DCL Answers: Paper or China on Thanksgiving Featured

All items pictured are from The Potager and Adams Antiques in Tuscaloosa. All items pictured are from The Potager and Adams Antiques in Tuscaloosa. Hanson Watkins

Thanksgiving in the South is about enjoying time with friends and family in the comfort of home to celebrate all that is good in life. 

 For some people, that means popping off the top button off their pants and taking a nap as soon as possible after the big meal. For others, it is about enjoying a beautiful meal that is an Occasion (with a capital “O”) by breaking out the good china and silver. 

These days, there are hundreds of table-setting options, whether you chose casual or fancy for your Thanksgiving meal. With high end paper plates, gorgeous printed paper table runners and wood or silver look disposable utensils, even a “paper plate Thanksgiving” can have a sophisticated theme. 

Is it wrong to use paper plates?  Miss Manners swoons at the horror. However, most modern etiquette doyennes lean towards the idea that family tradition makes the rule.  So, if your family is most comfortable with the “hard to break/easy to clean” paper plate tradition, find some cute ones and enjoy Thanksgiving your way. 

Does it not seem like a celebration to you and your family without the china and silver? Then enjoy the special occasion atmosphere the extra preparation affords. Indulge your inner Martha. Not to mention, some of the best family gossip is usually found during the hand washing after the meal.  

Another idea: compromise and use the fine china at the “Big” table and paper at the “Littles” table.  

Whether you go fancy or casual, don’t forget that the day is about gratitude. Most of all, be grateful for those who surround your table. 

Paper Plate Thanksgiving 

Easy to clean up 

Not breakable (perfect for kids) 

More relaxed 

Makes serving a large crowd less overwhelming 

Some Miss Manners types may faint

Fine China Thanksgiving 

If you aren’t going to use the china, why do you have it? 

Environmentally friendly (especially if you use cloth napkins too) 

Feels more like an occasion 

Worth it for smaller gatherings 

Miss Manners approves

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Hanson Watkins

Ms. Watkins graduated from Mountain Brook High School and lives in Birmingham with her two boys, Jack, and Charlie. She has bachelor's degrees in psychology and creative writing from Emory University, and an MBA and master's in health administration from Georgia State University. 
Hanson spent 10 years working in the healthcare industry in Atlanta before moving back to Birmingham several years ago to work for her father, Jim Watkins. 
She credits her father, who has owned several businesses over the years, for giving her the entrepreneurial spirit. Her brother, Josh Watkins, is a Birmingham lawyer who helped start the Birmingham Angel Network, a venture capital organization. 

Druid City Living (DCL) is Tuscaloosa, Alabama's premier community newspaper, covering the great people, places and activities of the area.