years on record.

The 606 Pot

This year’s pipe continues the soft-spoken, Stille Nacht vibe seen in recent years, featuring the second appearance of the “faux-marked” copper-plated ferrules and bands. I say faux marks, but you’ve got your Peterson book, so you know the shamrock, foxhound and round tower stamps were featured on every nickel-mount Peterson pipe from 1896 until around 1963.

I’m particularly proud of this band, because it was in a conversation with Conor Palmer that I casually mentioned (in rather stentorian tones, I’m afraid) that it would sure be nice if Peterson could bring back these traditional marks. And of course, above them is the original K&P “maker’s mark” which always accompanied them.

Of the twelve shapes chosen for this year, the 304 is my favorite—and apparently, everyone else’s as well! When the pipes launched on Smokingpipes last week there were plenty of every shape, but the next day the 304s had vanished like Santa up the chimney. (The bend on the pipe in the middle, by the way, it particularly fetching.) When I asked my wife and long-time Peterson collaborator about it she said, “Well of course! It looks like Christmas—look at that fat little belly!” So yeah, we know what pipe Santa will be smokin’ this Christmas Eve on his duly appointed rounds.

The contrast stain, which strikes the eye as a kind of burgundy-over-copper, is the perfect accompaniment to the copper band and subdued acrylic Cumberland stem. The stem in turn helps the copper-color hot foil P pop, doesn’t it?

I was privileged to take a close look at the 999 rhodesian and a 106 billiard. The drilling on both, I’m excited to say, seemed dead-on, at least for these shapes. The 999s always seem to be drilled at the top, as this one is, but the 106 is dead-center. There was no tear-away in either stummel’s airway, which has been the case in previous years.

The bowl stamps (hand-stamped, naturally) are also great: the shape number, “CHRISTMAS,” even 2019! It’s all there (which isn’t always the case with Peterson).

The X220, aka the 11S (DeLuxe System) and 312 (Premier and Standard System)

As for the shapes, after the 304 the XL02 once again catches my eye, probably because it looks so much like a Christmas ornament. But this year I want to draw you attention to the fact that there are really two shapes that bear the XL02 stamp. I know I’ve gone on about this in other posts, but this year, take a look for yourself.


One shape I call the XL02 FAT BOTTOM. Seen above are two of them. This is the original c. 1979 02 shape released in the System range as the 02s and 302 and in the Classic Range as the 02 and XL02.


Compare the FAT BOTTOM to the BALL, seen above. Usually I whine on about how the older shapings are the best (because they usually are), but I really like the BALL version of the XL02. I don’t know when, exactly, it appeared, but my unfounded hypothesis is that Peterson has two different out-sourcers making these two shapes—one making the FAT BOTTOM original and one making the BALL. I have a System Spigot in the BALL and adore it.

The 68, a fabulous Irish Army shape introduced in the late 1970s

There’s loads of other great shapes as well this year: the 01, the 05, the 68 (yea!) as well as the old classic 69, 106, 606, X220 and XL90.

The 05, looking very Hogwartish in its rusticated guise

To keep this from being just another Peterson puff piece (which I’m often accused of), let me get critical for just a second. If you’re a Pete Freek, you’ve seen what looks just like this type of rustication pattern on the Aran Rustic, the current Sherlock Holmes rustics, the System rustics and maybe even the current Derry Rustics. Is it a lot to ask for some variation? I much prefer the craggier Rosslare Rustic treatment, but if you know anything about rusticated pipes you know there’s as many ways to rusticate a pipe as there are craftsmen to rusticate them: it all just depends on the tool the artisan uses.

The 01 ‘Short Dutch’

Okay, I have one more gripe: what happened to the fantastic sleeves the Christmas and Summertime commemoratives used to come in? Maybe I just got gypped, but one reason I’ve always loved the Christmas pipes is because you get an old-timey sleeve (yeah I know, it’s not even a box, but still) to go with it. ’Nuff said.

The small 69, an original Patent-era shape

So when it all gets to be too much sometime later today or this week, you might begin to think about putting a little Christmas in your life. Your faith orientation (or lack of) doesn’t really figure into the equation here: what you’re aiming for is just a little embodied peace and quiet: some time off-line and off the grid with a good pipe to remind you in a tangible way what’s really important.


The XL90 for the Long Night

…and the little 03 for the before-everyone-else-gets-up smoke on Christmas morning



The 106 for a ’40s – ’50s White Christmas


Photos of individual pipes and shape chart courtesy Smokingpipes.com
Banner and detail photos by Chas. Mundungus


post script:

…and a 13th, for good measure


0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Steven Hersey
Steven Hersey
4 years ago

A perfect article on a beautiful pipe. I’m fairly chomping at the bits as a result. Great rustication, lovely colour scheme and handsome models all round – though the ‘Fat Bottom’ doesn’t quite appeal owing to that bulbous base…not to worry, an enticing list of great pipes and I’ll be scrutinizing the range for a Christmas treat to myself. These are easier on the eye than last year’s chimney pieces, I feel. As you say, gentle and quiet…
Very much appreciated, Mark.

Steven Hersey
Steven Hersey
4 years ago

…addendum…apologies, must have got my chimneys mixed up with another occasion? Thought they were last year, but I now cannot remember at all when…senior moment again, I think…S

Jorgen Jensen
Jorgen Jensen
4 years ago
Reply to  Steven Hersey

Good morning Steven. With my school English I can not quite understand if you are talking about chimneys on your house or the 2016 POY.
The senior moment, is it like me, I can not remember from my nose to my mouth ?
I spend yesterday with smoking and looking at p lip pipes. I think I found a sandblast Milverton but maybe I changed my mind
8.28 this morning when this e mail came in. Fine pipes and does Mark ever sleep !

Steven Hersey
Steven Hersey
4 years ago
Reply to  Jorgen Jensen

Hello, Jorgen. I seemed to remember a chimney bowl in the Peterson line. But I could not place it, so 2016 appears to be the one. Gosh, was it that long ago…
Yes, like you, the memory fails in the simplest things. Browsing pipes is a great pastime, but definitely too indulgent on occasions.
Now, where did I put that 313…

Richard Roberts
Richard Roberts
4 years ago

Good Day to you all. While I like the rustication on these pipes, as opposed to some that have appeared, having been rusticated with a cheese knife, I would still prefer a black finish, a vulcanite mouthpiece and, above all, a P-lip. Am I alone in finding a consistent move away from the look and style of a Peterson? We have ( and to my dismay) coloured vinyl mouthpieces; rustication that I can only describe a lamentable and a drive towards fishtail mouthpieces. I Protest! Richard

4 years ago

Peterson is dying … And quickly too.
I no longer see beautiful pipes … But only rustication. Too many rustications. The same pipe as last year but rusticated. How much imagination!!!!!
If this is Peterson’s new policy, I prefer to keep the Palmer era close to me.
Today Peterson is the pale shadow of its glorious past. Such a pity…

4 years ago
Reply to  Mark Irwin

Perhaps … But at least those of the Palmer era were pipes worthy of note.
Peterson is currently turning into the “Savinelli of Ireland”… 🙁

4 years ago

Hi Mark,
Thanks for keeping the Peterson fire burning. I love to see what’s new and you do a great job with content.
I wish they made a P-lip for the 2019 Christmas pipes. I have grown to appreciate the system pipe and will have no other!

Robert M. Boughton
4 years ago

Very cool! I’m definitely adding one, at least, to my Santa List. But I might have been bad enough this year that I’ll have to get it myself!