Does the Perfect Butter Ornament Exist? I Asked the World’s Pre-Eminent Butter Ornament Collector

Abby Spudich is on a quest for the perfect butter ornament, and there are few things I’m more fond of than someone pouring time and effort into a joyful bit.

Does the Perfect Butter Ornament Exist? I Asked the World’s Pre-Eminent Butter Ornament Collector
Photo:Photo Credits Below

Cheer, charity, good will—all acceptable reasons for the season, sure, sure, whatever. But when you take a moment to consider the true appeal of the holidays it comes down to two things: baked goods and indulgence. And what better symbolizes those values than the stick of butter? Fundamental and simple, butter’s central role in the season hasn’t been overlooked, but it has, I think, been underappreciated.

Perhaps that’s why when I came across Abby Spudich’s Instagram account–where she’s been documenting her hunt for the perfect butter ornament–a sense of urgency rose within me. She must find the perfect butter ornament, I told myself. I must bear witness to this mission. Butter, in all its holiness, deserves to be evangelized. I now kneel at the altar where the spatula is licked.

You’ve probably seen or maybe already own a butter ornament. In recent years, kitschy and ironic ornaments have decorated more and more branches. Last year, the New York Times reported that the retailer Cody Foster & Co. saw a 450% increase in butter ornament sales from 2018/2019 to 2020. To me, it’s the perfect blend of a millennial’s fondness for nostalgic whimsy and the pandemic-induced obsession with home decor and baking. Whip it together and you get a butter ornament.


The platonic ideal of butter ornaments 🧈 I got the @Bloomingdales ornament for $16.99 and the Cody Foster one was $12.99 from @Friends NYC thank you especially to @taylor swift earrings 💖 💖 for sending me these earrings!! i’m obsessed! #2023christmastrends #foodornaments #butterornament #midwesternculture #codyfosterchristmas #blackfridayhaul

♬ original sound – abby🌱

Abby, who recently moved back home to southern Illinois to attend graduate school for speech language pathology, started documenting her collection of butter ornaments this fall. She’s since gained thousands of followers on both Instagram and TikTok. She also created, what I imagine to be, the world’s first and most comprehensive butter ornament data sheet. Why is she doing this? “For fun,” she says in an Instagram video. “If you don’t understand, then I can’t explain it to you.”

But if you do understand, her videos detail the distinctions between the different butter ornaments on the market. The Home Goods’ butter ornament ($6.99), for example, hangs vertically and takes liberty with the copy on the wrapper, which reads “Life is Better with Butter.” The gold sheen on the glass butter ornament from World Market elevates the form, but unfortunately, it shattered while Abby was putting it on the tree. “It does feel like dark forces were at work,” she tells me with a straight face, recounting her cursed journey to World Market. “I traveled 40 minutes to the Brentwood Plaza parking lot…Everyone knows that is like, the Bermuda Triangle of Missouri.” I didn’t know that, but I am listening with rapt attention. She’s managed to portray this absolutely inconsequential quest, one I’m checking in on daily, with the perfect amount of funny and self-aware gravity.

“Is this too niche? Am I taking this too seriously? Sound off in the comments,” she asks in a video. “No no go on you have my attention,” one person wrote. Over 500 people liked the comment.

There are few things I am more fond of than someone unabashedly pouring time, effort, and money into a joyful and harmless bit. I think that makes it perfectly emblematic of the reason for the season: indulgence. Below is a conversation I had with the butter ornament queen, edited and condensed for clarity, not unlike the delicacy of the hour: butter.

JEZEBEL: What kicked off this hunt?

Abby Spudich: I was doing a Cracker Barrel versus Anthropologie series [on TikTok] where I was taking pictures of an item of clothing and asking, “Can you guess which is from which?” and someone commented, “Oh my God, have you seen the butter ornament at Cracker Barrel?” Cracker Barrel and Anthropologie both have butter ornaments.

Anthropologie’s aesthetic is obviously very chic, very trendy, but it also hits on deep Americana themes that you could easily find at a Cracker Barrel.

Someone commented on one of my posts that Cracker Barrel and Anthropologie both donate to the same candidates and causes. And I find that very interesting, too.

What, in your opinion, is the appeal of the butter ornament?

