I am addicted to paper cocktail napkins.
On most weekends you can find me trying to score a fix. My favorite dealers? Home Goods, TJ Maxx, Tuesday Morning, Marshall and let’s not forget the clearance baskets of my favorite kitchen supply and gourmet grocery stores (thank you Balduccis). My obsession combines two experiences that keep me Jonesing for more — the thrill of the bargain and the high of finding the unique. Just when I think I can “Just Say No” I find coordinating lunch and dinner napkins. It’s like a speedball to my heart.
What is it about cocktail napkins? Small, inexpensive, beautiful pieces of disposable art that add a jolt of color to your classic white plates or a bit of whimsy to your party — gold napkins with jockey silks, anyone?
I’m not alone in my addiction. I had barely uttered the words “cocktail napkin” when my friend A.M.* replied with conviction:
“When you find a good cocktail napkin you buy it! You never know when your going to need some and be out. Then, God forbid, you have to buy something boring from a party supply store.”
Truer words have never been spoken. With my stockpile thought, I won’t be turning to the local Party Depot anytime soon.
When I’m down or having a particularly “the world is ugly and rude” day I pull out my collection. I sit on the floor and surround myself with the brightly colored napkins in their shiny plastic wrappers. I daydream about elegant parties filled with clever friends drinking sweaty cocktails in desperate need of a chic cocktail napkin. A few minutes of ecstasy then I come down from the high and put away the little pieces of art until I need the next fix.
That was until another friend, S.S.*, got me thinking about using the napkins everyday. Why not, she suggested, bring them to your job to brighten up your desk. Such a clever girl. I love a little glimpse of bright floral under my Diet Coke.
Suddenly my addicted shifted from collecting to finding new occasions to use the napkins. Sophisticated coral pagoda napkins are tucked away in my bedside table to use for the nightly glass of water or morning cup of tea.
Stone coasters, that never really worked, are replaced in my T.V. den with pink and cream print napkins (a very thoughtful hostess gift from A.M.).
A stack of cream napkins embossed with pineapples, the traditional symbol of hospitality, serve the needs of guests in the extra bedroom.
Sofa table drawers are filled with napkins purchased specifically for the living room — gold napkins with lush green ferns, colorful butterflies and a classic monogram.
Suddenly, I’m surrounded by cocktail napkins. They are in every room of my home and tucked into my office desk drawers. I’m no longer hoarding them waiting for a special occasion: I’m using them to make every occasion special.
*Names have been hidden to protect the stylish obsessed.