Celebrate! It's YOUR day.

On special occasions, who wouldn’t love to hear the words “Celebrate, it’s YOUR day!” For those of us with busy families and hectic schedules, a little recognition tends to be especially cherished. One of our Better Together community members, Janice Cottingham, recently told us about her family’s tradition, using something they call The Celebration Plate to honour one another’s achievements. Whether it’s a birthday, an accomplishment at school, work or sports, or just a little pick-me-up, the Celebration Plate shows up on the scene. This tradition has had a big impact on her family. Here, we share this lovely idea with you, too. Enjoy!

BT: Janice, tell us about your Celebration Plate tradition.

JC: Our family “Celebrate Plate” has been around since the early ‘90’s.  It is a 12” square ceramic plate that I decorated with paint and had fired at one of those strip mall pottery/ceramic studios, and reads “Celebrate!  It’s YOUR day”. I can’t remember exactly where the idea came from, but it wasn’t originally mine.  I may have read or heard about the concept, likely in a family style magazine like Canadian Living or local lifestyle TV show. I decided it would be a great recognition device for our family!  

BT: When do you tend to bring the Plate out?

JC: The Plate comes out mainly at dinner but any meal is fair game, whenever somebody has something to celebrate – birthdays, great effort, good results on an exam/interview, exciting news to share, good behavior, or sometimes for nothing specific at all if somebody could use a boost in any way.  Anybody can nominate somebody to receive the plate.  Somebody can even set the plate for themselves and reveal the reasons at mealtime.  If we have company for dinner, and one of them is celebrating a birthday or other event, then they are surprised with The Plate too.

BT: Tell us more about why you wanted to start the Celebration Plate tradition.

JC: In the early years, the reasons for putting out The Plate were often quite obvious.  Our family was young and busy and we all were quite involved in each other’s everyday activities. It was always a special event to have the Celebration Plate at the table.  Now, with our nest empty, when our children and their partners come to visit, seeing The Plate at the table creates much speculation, curiosity and conversation.

BT: How do your kids feel about the Plate?

JC: I realized how significant The Plate was as a family tradition when my eldest child first moved to her own home. She asked who would get to “take” The Plate.  There was immediate outrage expressed by all that anyone should get to take The Plate.  I told everyone at our table that The Plate belonged squarely with me, and that each of the children would have to create their own plates for their own homes.  It seems The Celebrate Plate tradition is destined to continue with the next generation! Actually, they feel very strongly that every family should have such a plate, and years ago were quite surprised to learn that not everybody does.  The plate has been a central feature of our dinner table, and has been present for most major events in the lives of all who sit around it.  It is clearly now a family treasure.

Thanks Janice! We LOVE the idea of the Celebration Plate. In fact, we want to run to the pottery studio and make one right now! Thanks so much for sharing your story.

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  • I love this idea...a new business opened up in town that lets you paint your own dishes...I'm definitely going to make a Celebrate Plate!!! Great article...thanks :)

    Kia 26 June 2012, at 12:54 pm