Sunday, December 27, 2009

Seeing Red

On Christmas Eve day, before the blizzard that gave North Texas its first white Christmas in eighty three years hit, Erin and I were walking through the china department of Dillards department store. Though the store employees were obviously preparing for the after Christmas sales and the decimation of the 2009 Christmas season, the tables in this section of the store were still adorned with red holiday tablecloths, silk flower arrangements embellished with spray painted gold pinecones, and fancy Christmas-patterned china. Erin asked why people spend all that money on dinnerware that can only be used once a year. After internally patting myself on the back for having raised a practical minded child (at least in this instance) I told her that I supposed that it was people who did a great deal of entertaining and who had disposable income that indulged in such things. Needless to say, we don’t have Christmas china. However, we do have festive dishes that can be used on Christmas. I know what you are thinking. No, they are not paper plates with cheerful snowmen. They are real plates; the kind that can be put in the dishwasher without disintegrating. Our “Christmas” plates are white with a simple band of red around the outer edge.

In December, these plates definitely pass as Christmassy, especially if they are accompanied by paper napkins with those cheerful snowmen mentioned earlier. But, red is much more versatile than just as a Christmas color. When used on a table set for two with a vase of red roses in the center and napkins that now sport hearts rather than snowmen, these dishes can be transformed to Valentine’s Day tableware. Remove the hearts and flowers and add a few stars and a little blue to your table and they are perfect for a patriotic 4th of July celebration, or possibly even Flag Day. They can also be used for a family meal on the Day of Pentecost, a day whose liturgical color is red. Others may find the red plates appropriate for use on their wedding anniversary. With a little creativity, the possible uses for red dinnerware are numerous. Does any other color offer such potential?

Orange – Halloween, Thanksgiving, National Orange Juice Day, The Autumnal Equinox,

Yellow – The summer solstice, a gathering of the International Saffron Society, Big Bird’s birthday party

Green – St. Patrick’s Day, Pay Day, Pickle Pride Day, Arbor Day

Purple – The forty days of Lent, Tinky Winky’s birthday

Blue – As far as I am concerned, blue can and should be used every day. For those of you who have no test and prefer another color for your everyday tableware, blue can be used for Hanukah, the winter solstice, Smurf Day

What you eat tells a lot about you. What color dishes you eat from may also reveal more than you think about what is important to you. Are you willing to break out the fine green china to celebrate Green Thumb Day? Or the yellow on School Bus Driver’s Day? Or blue to honor those events that happen only once in a blue moon? If you are looking for an occasion to use your blue dishes, we will experience an actual blue moon on Thursday of this week, the first since June of 2007. (A blue moon is a second full moon to occur in a calendar month.

Perhaps What Color Is Your Plate will be a bestselling sequel to the ever popular book What Color Is Your Parachute?