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Christmas Dishes and China

Today I would love to hear about your dishes. Yes, those plates, cups, and silverware you use while eating.

Growing up we had everyday dishes that were often a mix of several different sets.

However, for holiday dinners and special company, my mom pulled out the nice dishes and silverware. We knew it was a special meal when the nice dishes were bought out.

A few years ago when we drove to Oregon to visit my family, I brought back several boxes of  those nice dishes that my family used when I was growing up to Oklahoma with me. My mom no longer needed this china because she had inherited my grandmother’s set and she decided to give me the china that she had used for so many years.

I was thrilled to have it and had dreams of using it for many of my family’s holiday meals. Those dreams never happened. The reality is that the china is sitting in my attic, still in the boxes that I brought it back from Oregon in.

In my current kitchen I do not have the room to store these dishes, so the attic is where they ended up. It takes way too much time and effort to pull them out each time I need them.

I still love having these dishes and I am so glad that I took the effort to haul them all the way to Oklahoma from Oregon. I love the idea of using special dishes not only for the holidays, but for other meals and some day I hope to have the space to bring out my dishes and use them regularly.

So, now I am curious, did you grow up in a family that used special dishes for Christmas and other holidays? Do you use special dishes during the holidays now with your family?

And am I the only one that has a set of china hidden away in the attic because they do not have room enough for it?

Lynn's Kitchen Adventures


  1. Nope you are not the only one.. My mom always pulled out the nice stuff for holidays.. But she had a china cabinet.. so you could see them all the time..
    I am not really into china.. I did not get any when we were married.. I got the normal Corelle dishes that I wanted.. But someone gave us a really nice set a few years in to our marriage.. they had a “better” set. (so they gave us the set the wife did not like the name on the back dishes) Honestly I liked the set they gave us better.. BUT it is in the attic right now.. cause I do not have the space to put them in the kitchen.. I would like to use them more though..

    Sue in NJ

  2. My mom has china that she got when she was married and we use it only for special meals, which are usually just Thanksgiving and Christmas. I got my own set when I got married last year, but we haven’t had a chance to use it yet. I really just need to make any day a special day and drag it out so we can actually use our pretty dishes. They look so lonely in the cabinet!

  3. My Mom does use her china, given to her by her Dad, for special meals. Even everyday meals sometimes. Mom’s china will go to my brother, who as a teenager during a move took the box and checked each piece after the box was dropped. Mom shopped for china at flea markets and bought each of us girls a set. My Mom is a planner, and even now with grandchildren ages 6-14, she has a box with each grandchilds name in storage that contains a set of china she picked up somewhere. Specially picked for that child for “someday”.

  4. my parents use their nice spode china as their everyday dishes but we knew it was a special meal when we used the dinner size plates rather than the luncheon size.

    i inherited my grandparent’s lenox china and will use it only for special occasions because the platinum trim is not dishwasher friendly.

  5. Michelle O. says

    You know, its kinda funny. My mom was always in the predicament you are, never havin enough space or time to use the dishes. This year, my husband & I finally have a house big enough of our own to host Christmas, so she gave them to me. I want to use them, however, my dishwasher has developed a leak , and I’m havin second thoughts bout it since it would mean washing dishes for 30ish people. I may still just do it though:).

  6. Our dishes are a hodge-podge of lots of things. And because we’ve got about a million kids coming in and out of the kitchen for snacks and drinks all year long – we use lots of plastic.

    I’d love to have a nice set of all matching dishes – even for every day. I’ve got my eye on some Corelle.

    As for china, I have a box I inherited from my grandma. I don’t have room in the kitchen so it’s in a box out in the garage. (No attic or basement in my house.) I’ve pulled it out for a couple meals in the past but it’s usually not worth the hassle so in the box it stays for now. Maybe when the kids are bigger I’ll find room for it.

  7. Take them out, use them. Put the others in the attic. My mom put her “good” dishes in every day rotation about 10 years ago and I think we’ve broken maybe 3. In her old house we’d carry them across the brick patio to the table in the yard even. I started using our good napkins every day too. What’s the point of them in a box collecting dust or being forgotten just to keep them safe. Make memories with them your kids will remember just the way you remember them.

