I'll start right away by stating I tend to be a little snobby about dollar stores (in general). I try to never go to Dollar General if I can help it but I know there is value to be found there. I just generally (pun intended) find them a little dank and depressing.
At least the one in Hutto was.
Also to be clear - I do not judge people that shop at dollar stores. Just not for me. The most I would usually do is Five Below. It probably helps that those are so much more well lit.
Also not all dollar stores are created equal, even under the same brand.
However, during the holiday season, Dollar Tree has been a go to place for me for years for gift wrapping supplies and inexpensive containers for my baked goods Christmas gifts. Which is how I stumbled upon this lovely dinner plate a couple of years ago.
I always loved the idea of having different sets of dishes for holidays and special occasions but I could never bring myself to spend the money. Even my everyday dishes were always whatever I could find as inexpensively as possible.
But then Rob and I moved in together and I inherited a lovely set of Christmas dishes. They may not have been what I would have chosen for myself, but they are nice and it is a complete set. And I was very excited to set my first Christmas table with those dishes.
Especially because I didn't have to spend any money to do it.
So when I found the above plates for $1 each, how could I resist? And I do still really like them and I enjoy being able to set the table for fall and Thanksgiving with some thematic dinnerware.
But I didn't keep checking for new plates at Dollar Tree to see what great new thing they had. Because I was still a bit of a snob about it.
I fear this post is putting me in a bad light already.
Here's the thing, growing up poor, I went to a lot of dollar stores. I remember being laughed at in 7th grade because a girl complimented my jeans and asked where I got them - and then laughed when I said the dollar store.
I don't think she was really complimenting me either.
So I guess it's sort of been a mental thing for me - I'm not poor anymore so I don't *need* to shop there.
I have similar thoughts about WalMart.
It doesn't mean those places are bad or don't have value and I am well aware that my snobbery means I sometimes (probably frequently) pay more than I should for certain things. It's just, when I walk in, I'm reminded of less happier times.
So maybe snob isn't the right word for me. Maybe it's more like they give me a mild form of PTSD.
Kind of like how I will probably never be able to go to a ComiCon of any type again.
Anyway, I love those fall plates and I look forward to setting my table with them every September.
I also joined a Facebook group a while back called Beautiful Table Settings (thanks Misty) and it is exactly what it sounds like. Just people posting their beautiful and often elaborate table settings. Many of the people on the page have large collections of dishes, stemware, flatware, and linens. I've seen people post photos of rooms dedicated to the storage of all their treasures. And while that feels a bit excessive to me, I can't say for certain I wouldn't do the same given an unlimited budget and space.
Like we are talking real china here. Expensive stuff. But every now and then someone will post a table with dishes they bought at the Dollar Tree. And I'll think that's nice, heart the post, and move on.
But one day, someone posted these plates and if you know of my love of starfish and all things beachy, you know I had to have them!
Here's the thing though - my DT didn't have 8 plates, they only had 5. So I went to every DT I could find (I have at least 4 within 10 minutes of my house probably) and I could not find 3 more anywhere. I decided to check to see if I could order them online - which I could!
But when you order from DT online, you have to buy a box. Which in this case meant 15 plates. So now I have 20 of this when I only need 8 so if anyone wants 12, I can sell 'em to ya cheap!
Also these are ceramic plates. They have weight to them. When I first saw them on the Facebook post I assumed they were plastic - because they were from the DT (completely ignoring the fact that I had the ceramic fall plates).
I've recently started frequenting my local Dollar Tree to stock up our concession cart. I like to keep a supply of movie theatre candies on hand for family movie nights (not everyone likes popcorn as much as I do). And even at $1.25 a box, it is still a good deal.
Well one time when I was restocking this summer, I saw the happiest plates and had to have them. These are my new every day plates and although I don't usually like things with sayings on them, I make an exception for these:
They make me smile every time I see them. I even rearranged our upper cabinets for these. Last year one of the upper cabinet doors fell off and has yet to find it's way back up which has really bothered me (but not enough for me to do anything about it). And it just had our glassware exposed and it's fine but now I have these dishes in that space and it is a much prettier gaping hole now.
I just love them. And when I got them I was still struggling with my unemployment induced depression (it's still there but it's lessened) and these really cheered me up for $30.
Whoever says money can't buy happiness doesn't know where to shop.
Also I must have been one of the first to see them because I was able to get the complete set. There's also matching glassware but I don't need those.
This story would have a different ending if they were hobnail glasses though.
I offered up our plain mint green plates to the boys and Zach took them making storage a non issue.
Then on a recent restocking I saw these gorgeous new fall plates and while I had no intention of replacing my perfectly lovely existing plates, I fell in love with them. The colors go so well with my dining room, how could I?
But the truth is, I did pass them up at first. They didn't have 8 and I didn't want another starfish plate debacle so I walked. Then a DT ad for these plates showed up in my Facebook feed and I showed them to Rob and he said obviously we need those. So I went on a quest to the 4 different area DT stores near me and I couldn't find them.
I was disappointed but ultimately ok because (a) it's just plates and (b) I really like the ones I had. Also (c) not trying to spend money.
But also while on the hunt I started noticing all the Halloween decor and Dollar Tree is really stepping it up this year. Yes it is cheap, but I found some great things to add to my decor collection and I barely spent any money.
But you'll have to wait for October for that stuff.
And it seemed like every time I came home Rob would say why didn't you get more of that so I would head back out to find more and one time I found the plates! With matching bowls! And there were 8 of them!
If they come out with some plates for Halloween, I'm in trouble.
Has anyone else noticed that the Christmas stuff hasn't come out as early this year? Like it feels like stores have finally realized fall and Halloween are worth decorating for and should have their moment. It's refreshing!
I know it is still a bit early for fall talk for most people. I also know people that are already putting up Halloween. You do you...even if it means putting up your Christmas before Thanksgiving.
If the pandemic taught me anything it's let people do what makes them happy - as long as it isn't harmful to anyone else. And decorating early for a favorite holiday isn't hurting anyone.
Neither is setting a pretty table.