05/13/2014 05:01 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Breaking Tradition Can Be the Best Tradition

Is tradition for all Americans synonymous with bulk, or is that only in my house?

I consider myself a pretty sentimental woman, who didn't fall far from the tree. I've often written about special things from my childhood safeguarded by my mother long ago that my daughters are now lucky enough to enjoy, like my first ever Barbie Dream House. But several years into parenting myself, I've already accumulated bins of goodies... I mean crap... I mean goodies... Geez, I don't even know what it is anymore.

There is a fine line between holding onto items for sentimental reason and because you deserve a spot on the season premiere of Hoarders. Similarly, between real tradition and yet another excuse for excess. Here's an example.

Over a decade ago, my husband and I had a very traditional wedding. We stated our vows in a magnificent Roman Catholic church before an enormous group of family and friends. I walked down the aisle to Pachelbel's Canon, someone special read from Corinthians 13:4 "love is patient, love is kind" and after he kissed the bride, everyone celebrated at a reception fit for a bridal magazine (IMHO).

Meanwhile, the UPS delivery man was hitting our small apartment on a daily basis. Yet another "tradition" we followed was to register for formal dining china, service for 12. "Lenox Hannah Platinum" it was called. Dainty, beautiful, and a decade later still in it's original packaging in my mother's basement.

There are several downsides to living on the opposite coast as most of family. We miss way more big events than we'd like, it is impossible to keep everyone happy at the holidays and unless you plan, like, 10 years ahead, you'll never empty all your crap out of your parents house before you leave. My husband and I planned on spending two years in San Diego, not over a decade in Los Angeles.

Fast forward to last month when my frustrated family finally hired a moving company to bring some cumbersome furniture, my wedding china and a significant amount of crap from Connecticut to Los Angeles. (Let's just say that if Kodak would refund me for all the photos I've developed of people I no longer recognize, I'd have gone to college for free.)

I freaked. I don't have a curio cabinet. I don't have an attic. I don't have a basement. I don't even have a freaking garage. What the hell was I going to do with my wedding china?



My daughters thought the china was the prettiest, "fanciest" thing they had ever seen, and BEGGED me to let them eat on it. So, I did what any self-proclaimed fun mother would do. We used paper towel rolls, glitter spray paint and fairy stickers to invite my sister and niece to a very fancy party.

We ate chicken nuggets, pizza, macaroni and cheese (and some veggies) on this:


The girls wore makeup and my sister and I wore Louboutins (obviously). We made toasts with sparkling lemonade under twinkling lights and kept our elbows off the table. And in the end, we broke an old-school "tradition" to create a new tradition of our own. Our first fancy party will certainly not be the last.

So thank you, nearly 11 years later, to everyone who purchased a piece of my beautiful wedding china. This will never be forgotten.


Follow Karri-Leigh's adventures as a television producer, blogger and mom at Dirty Laundry & Dirty Diapers.