We have enjoyed our china in private life and I don't regret having it at all. My philosophy is to only have things that you love and use. We have always used our china and crystal. Even when our children were three and four they ate off of the china during the holidays. The use of crystal goblets followed within a year or two, once their little hands could grasp the cup. Remarkably, we have only lost one crystal goblet over the last 21 years. We have been careful with our china but certainly not perfect. Even careful children are bound to bang the plates with the goblets when they are trying to put things back down. Everything else has survived in excellent condition. I have a feeling that my choice of picking less expensive bone china also proved to be stronger bone china...Ha! The children love it when the china comes out. They love to help set the table and decide which pieces we will use this time.
As the years have gone by, we have wanted to add serving pieces, but we were not willing to purchase from the Alyssa collection. The pieces are too expensive for our budget, even on eBay. So we have added neutral white pieces to the table, such as the butter dish and the bread bowl (with the brand new snowman towel). The candle sticks are a family heirloom that were my great grandmother's. I think mixing the old and the new, the formal and the casual together creates a more warm and comfortable atmosphere.
We have not pulled out so much china some years. The glamour and volume of china on the table has depended on our level of crisis in the family. Some holiday meals only had enough margin for teacups, saucers and dessert plates. Apparently, we are doing well this year, because we pulled out everything from the cupboards but the dinner and dessert plates.
A final note to make you chuckle ~ My son Dean has always had strong feelings about decorating the table. He loves it and wants everything just so-so. In another lifetime, he could have been a butler. I am surprised he doesn't make us measure the distance between plates. We only have enough matching cloth napkins in light pink. He absolutely hates the napkins, even though he picked them out years ago. He thinks they look to much like spring and can't be on a fall/winter table. So we put them on the chairs this year so as not to offend his sensibilities. LOL!
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend.