Manner Monday®: Napkin Rings

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Do you recall, a time not so long ago, when families ate dinner around the dinner table?  I know, I know, it’s hard to imagine in this fast-paced, fast-food focused world we currently live in.  And when families sat down to dinner, quite often they used the ‘real’ stuff – china and cloth napkins??? I say this in jest – but also realizing that many kids today aren’t sitting down to dinner with their family.  Dinner is eaten on the fly from one activity to the next, and it’s usually picked up at the nearest drive through.  Hey, I get it!  I’m there with you!  We’re busy.  And then when we do actually get our family gathered for dinner – don’t get me started about technology at the table!!!

I digress… when we do actually get our family gathered for dinner, we’re not thinking about setting the stage – we’re just happy everyone is in the same place at the same time!  And the thought of getting out the china and cloth napkins – really?  One more thing to clean – no thank you!

When in reality, using the good stuff makes everyone at the table feel special.  My good friend, Suzanne, and I joke that food somehow just tastes better when eaten off ‘real’ plates.  More than likely you have some china in your house that’s not being used?  Get it out and dust it off.  You can look at it as a way to save money, and the environment, by not buying paper (disposable) plates!!!  And not to mention it’s a great opportunity for your kids to help clean up after the meal.  Great conversations happen when you’re in the kitchen together.

So, you’re still following me…  Thanks, I’m getting there! Now let’s take it one step further and dig out some cloth napkins.  We’re on a roll; think of how many paper towels you may save.

And here’s the good news – you don’t have to wash your napkins after every use.  Cue the moans and groans of; ‘gross’, ‘disgusting’, ‘I don’t want my brothers disgusting napkin’.  Believe it or not, that’s how Napkin Rings evolved!  They were originally used to identify the napkins of each family member between weekly washdays!  Did I hear a ‘hallelujah’ from some of you?  You don’t have to wash them after every use (unless they worked overtime during a shift).

The European bourgeoisie invented the napkin ring concept and they first started appearing in France in the early 1800’s.  The trend took off like wildfire and spread to many more countries including the western world.  In the 19th century, most napkin rings were made of silver, but some were also made of bone, wood, embroidery, porcelain, and glass. As the middle class grew to show wealth in household accessories, engraved napkin rings became popular gifts for weddings and christenings.  Once the paper napkin was invented, use of cloth napkins and the napkin rings declined significantly.  Today, napkin rings are viewed more as jewelry for the table setting, an added special detail, or the finishing touch.

I’ve enjoyed collecting unique napkin rings, some of which have been handed down through the family.   I even found an antique one on eBay engraved with my sons name on it! Score!  On a rainy day, you could have craft time and let the kids make their own creations.  It provides another opportunity to give them ownership in the process and to enjoy their time together around the table.

Do you set the stage for family dinner and use the real stuff?  If so, what’s you take on using cloth napkins more than once?  I’d love to hear from you in the comment section below.

Here are some pictures of our dinner table and napkin rings:

I found Billy’s napkin ring on eBay.  It was already personalized!!!

This placemat has been a great tool in teaching him how to set the table!!!
You can order customized placemats for your kiddos at our Etsy shop:

Special Announcements:

Cupcakes and Coffee
Will you help spread the word? … this week we have scheduled two ‘Cupcakes and Coffee’ informational meetings.  Please share with your friends that these meetings are not mandatory for new parents, but serve as an opportunity for parents to gather information about the program in addition to the information included on our website.  If they have any questions, they are more than welcome to call or email.  I would love to visit with them.

And we would love to have you join us as well is you’re available!

  • Tuesday, April 15, 6:30-7:30pm, at The Nigh University Center (Campus of UCO), 2nd Street and Garland Godfrey, Edmond
  • Thursday, April 17, 6:30-7:30pm, at the Central Oklahoma Home Builders Association (COHBA) Event Center, 420 East Britton Road, Oklahoma City

Early Bird Registration for 5-8th Grade Programs
The highest compliment you can give us is a referral to your friends and coworkers. Please share our registration and contact information with any families you think might be interested in participating in our program.

Each year we build on the previous year as we add to the curriculum.  We have many students who continue with us each season, from our Level 5 (5th grade) program through our Passport (High School) Program.  Our goal with the continuous exposure, and gentle reminders, of the courtesies we teach over consecutive years – is to assist you in raising well-mannered young adults.

  • Continued Exposure:  Just as continued exposure to athletics and school homework reaps rewards; continued exposure to the social skills taught in our program will provide lifelong lessons that will benefit your child throughout the classroom and into the boardroom.
  • Benefits and Rewards:  One of the biggest rewards of our students returning year after year, is the virtual ‘light bulb’ that seems to turn on and stay on; the students are really starting to get it and they are very proud of themselves.  Their confidence is building.  We’ve highlighted some of our graduating seniors on my blog

5-8th Grade Levels:  We encourage you to register early to take advantage of the ‘early bird’ discount.  Regular tuition for the 2014-2015 season will be $425.

9-12th Grade Levels:  Registration is open and will continue with the Early Bird discount into the fall.  Register early to avoid the waiting list.

As always, thanks for reading!
– Carey Sue


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