A Christening Gift That Lasts a Lifetime
A silver napkin ring is still one of the most popular and lasting gifts given to babies at their Christening. This may seem an odd choice since, sadly, fewer and fewer families eat together on a daily basis around the dinner table and the majority of those that do will use a paper serviette in preference to a linen napkin. But the tradition of napkin rings as christening gifts endures.
Before the 19th Century, napkins were tied with a strip of colored ribbon or named tape. This was a purely practical response to domestic life at the time. Since washday took place only once a week, linen napkins were only washed once a week, so each individual napkin had its own unique tie to identify its owner. The idea of using the same napkin for a whole week may not appeal to us now in more hygienic times, but, as we can see, the simple napkin ring was born of necessity, not for decoration.
The first recorded examples of napkin rings made from silver date from the early 1800's, but it was during the later Victorian period that the silver napkin ring came into its own. For middle and upper class Victorians, the display of wealth at the dinner table was an essential declaration of status. The more ostentatiously decorated your table, the higher up the social pecking order you could place yourself. A sort of Victorian "Banqueting Bling". Of course the Victorians would never admit to being so overtly brash, so their blatant bragging had to be passed off as etiquette - a social nicety.
So there, amongst the candelabra, elaborate table centres and ornate cutlery, you will find the humble napkin ring doing its bit for Victorian propriety. The silver napkin ring became yet another "must have" gift for Christenings and weddings in Victorian and Edwardian society.
The arrival of disposable paper napkins and serviettes should have sounded the death knell of the napkin ring at dinner tables everywhere, but this traditional piece of tableware is becoming ever more popular. In a world where everything is disposable and transient, the napkin ring is a personal possession that is treasured for life. The napkin ring presented at a baby’s Christening is highly likely to appear at the dinner table on their 80th birthday.
Napkin rings come in all shapes and sizes, from round and oval to octagonal and square. Plain or ornately decorated, they are often engraved with the owner’s initials and, sometimes, their date of birth. As such, napkin rings are very personal possessions. Every member of the family can identify their own napkin ring. Silver napkin rings have become popular as Christening gifts for this very reason. There are few presents that are so personal to the individual and that can be used and treasured for a whole lifetime.
The napkin ring has little religious significance (you are highly unlikely to have found one at the Last Supper) and it can make no major aesthetic claims for beauty and design, but, if you are looking for a Christening gift that will stand the test of time – look no further.
Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/babies-articles/a-christening-gift-that-lasts-a-lifetime-588782.html
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