This post contains Amazon affiliate and other referral links. If you click through and purchase something, I may receive a small commission, but you will not pay any extra.
If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that life is too short. And that TODAY is the special occasion you’ve been waiting for. So many of us are privileged to have things that are just sitting there waiting for that special occasion. Let’s don’t wait anymore.
A lot of you have been around long enough to remember the original #FineChinaFriday. It fizzled out for reasons I can’t remember, but I’ve missed it. Interestingly, my 16 year old son asked me why we don’t do it anymore, not too long ago. I told him I wasn’t sure. He said I should bring it back.
And then I was tagged in a comment thread about using your good stuff and I couldn’t resist bringing it back. I’ve revisited my original blog post from 2012, and have adjusted it to go along with the times.
I grew up around fine things. My family owned a very successful jewelry store in Middle Georgia. People came from all over to shop with us and have my dad design jewelry for them. It was open from 1945 until 2010.
Along with jewelry from $50 to $50,000, our store also sold giftware and dinnerware. China, crystal, sterling flatware and silver trays, vases, candelabras — they were part of everyday life for me. Hell, I even own a silver plated punch bowl set.
We were THE PLACE to register when you got engaged. It was one of our biggest parts of our business, sans diamond sales. During the later years of our store, bridal registries slowed quickly with the advent of department store, online registries and stores like Williams-Sonoma and Target.
A lot of young ladies had sterling flatware or fine china that had been handed down from a grandparent or parent, but most people wanted to register for their own. Great thought went into the decision. My grandmother would set their choices up as if they were being used, on the big mahogany table we had in the china section. She would let them look at everything together, with different flatware, different crystal, different colored tablecloths, everything. Brides would spend sometimes hours in our store choosing just the right items.
I don’t have to tell you what happened to the complete 12 place settings they all ended up with (at an average in today’s prices of probably $175-200 per place setting) do I?
The china was placed nicely in a china cabinet for all to see, but never to touch. If the china and crystal was ever used, it was at Christmas, Thanksgiving and maybe Easter. A romantic evening may call for it, but probably not.
The silver was meticulously placed in a tarnish-preventive box and taken out only to polish right before special holidays.
When I was about 8 years old, Mimi (my grandmother) took me to the silverware wall and asked me to choose a sterling pattern. Yes, I was in 3rd grade when I chose the flatware I wanted for the rest of my life. Even when I was 8, I appreciated simple with deep engraving. I would choose it over and over again.
My sister chose her pattern 4 years later when she was 8. Hers was more elaborate and ornate. She and I are so different. I would never in a million years have chosen what she did, but she still loves hers now.
Every year for Easter, our Easter basket contained a piece of our sterling flatware. Plastic grass, Peeps, some other crappy candy and a sterling fork. Or knife, spoon, tomato server, serving fork, ladle, etc. You get it. We cherished the candy more, though. I mean, what 10 year old wouldn’t?
When my first husband and I got engaged, we didn’t have to think long about choosing a china and crystal pattern. I’d picked everything out a thousand times over. My china was always on the top shelf and always in the center. Nobody ever picked the china on the top shelf. It was the expensive stuff. But in my opinion, it was the only one to get.
Pickard is a china company that features made in the USA products, and in 1977 it was chosen to manufacture the official china used in embassies and other locations around the world by the Department of State. It’s been the china of choice for Presidents, Queens, Kings, hotels and the US Air Force. Obviously it’s good stuff.
I chose a pattern with a beautiful cobalt and platinum band on an ivory bone china.
I did give Jason the choice between two different Waterford patterns for our crystal. He chose the one I really wanted, mainly because it had the best highball glasses.
So before we talk about #FineChinaFriday, I want to tell you a few secrets.
I use my sterling flatware every single day.
Yup. And there’s more.
I put it in the dishwasher and have every day since 1998.
I’ve polished it only a few times since then.
It actually looks better now than it did when I got it!
Catch your breath. One more.
I don’t even own a set of stainless.
Ok. So, what’s this plan I have?
We’re going to restart #FineChinaFriday.
I hope you read that like I say it. You have to read it in the most Southern accent you can muster. Some of you won’t have to try too hard, I’m afraid!
What’s #FineChinaFriday, you ask? Great question!
On Fridays, I challenge you to take out your china and eat supper on it. That’s it. It’s really that easy.
You have questions and I have answers.
“But Jana, I’m having spaghetti (insert pizza, beans and rice, takeout Chinese, etc) for supper.”
But honey, spaghetti tastes so much better on china and with a sterling spoon. And we ALL know wine tastes better in real crystal. I’m very serious. Your bland spaghetti will taste so much better with your fancy stuff. I promise.
“Don’t I have to hand wash all this?”
You can. Manufacturers say so.
I don’t, though, and my grandmother rarely did. My fine china with a platinum band goes in the dishwasher when it’s used.
The trick is (pay attention) to not use heated dry. Also, use the most gentle cycle you have. Ideally, you could do a quick load with just this in it. You’ll have to wipe it dry, but that’s pretty simple. Your kids can even do it!
And if you do have heated dry on, leave the china in the washer until it’s completely dry. The gold/platinum bands actually get hot enough to soften, so you want to make sure it cools all the way down to harden back up. This is very important.
“My husband thinks it’s dumb.”
Ask him – right now – if he thinks that it’s dumb that you maybe have $2000 worth of china, $2000 worth of crystal and (if you have sterling) (holy crap this number is high) $5000-7500 worth of sterling in your cabinets that aren’t being used? Does he think THAT is dumb? I’m sure he does.
“It seems silly to take it out of the cabinet just to use one time.”
It’s possibly one more than it’s been taken out before. Just sayin’.
“Do we have to eat at the dining room table, too? GAH!”
If you want. Or at TV trays. Or just on your lap at the sofa. I recommend the dining room table because why not? Use this opportunity to gather for a meal around the table.
“What if the kids break one?”
Then buy a new one.
No. I don’t mean buy a new kid.
Buy a new plate. Or glass. Or don’t. If you don’t use it and only look at it, what does it matter? It’s just a thing. I promise. It’s JUST. A. THING.
Consider this your invitation to join us as we start celebrating #FineChinaFriday again. Maybe we can make it a trend that others pick up on. Maybe it will take over the world and instead of Friday nights being boring for us old married folks with kids, we can put the fun back in it by being fancy!
So pull out a few pieces of china and crystal to clean it up. Polish some of your silver and get ready for Friday.
Friday doesn’t work? Make it Sunday. Or Tuesday. Or whatever night works for you!
Don’t have fine china? Do you use paper plates? Use real plates instead. Do something fancier than normal. Don’t even have real plates? You can find all of this at yard sales, consignment stores, Goodwill, etc. They don’t even have to match.
Share pictures on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook. Use the hashtag whenever possible – #FineChinaFriday. Tag me if you want! I want to see!
Don’t want to do any of that and just want to play along? That’s fine. Just get your fine stuff out and enjoy using it.
Remember that a lot of people spent a lot of time choosing it and buying it for you, or your parents/grandparents wanted you to have it because it was special to them. It’s a shame to just let it sit and collect dust.
What are you waiting on? A special day? What if you don’t make it to the arbitrary “special day” or it’s already passed you by? Well, make Friday your special day.
Disclaimer: To be completely transparent, by clicking on links in my posts, you may be directed to referral sites (Skillshare.com, etc), affiliate links (Amazon.com), or sites to purchase my work (Society 6, Redbubble, Etsy). As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. I stand behind products and sites linked, and will not promote items I don’t believe in or use myself. Compensation may be given to me directly for items, subscriptions, or services purchased through these links.