Saturday, May 24, 2008

My napkin fetish

$1 at a neighbor's yard sale: 10 restaurant glasses for picnics, coral beads, and two packs of pretty paper napkins.

I was gloating over the 10-cent "facial towelettes" with their vintage scalloped edges...when a terrifying thought hit me.

Are paper napkins the gift equivalent of fruit cake? Do they sit in a drawer for years, unopened? And if so, should I stop tucking them in gift baskets and casseroles? I always thought it was a nice touch.

Someone's going to love my estate sale when I die.

40 comments:

Anonymous said...

The napkins are always so pretty, but I always find that they are stiff and therefore I don't like to use them. But the garage sale price is well worth it for the "pretty-ness factor" I think.
Gorgeous necklace!!
Mrs. L.

BeachNerd said...

I LOVE pretty napkins. I put the long ones out in my guest bathroom. I put nice napkins out for special occasions. Its fun to use pretty napkins, for all kinds of holidays and even silly anniversaries. Functional things that are pretty are my favorite gifts.

BeachNerd said...

I LOVE pretty napkins. I put the long ones out in my guest bathroom. I put nice napkins out for special occasions. Its fun to use pretty napkins, for all kinds of holidays and even silly anniversaries. Functional things that are pretty are my favorite gifts.

Jane said...

I have to admit, I have cut back buying new decorative paper napkins. However, I love getting them as gifts.(ANd, if I ever found them at a garage sale/thrift - I would snap them up!) When I was a kid my mom used to occasionally tuck a fancy paper napkin into my lunch box and I *loved* that!

hollyberry2 said...

I love pretty napkins too! I you are afraid that others might not like them, just you them yourself when you have guests over. I think they help make a pretty table.

Anonymous said...

For people who might 'save them for special' I'd suggest opening the packet and re-tying them together with a pretty ribbon. Then they're more likely to be used. I don't particularly like to use them for hands either, but I love to put them under a cup of tea or plate of cookies, so there are many ways for them to be useful and pretty. I'd say keep tucking them into your lovely gift baskets!
Debbie

Anonymous said...

My bil collects paper napkins. His little girl actually started saving them and he took it over when she got tired of it. He has 3 or 4 huge albums of napkins and I have to say, I really enjoy looking through them and can't keep myself from hanging on to pretty ones for him. He even saves the plain white ones from fast food restaurants. There is a variety there which I would never have noticed! I guess somebody's got to keep up with these things.

In answer to your question, I would use them and be very happy to see them in a basket.

MLS

Shannon@Idylwild said...

I love pretty paper napkins. I used to have little stashes left over from weddings, showers, birthdays, etc and they just sat in the cabinet forever - too pretty to tosh, but not enough of them to use for another party. I finally started pulling them out for everything. The kids love them for their lunch (they even fill in for plates if we're having sandwiches and chips. They really brighten our day:)

Anonymous said...

Pretty napkins are a luxury around this house!! I would love to receive a package in a gift basket!

Kristina

Danette said...

We use cloth napkins ALL the time. We get them at Goodwill and anywhere we can. Some match and some don't (I like the diner style set up),but people who come over love them and say they are going to start using themselves.

I only buy them if they are a bargain. Thrift shops, flea markets, garage sales.

pinkexplosion said...

I actually include paper napkins when I am taking a meal to someone as well.

A friend taught me once that you send napkins, plastic silverware, cups, drinks in a container they can re-use. The person you are usually taking a meal to is lacking time due to illness a new baby, or another issue the last thing I want to burden them with is doing dishes.

I have gotten more thank yous since I started doing this and I have heard from several people that they have carried on the tradition with others

Kerri said...

Here is my idea for using paper napkins:

http://psalmone.blogspot.com/2008/05/works-for-me-wednesday-purse-tissues.html

Lindenhaus said...

I love pretty napkins too, and I always pick up unopened packages at garage sales. I really do use them for us at our ordinary meal times. They make many of my budget meals special! It's fun to have a stash for birthdays, holidays and everyday.

Ewokgirl said...

Fruitcakes are gross and useless. Napkins are pretty and helpful. I think they're a very nice touch to add to a gift of food.

Personally, I don't understand the mentality of saving nice things for a special occasion. But then, I'm the woman who uses her parents' wedding china as everyday dishes and puts them in the dishwasher.

Gena said...

I say, keep on giving them! I love pretty napkins and never pass them up when I find them on clearance someplace or at a yard sale. Sometimes they aren't as soft, but I still put them out and use them. My girls like to use them for the inside "picnics", too.

Sarah said...

I would love to recieve pretty napkins with a gift! They make everything seem a bit more special! A few things we use them for around here are: wrapping baked goods to deliver to friends and neighbors, scrapbooking, and homemade window "valances". Great find!

Stephanie's Mommy Brain said...

I love napkins. After my 3rd child was born a friend brought us a meal - complete with pretty paper plates, napkins and cups. I thought that was a fantastic idea! Not only did I not have to cook - I didn't have to wash dishes. Yea for me!

Sarah M. said...

I love pretty napkins :) I say keep it up!

-Sarah

Tubo Family said...

Not at all like fruitcake! Maybe if people pay full price then they hoard & use cheapies instead, but coming with a meal I know I would use & enjoy them (even though we use cloth day to day). I like Debbie's idea of opening & retying to encourage use.

