Around this time of year, all of the stores start pushing holiday dishware. Maybe it's a simple, rustic pattern in beautiful fall tones, or the very traditional Christmas tree plate. It's a marketing ploy, and as darn good one at that.
Holidays may be the one time of year when it seems you don't have enough place settings for your guests. And Chinet just won't do. What's a girl to do but buy a complete set for the occasion?
If a set of Candy Cane plates is in your budget and storage isn't an issue, be my guest. But the rest of us should rethink that purchase. My advice is to buy solid white. It may sound ho-hum, but remember, when you buy it, it's just sitting there naked. Unless your meals consist of white rice, mashed potatoes and plain pasta, even simple meals will stand out on the crisp white background of a white plate. There's a reason why it's the restaurant standard.
The upsides are endless. It's timeless. Today and 40 years from now, you will be able to find solid white tableware at any store. That means it's easy to add to your collection. Even when you don't have the exact same plate design, a little mix and match can still be elegant and, frankly, barely noticeable when you're using solid white.
And speaking of mix and match, if you and your sister both own a set of solid white dishes, add them together for the holiday, and you've suddenly got service for 20. If you prefer to set the table in advance, alternate settings for a more cohesive look. You'll be amazed how beautiful a set table of white dishes look against a dark wood table, tablecloth or place mat.
Use this same guideline when buying platters and serving bowls. And if you're afraid your deviled eggs will get lost on the white platter, buy a bag of baby spinach leaves and make a beautiful bed of greens for them to rest on (plus, it will keep them from sliding!).