Break out the good stuff

My mother-in-law told me that she only has a stem or two of her wedding crystal left. The reason for this is because not only has she been quick to organize a social gathering for any occasion but also because she believes in “breaking out the good stuff” – using her prettiest china and nicest crystal for holiday dinners and get-togethers. Her philosophy has always been, “What are you saving it for? If it gets broken, well, that happens sometimes; you might as well enjoy it now because you can’t take it with you.”

I like this philosophy but haven’t really used it. When my husband and I got married, the shop attendant at Hudson’s tried to talk us into registering for Waterford crystal, which truly is gorgeous stuff but at that time cost around $60 per stem. We declined and instead registered for Mikasa crystal, which is also beautiful lead crystal though not quite up to Waterford standards, but it only cost $30 per stem at that time. Because we went with the less expensive crystal, we ended up getting the full set from our generous guests – including the champagne flutes, water goblets, and wine glasses. Of the set, I still have 5 champagne flutes, 5 water goblets, and 8 wine glasses all these years later; when I broke one of the champagne flutes while cleaning up after Thanksgiving, I just smiled and cleaned up the broken glass and blood. I will always have the memory of my sister-in-law pouring champagne which she’d stored out on our deck to keep chilled into that glass. The glass itself means nothing, but the memory of our Thanksgiving together will be with me always.

Throw a party, invite your family, and break out the good stuff. Don’t get upset if something breaks or spills – things are meaningless but people and memories are priceless. Don’t cling to what is worthless and miss what is truly valuable.

5 thoughts on “Break out the good stuff

  1. I live the “use the good stuff” philosophy. I started right after my grandmother died, and I went to her house to pick up the linens I’d inherited. Included was a beautiful set that had *never been out of the box*. It sat there for fifty years, unused. My grandma liked pretty things. But she’d never used it.

    Imagine my heartbreak, thinking of my grandmother waiting for a day special enough to use it – and never finding the day. 😦


  2. Just read your comment on IB’s post and came over to check this one out. I love it. So now for my story about china. I have MS, and refuse to have anything breakable in my possession. Had no idea when we married what made me drop things, but I knew better than to get anything that would break. We just cleared out my Mom’s house following her recent death, and found my Grandmother’s china, crystal and silver. We tried to find someone in the family to take it, but no one wanted something that would have to be washed by hand, especially something so delicate. I think it was finally donated to my Mom’s alma mater, to be a showpiece, kept behind glass. I did have to take possession of a buttermilk pitcher that has been passed from oldest daughter to oldest daughter for more generations than anyone can remember. Tried to have my daughter take it immediately, so I won’t be the one who breaks it 5 or 6 generations later, but she has a very active child in the house, so I have it until he is old enough not to monkey around and knock it over. It will definitely be given a place of honor when I move in 11 days, but use it? I can’t even lift a fork to my face, so no, it will only be out where it can be admired until Gina takes it home, but will never have buttermilk in it again.

    Love your blog, following you now.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: “You can do what you want”: transplantism instead of tradition and friends instead of family. | The Sunshine Thiry Blog

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