    • I so agree with your thoughts, Melissa! Why have “special” china hidden away. EVERY day my family is special. I am a senior citizen and have come to realize over the years that every day is special for those you love. I once stored “special” candles only to pull them out for a “special” occasion and found that they had melted…I never got to use them. I denied myself the pleasure of sharing them with others. From that day forward I decided that whatever I owned that was special to me was going to be shared with those that I love whenever I had the chance to do so. Don’t get so bogged down with the material things that it overrules your heart. Create beautiful memories by sharing with those you love.

  8. My parents had special dishes, which were displaced by my grandparents’ German set when they passed on. I now have my parents first set of china and haven’t used them much because I have young children and because the colors are blue and green… Not very autumny or wintery….I like having them, though, because of the happy childhood memories of us using them with relatives who are no longer with us.

  9. I picked out and received a beautiful set for my wedding and have yet to use a single piece (including the “silver”ware). That was ten years ago! I want to use them but I am always looking for shortcuts and mine is packed and stored away too. Maybe someday…..

  10. I have ‘china’ but the items I like to use during the holidays are my collection of Anchor Hocking royal ruby red depression class. I have a variety of pieces, but the favorite holiday ones are the punch bowl set and cups. I also have the forest green punch bowl set with cups so will often use a combination of the cups with to bring in the green and the ruby red. Other dishes are great for appetizers, nuts, candies (as long as no small children are coming) My own son (who’s now 15 – broke one of my ruby candy dishes when he just picked it up and dropped it on our wooded floor) 🙁

  11. I have a beautiful set of china that has never been used because I don’t have a china cabinet and have to keep it stored due to lack of space. I would love to have the room to entertain and have family & friends in. Maybe someday………….

  12. Sharon Graham says

    When I grew up my mother always put on a big spread for holidays and used her special “china” which were pieces purchased at the grocery store each week on special. He silverware though was the real thing that had to be polished. Later in her life, she switched to paper plates as the family grew and she did not have a dish washer and although dish time gave us good times together, it was easier on her.
    When I married we received an incomplete set of beautiful china that, like yours, stayed stored until 8 years ago, when after 34 years of marriage we moved to a home with a dining room and we purchased a china cabinet. At that time, we inherited a china set that my husband purchased for his mother when he was in the military. I decided then that our beautiful china would be our everyday dishes since it wasn’t a complete set. Saving it all those years kept it special but I wished I hadn’t waited for so long. When our family can come for holidays now, I use the inherited china as much as possible and I enjoy every minute using it.

  13. I bought my china from a special that a grocery store was having. Each week a certain piece would be on sale, I would pre-order the amount I wanted and pick them up weekly for the special price. This was several years ago but I am 25 years old so this was not that long ago. I use my China for special occasions and special dinners.

  14. I have a 12 setting set of Maxwell Williams white china that we registered for and got for our wedding. We store it in our sideboard in the dining room and use it for parties, dinner parties and speacial occassions – I refuse to have something I don’t use and I chose the pieces I did because we love to entertain. My mom was the same with her set of Arctic Blue Notitake.

  15. our everyday dishes are white and brown fiesta ware. i love them! my grandmother had several sets of china and when she passed away, my sister and i each got a set and my grandpa still has the 3rd set. my mom will probably get that one day. my grandma (and my mom) also each had/have a set of spode christmas dishes… my grandma’s set was split between my sister and i. so we use that at christmas. i don’t use my nice china regularly because my husband and i live in an apt, so it’s mostly in boxes in our closet. but i do have two dinner plates, salad plates, and teacups in the cabinet above the fridge that we use for special occasions!

  16. I love beautiful china. I received my first Blue Willow tea set at the age of 4 from my Grandmother. Every afternoon we had tea and homemade cookies on the front porch swing. The problems of the world could be conquered on that old fashioned swing. Today I collect the Friendly Village pattern by Johnson Brothers of England. I treasure the cozy beach towns antique shops. I have completed 2 full sets of Coaching Scenes Patterns by scouring the shops.

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