I host Christmas dinner every year for both my family and Brad's family. The first year I hosted, I went to WalMart and purchased two boxes of simple white dishes. I have never owned a complete set of china; I never even registered for china when Brad and I got married because I didn't really see the need for it.
There have been times when I've wished that I did have a nice set of china that I could eventually pass down to Lily, but for the most part I find china impractical, especially how most people use it. Which is usually never.
These white stoneware dishes, on the other hand, see much use in our family. They are used more often than just at Christmas. And it's nice to have plates that match the collections of fabric napkins I've accumulated over the years. No worrying about pattern clashing when you have white dishes.
I think I paid between $20 - $30 per box for the dishes back when I purchased them. That's so economical! And now I pick white pieces up from thrift shops, secondhand stores, and yard sales. I also occasionally buy new pieces, especially from stores like Ross which always carries such nice dishes.
Another really nice thing about white is that I can also use other patterned or colored bowls or platters along with them. I do have a lot of different colored/patterned serving dishes/bowls/platters (like books, I do have a tendency to collect entertaining pieces like bowls and platters; one of my guilty pleasures)so it's nice to be able to throw something colored in with the white every now and then.
This is a white, pedestal bowl, turned upside down with a colored stoneware bowl on top.
You can also use these pedestal bowls and make a makeshift cake stand like I did with these white plates...
I keep my most-used white dishes (as well as quite a few transparent glass dishes/mugs) in my pantry closet right in my dining area so that they're in close reach. I used to keep them all in Rubbermaid boxes in the basement, but I found that I only used them once a year because it was such a pain to lug the bins up from the basement. I still do have one bin in the basement that has the white dishes that I don't use very often, as I don't need them taking up valuable pantry real estate!
So maybe you'd like to have a nicer set of dishes, dedicated for special meals, holidays or entertaining. It's okay to pick up a set of white dishes from a discount store; in fact, in my opinion it's better than china! And you never know when you'll find a set at the thrift store. And even if it's not a complete set, it's a white set, and you can mix-and-match as you hunt and find more. That's another great thing about white dishes, even if the pattern is different, it's not noticeable because it's white. And I actually find a mixed and matched set charming!
Have a blessed day!