Is there anything in your Christmas storage that makes you giddy to unpack it? Something so beautiful that just seeing it each year is like Christmas to you?
These plates fit that description for me.
Shaped as Christmas ornaments, they have a beautiful silver finish at the top and a hole which I’ve used to hang some of them on my tree in the past, or on a garland above my entry.
It’s the pattern on them that I love so much.
You guessed it. Birds.
Red birds. In four different patterns. On an aqua plate with touches of white, brown and green.
Listening to the voice in my mind as I type makes me think I must be awfully predictable. Aqua, red, birds, dishes.
Oh well. You love what you love.
The pattern above might be my favorite.
Or it could be this one.
I haven’t unpacked these in two years. Last year I had a 4 month old baby and I did the bare minimum. The year before that morning sickness hit hard during the holidays and I didn’t get them out. As I carried the box upstairs this year I wondered if they were as pretty as I remembered. I was not disappointed. Nor was I sorry that I bought more than twenty of them when I first saw them. They make me happy.
They’re spending the month stacked neatly on my kitchen counter because I can’t bear to put them behind doors.
What is your favorite thing to unpack each year?
Last night I made a quick trip to my local thrift store looking for something specific. Naturally, I didn’t find it, but I did find this:
It was the pattern that made me stop. A picture of golden wheat on each plate:
My mind’s eye automatically pictured a few treasured pieces of vintage Madeira linen I had at home.
This wheat pattern I have in a set of four placemats. The detail on them is intricate and lovely. I marvel that someone spent countless hours placing each stitch by hand.
But this is the piece the china reminded me of most. A Marghab piece in the New Wheat pattern. Breathtaking.
In my ultimate Thanksgiving dreams I would have 30 of these placemats to serve Thanksgiving dinner on. The pattern is so simple and sophisticated. I love it.
And so I stood there, pondering the china, reflecting on the timeless symbol of golden wheat and how aptly it communicates appreciation for simple things: for sustenance, for harvests, for the beauty of the earth. I turned one over.
22 karat gold! Usually I’m not interested in gold, but my heart quickly made an exception. I counted the pieces. Twenty-eight in all. Twenty-eight pieces of china for $18. They came home with me.
Later that night I stood at my kitchen sink and carefully washed each piece. I noticed how the gold has largely washed off many of the dinner plates, leaving only a hint of the shine that once graced each rim. I noticed stains on a few, and scratches on the wheat image in some places. I couldn’t help but wonder about whose Thanksgiving table was graced, obviously many times, with these beautiful pieces. I wondered at the memories the plates held, the family recipes they’ve seen, the conversations held around that table.
Part of me felt sad for whatever twist of fate sent this lovely stack of dishes to the thrift store. Did someone pass away? Did enough of them finally break that they no longer were used? Why did no one want them?
My sister-in-law serves Thanksgiving dinner on her grandmother’s china. Each year they are carefully washed by hand and stored lovingly. I watch this ritual take place in honor of a wonderful woman, and feel a twinge of envy that no such heirloom will ever be mine. I envy the act of remembrance it represents, not the dishes. I look at my newly acquired china and wonder why no one wished to do the same with it.
I wish to.
My heart whispers a silent “thank-you” for the twist of fate that brought this treasure to my home, for the chance to use them tomorrow. There aren’t enough for the large group we’re expecting, but we will use them for dessert. The thought makes me smile. It means that tomorrow night I get to stand again at my kitchen sink to carefully wash them as I reflect on the memories of the day. Tomorrow these plates begin a new journey, gathering memories at my kitchen table to be carefully stored away until next year.
The thought makes me smile. And would you believe there’s even sunshine outside?
Life is good.
I found a gravy boat to match my very small set of
vintage restaurant china
. It’s small in scale, only an inch wide.
Perfect for an individual serving of syrup, sauce or gravy. It is stamped 1943 on the bottom.
I love this pattern. I love the deep green against the creamy white. I love the way the garland wraps so beautifully around the curve of the dish. Decoration also follows the graceful line of the handle.
This little beauty is just begging me to make breakfast in bed for someone. Unfortunately I don’t see a “sleep in” kind of morning on our calendar for the next two months at least.
And so it waits patiently in my kitchen, making me smile each time I look at it.
I’m pretty sure I would have loved the forties.