The holiday table: Can you dine with decorum on paper plates?

Nov 4, 2014 at 4:40 p.m. ET

The argument over paper versus porcelain is as ancient as the day is long. You're either on one side of the table or other and never shall the two plates meet.

Where convenience and speed are the primary concerns, it is unabashed paper all the way. When dining is approached as an art, only silver spoons and fine china will suffice. In today's exceedingly casual society where formality has fallen by the wayside and time is considered a commodity, the choice is carefully calculated based on a series of variables ranging from how many guests will be attending, to the personalities of said guests, and even the suggested attire. After all, no one in their right mind would dare don a gown to dine on Chinet.

Fancy clothes warrant fancy dining implements, especially at holiday time. So ditch the paper plates and dine with decorum by utilizing the real deal whenever possible. Your holiday table will not only look smashing, the food is guaranteed to taste more delectable too.

Porcelain plates help set the tone

While Uncle Larry may want to wear his fat pants to the Thanksgiving feast, swapping paper plates for porcelain will encourage him to dress for the occasion. Along with paper plates, toss the paper napkins and break out the cloth to truly bring the holiday table to a higher dimension.

Food tastes better on real china

Savories and sweets soaked deep into paper plates somehow leave taste buds wanting more. Proper plates allow foods to stay intact throughout the meal. And let's not forget the balancing act that must occur to keep food on the plate once warping sets in. A perfectly round porcelain plate can handle the most weighty or greasy foods with the greatest of ease.

Cutting food is considerably easier

Utilizing both the fork and knife a la Continental Style is considerably easier on porcelain plates. With paper plates come the accompaniment of plastic utensils making cutting much more of a challenge, especially with difficult-to-eat foods.

Save a tree, spare the environment

Similar to sending out an electronic holiday invitation in favor of a paper one, making a conscious choice to serve the holiday meal on porcelain plates rather than paper is the ultimate gift to the environment.

When paper plates are perfectly acceptable

Holiday time is an opportunity to socialize and bond with family and friends. When worry and stress about table decor takes precedence over the warmth and spirit of the holidays, something is terribly amiss. If you decide to go paper, select a brand that is presentable and sturdy. Let your heart dictate your ultimate decision and make it your mission to fully enjoy the festivities at hand.

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