Once a year I pull out my “finer things” for the festivities that lie ahead. From the linens and flatware that adorn the table, to the menus I plan and the food I cook, to the clothing I wear and the care I take to look my best, I put in the extra time and effort to enjoy my finer things and do unique things for my family and me. And by “finer” I don’t necessarily mean “expensive.” I mean special. As the holidays came to end and I was putting everything away, it hit me that, aside from the Christmas decorations, I could continue to use and enjoy my special things and keep some of the pleasurable acts in place.
Over the last few days, I have done exactly that, and my middle school-aged daughter has told me that these changes make her feel special. One of her friends came over to visit recently and said, “Your house smells like roses and fanciness.” I think that’s one of the best compliments I’ve ever received. Some small changes have brought us so many distinct moments of pleasure that I wanted to share my list of ways to enjoy your finer things. Here’s to making 2014 a little more special and interesting than 2013!
- Use a teacup and saucer for coffee. Men might find this a little harder, but ladies, I feel more elegant using my vintage teacup and saucer set for my morning coffee. This is one of the “finer” things that is not expensive, as I bought the set at a garage sale years ago for $5 from a lady who either didn’t realize what she had or didn’t care. Another perk (no pun intended) is that vintage teacups are smaller, so two cups of coffee is really just two cups, not four if you’re using a Texas-sized mug.
- Use cloth napkins and your best silverware every day. I don’t think I will ever use paper napkins again. Meals feel more special now and the extra effort to launder is nothing compared to the feel of a nice cloth napkin in your lap and the environment-friendly act. Using my good silverware has been easy (dishwasher safe) and has elevated every single meal.
- Use serving platters. On weeknights I would serve dinner directly from the stove, oven, or grill onto the plates. I’m now taking the time to put everything on platters or in serving bowls and lay the food out on the table. This simple act has resulted in more conversation about the food we’re eating and each person has more control over the amount of food they serve themselves.
- Use the nicest parts of your home. Many American homes have a beautiful formal living/dining room that goes unused 90% of the year. Guilty. All the rooms in my home are used daily except that one, and it’s the largest room in the house. There should be a fine for that. I’m now using the formal dining room for weekend meals, and the adjacent formal living room for reading. I’m writing this blog from there right now, without the distraction of the TV in the family room.
- Use candles and arrange flowers. I have a drawer-full of candles that have never been lit, and every time I go grocery shopping I longingly eye the flower arrangements in the floral department but continue to make my way to the next aisle without stopping to smell and buy the roses. While this isn’t something I can or want to do every day, I am going to start pulling out the candles more often and buying flowers to mark special occasions.
- Use the pretty soap. With more time on my hands over the holiday, I was able to indulge in longer baths and showers and use the pretty soaps, salts, and scrubs that dear friends have given me over the last year or so and that I was saving and displaying rather than using. It’s been a true pleasure to use these gifts, something I’m sure my friends will love to hear when they read this.
- Eat dark chocolate. Every day. Just because.
This was a fun post to write to start off the year, so I hope you’ll share your ideas for how to make 2014 more special than last year. I’ve got a finished painting to share, another one close to completion, some great insights from an art book I’m reading, the second professional seminar in the UT Human Dimensions of Organizations Smarter Thinking series coming up, lots of exciting things happening at work, and much more to share with you over the coming weeks. Thank you so much for reading my blog, and I wish all my readers a happy and prosperous 2014!