Anonymous said...

If you can get them for 10 cents, keep giving them! Even if they never use them, they will probably appreciate the image of your pretty set up. I also second the idea to send paper napkins and plates along to someoene who doesn't have time to do dishes! :)

gracemercyandpeace said...

um, from one who LOOOOOVES fruitcake...

Keep tucking in the napkins! Putting them out with cookies or popcorn is like putting a bow on a package.

I love to go through my mom's china keep and visit the leftover napkins of many different designs and decades. We keep saying we need to have a raggamuffin tea party and use every last one of them, whether they coordinate or not. But some of them are over 40 years old!

deb meyers

Mod Girl said...

I use them! I pack them in picnics, use them around our own dinner table from time to time, save them for times with guests, and carry them along when I'm delivering refreshments.

Anonymous said...

Personally I do not use paper napkins in MY house. However I do think giving them as part of a gift to a new mother or someone who has been ill is great. They are almost always very pretty. I am sure if they can be brought for a little cash and added to a gift basket to make it more special so much the better.
I use cloth napkins here at home. I send cloth napkins to school with my grandsons. I teach the day care children to use cloth napkins.
I liked Martha Stewart's idea of 'lapkins' and I almost always buy pretty cloth dish towels to use as napkins. I love the size, love that they wash so well, and that I can always get them for a reasonable sum of money too. Roxie

Daughter of the King said...

oh no...I love pretty napkins too and give them as gifts...just that special touch even to use as a coaster.
Deby

Christie@tisbutaseason said...

I agree. Keep finding/buying those little treasures. They help make meals/sack lunches/gift baskets a little less ordinary.

I also agree that they aren't very absorbent, but they sure do look nice and will do the trick in a pinch.

My daughter loves the Valentine napkins I tucked in her lunch box during the school year. I think I'll spend some time trying to find others for the upcoming lunch box season! :-)

Darla said...

Actually the way YOU have shown to use them, I am hankerin for pretty paper napkins. I'm keeping my eye out at garage sales, etc.

LOL on the estate sale comment.

SK and Family said...

LOL!

I like pretty napkins. But, I like fruitcake, too...

;)
Kat

Mama Squirrel said...

My name is Mama Squirrel, I am frugal, and I admit that I use paper napkins at everyday meals. We have tried washing cloth napkins, but found it difficult getting everyone to figure out when to put them in the wash--how many small grungy blobs are too many?

I don't mind getting pretty paper napkins at all--and I use them. I'm too cheap to buy more than supermarket white ones or dollar-store coloured ones (red for Christmas and Canada Day, pink for a tea party etc.--so original, no?)--so when someone gives me a pack of fancy ones, I love having them to dress things up more than usual.

In fact, your post reminded me of my mom, who recently passed away--until her health no longer allowed her to do her own gift shopping, she often included a pack of napkins with a gift. Something I hadn't really thought about until now--something small, but something I will miss.

The Nester said...

your estate sale?

I was ready to travel hours to come to your yard sale.

I wonder if I can wait you out for the estate sale.

Anonymous said...

Oh, no-they are not in the fruitcake category. I stockpile pretty napkins, too! AND I love to actually use them. Julie

Janette said...

What estate sale? Your children will pick up your sense of hospitality and everything will be used- in good time:>)
I used to stockpile papernapkins and put a different one in the lunch sack every day for my dh and kiddos. I guess they discussed who was loved best by looking at the napkin of the day -lol- in a kidding way of course.

Lyn said...

I think your paper napkins are just lovely. I also use cloth, but when I'm not feeling up to par we turn to disposables more.

I would agree that they add a nice touch, especially for anyone who is ill, had a baby, moving, etc. In those situations, paper napkins would be greatly appreciated I am sure.

Regina said...

Pretty paper napkins are not something I think to buy for myself, so I love it when someone gives them to me! I love the idea of leaving them in the guest bathroom when having a party, I've seen that before and appreciated not having to use a soggy hand-towel :)

Anonymous said...

I love receiving paper napkins as gifts! Especially because I feel guilty spending money on them myself. I use them in my guest bathroom as "guest towels" for hand washing. I think it is a nicer touch then guests using the cloth towel. I also love beverige napkins for entertaining!

Anonymous said...

they are perfect for lining a basket because they are so stiff, or with a drink they are good.

Sandy said...

You and me both girl! I have so many paper napkins (sigh) tucked away in drawers and cupboards. I do use them though, but I wonder the same thing? Do others? :)))

Amanda said...

I love pretty paper napkins! I buy them at estate sales, end-of-season clearance sales, and anywhere else I could find them at a bargain price. I would love the touch of having a package tucked inside a gift basket, and think that's an idea I'll be adding to my hospitality repertoire. Thank you for sharing!

Sheila said...

Keep the paper napkins! We all love them.

So don't worry.

But buy pretty cloth ones, too, at garage sales. You can use them just as well!

I don't use paper at home except for at parties, but I think tucking them in gift baskets is a great idea.

Visit To Love, Honor and Vacuum today!

Kelly said...

I use the long ones for guest bathrooms and I love to use pretty paper napkins . some days just call for them.

AmyG said...

I love getting pretty napkins as gifts...I would never buy then except at a rummage sale. I love to use them, to gift them and to craft with them...

Three cheers fro pretty paper (and Cloth!!) napkins!