Are You Squirrelling Away China and Crystal?

Modern couples typically do not order china and crystal for their wedding registries, or at least not like the old days. In fact, couples are marrying at older ages now and prefer online registries at places like Amazon, Home Depot or Honeyfund (for honeymoon trips). Many Millennials are choosing experiences, not seldom-used items that merely take up valuable space. We remember visiting older relatives and seeing the china and crystal in museum-like china cabinets. Then, it was passed down. Ask anyone. They will tell you about that box of china they have in the attic or garage or some inaccessible place in the kitchen. So? What should we do with it? There are many different opinions on the matter.

Overall, the trend appears to be to either use it or ditch it. People tend to use everyday dishes instead of expensive tableware. After all, it’s not often we throw fancy dinner parties. But, it turns out that china ( especially bone china) is very durable. Depending on whether it has metallic trim or not, it can go into the dishwasher and microwave. Gone are the days when you carefully washed your china by hand. You can use them for your everyday dishes. Break a dish? No problem. There are online registries where you can find replacement pieces. Some couples like to have eclectic collections of all kinds of colors, patterns and materials of dinnerware. It makes their table fun and colorful. If something breaks, they go to a resale store and buy some other appealing piece and add it to the mix. They don’t worry about it.

Many people have kitchens that are lacking in cabinet space. They do not like clutter and will jettison anything that doesn’t serve a function. Boxes of old china and crystal have no meaning for them. They view possessing it as a burden and not something of great value. They sell it or give it away with no regrets. But, there are also those that fondly remember their grandmother’s china cabinet and sitting around the Thanksgiving table with the best dinnerware and crystal taking center stage. It is a family tradition that must be passed on. They have to do their part as the current caretaker of the family heirlooms. It is their obligation. Otherwise, it could cause hurt feelings.

The times are changing and so are attitudes about what is valuable and what should occupy space within your home. Young people care more about experiences and less about “things.” They want to revere their elders, but are less likely to place value on items passed down unless it is of personal, historic or monetary value. They would rather keep a special piece of jewelry, a watch, a shirt, or old pictures that hold more personal meaning. Advice from experts says that you can consult with other family members who want to preserve the family china and crystal and give it to them if you don’t have the space to store it. If no other family members care about what happens to the keepsakes, then feel free to sell them, donate them or use them. Having them sit in boxes in your home does no one any good.