A recent tradition my family has adopted is gathering in a home at noon on the second Sunday of the month to have a family dinner. One of my lovely brothers suggested we all get together on a regular basis and family dinners have been going strong for over three years. The premise is to keep in contact with each other on a regular basis. Each Sunday is hosted by a different member of the family. My parents are first in the rotation and then it follows birth order with the exception of our youngest sibling, who currently does not have her own household. It is lucky that we all live within easy driving distance of each other. I have to drive the furthest (1.5 hours); everyone else lives within five minutes of each other.
I was the one to suggest having different people host for my own selfish reasons: I did not want to be driving each and every time especially as I had to travel the furthest. Our family has grown in during these years with my oldest niece (six) and youngest niece (one) celebrating their birthdays in the same month. The current total is ten adults and seven children. That means when I host my family, I have to have plates for seventeen people, both small and large.
Early on I realized my dish number was inadequate. I loved my Corelle pattern but it had been discontinued, making it difficult to add to the number of plates. I started my search on Replacements, Ltd but they were quite expensive. I then searched eBay for my pattern and found that it was in high demand. I refused to pay over $10 for a dinner plate.
What could I do to supply my hungry family with a plate from which to eat? Well, I had a china pattern I picked up at an antique store. It was such a good deal, I could not ignore it. For a four-place setting, a serving platter and a serving dish, I paid $5. However, I bought it in college, used it a few times and kept moving it from place to place. The name of the china manufacturer, a domestic one, and the pattern name were printed on the back of the pieces. I did a search on eBay and waalah! My pattern was available on eBay at more reasonable prices than Corelle.
I will confess I went a bit auction crazy and have ended up with nearly 200 pieces, but how could I ignore an auction that ended costing me $2 per dinner plate including shipping? I estimate I have paid about $6 per setting and have enough pieces not only to serve my family, but enough for the future increase in numbers (or breakage). I would still like two more serving pieces, one of which is rare enough I refuse to pay the asking price, but eBay has been good to me and my quest to acquire china.
As you can see, my choice to buy china rather than Corelle was based on cost per item but also, I like serving my guests on really lovely plates. Now that I have found additional Corelle dinner plates at my thrift shop for $0.50, I have enough to serve my family regardless of pattern type, but prefer to continue to use china.