Taking something so commonplace and then elevating it. Like, “Your kitchen butter. This is beautiful.” I think that’s fun. There’s also an element of butter’s place in all these comfort foods we’re making. There’s that comfort, the hominess of butter, too.


Hey butter babes!! I’ve got another butter ornament haul! Like and save to stay on ButterTok, the algo is boosting my vids like the old days! Ft ornaments from @Ava Jane and gifts from @Sardonix !#2023christmastrends #butterornament #ornament #midwesternculture #midwestcore #christmashaul #christmasdecorhaul #smallbusinessfinds #CapCut

♬ original sound – abby🌱

How are you assessing each butter ornament?

I don’t know that I’m looking for the most realistic one. I think there needs to be an element of whimsy. I think there needs to be some Christmas to it. For me, there has to be a level of realism, but it’s a magical realism. I want a little sparkle, a little shine. I like the ones that have the measurement lines, but those can make it a little busy.

Also, you’re never really going to get to the idea of perfection. Someone asked, “If you find the perfect one are you going to stop?” and it’s like, “Well, how can you know what’s perfect if you haven’t seen every one?”

Do you have any front runners that are getting a prominent spot on the tree?

I like the Bloomingdale’s ($28) one a lot. That’s one of the higher-end ones. What I like about that one is the font is red, and that feels a little more Christmas-y, and it’s got this sparkle, but it’s not over the top. And then I really like the one from Kirkland’s, actually. That one has a detail where the wrapper is unfolding that’s really pretty. It’s a shinier one, too. Those ones are not the most realistic ones but they have that fun detail. Oh, I have a pink one, too, from Ava Jane. It reminds me of strawberry milk.

Kirkland vs Bloomingdale’s kind of mirrors the Cracker Barrel vs Anthropologie dynamic.

[Laughs] Yeah. The Kirkland one I got for so cheap, I got 45% off. I feel like I need the Anthropologie one because of that. It isn’t the most expensive one I’ve found, there’s a handmade sequined designer one that is more expensive, but Anthropologie’s costs like $36 and I don’t know if I can go for that. [Ed note: as of 12/20/2023, the Anthropologie butter ornament is sold out.]

I will say a lot of people have been telling me to buy the Hobby Lobby ones. I guess Hobby Lobby has two butter ornaments. But I’m not going to give them free advertising for my hobby.

I respect that. Do you have plans to display all of the ornaments at some point?

I’m going to do a butter tree reveal. I made a little tree topper today. It’s a cow and it’s a little creepy. It’s giving folk horror. It’s giving MidSommar.


Butter tree reveal 💗🧈🎄🎀 there’s still room for a few more, i’ve got some coming in the mail still but here she is in all her glory. hope it was worth the wait! #foodornaments #butterornamentnation #2023christmastrends #butterornament #ornament #midwesternculture #midwestcore #christmastreedecorating #CapCut

♬ O Tannenbaum – Vince Guaraldi Trio

I imagine your audience is pretty femme leaning?

Instagram gives you your analytics and my audience is 97% women. And [I forget] but on either TikTok or Instagram, my top city is Chicago.

Do you have any insights on whether millennials or Gen Z are consuming your content more?

Most of my viewers are millennials. It’s a nice bell curve, actually. 20% of my viewers are between 25 and 24, 42% are between 25 and 34, 24% are between 35 and 44.

What do you imagine is the millennial appeal?

There have been some think pieces about how millennials are obsessed with HGTV and home decoration because they will never actually be able to afford a house or whatever. There’s also just this idea that we’re gonna wring every bit of joy out of this holiday season, we’re gonna go so hard.

Your fandom and audience appear to be very invested and supportive. (The latter is not always a given with millennials online.)

It’s pretty cool. People are mailing me ornaments, too. People will link me to ornaments they’ve found and say, “Oh, did you see this one?” People are making me handmade ornaments. Someone sent me butter earrings. [When we chatted, Abby was wearing a “Butters of the world” sweatshirt that a company gifted her.] There are even people who have said, “Did you have this one or did I have a dream about that?” I’m like, “Oh, my gosh, I’m in your subconscious.” I didn’t expect to become the butter ornament girl.

I’m glad you’ve risen to the occasion.

I wear the title proudly.

Butter Ornament Photo Credits: Bloomingdale’s; Old World Christmas; Anthropologie (Currently Unavailable); Kurt Adler; World Market (Out of Stock); Etsy; Joann Fabrics

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