Stock Up On Red Products for Year-Round Entertaining


Every year July 4th invites the color red with patriotic displays in every retail store. Shortly after this temporary burst of star-spangled color, much of this merchandise will be marked down for clearance, signaling your opportunity to gear up for most of your entertaining and decorating needs during the rest of the year.

Red is the best value for tableware and paper goods, many serving pieces and accessories, and packaging of all sorts. Cups, napkins, tablecloths; you name it, red is the default color choice for most disposable and/or casual home entertaining and celebrations. Allow me to make my case:

Red is appropriate for almost all national holidays. Besides Independence Day, it is expected for Labor Day, Veteran’s Day, President’s Day and Memorial Day. It would even work for Columbus Day (Columbus being Italian and red/white/green being their counterpart our red/white/blue), but of course the only people who really care are probably the bankers and federal employees who get the day off.

Christmas is obviously a huge event for the color red. You can be sure any red tablecloths you find on sale now will be used again during the holidays, when you’ll be pressing every table you own into service. The only holidays red doesn’t go along with are Easter, when we’re enjoying pastel colors, and Halloween, when we emphasize blacks, oranges and purples. 

Thanksgiving can use a shot of red to add some depth to all the oranges, browns and golds of the season. A single red cloth napkin makes a nice liner for a breadbasket at the Thanksgiving table (use a warm shade of red rather than a cool one). 

Even “Hallmark Holidays” are suited to red. Valentine’s Day is a no-brainer use for red wrapping paper, and you can never go wrong with a red ribbon on a gift. Red gift bags work for most any gift occasion except maybe a wedding (associated with white or a metallic like silver).

Would you expect anything other than a red apron? When the outdoor grilling season winds down, you can be sure red aprons bought on sale will be useful for cookie baking during the holidays or as hostess gifts.

Picnics and barbeques are associated with red. Red gingham is the universal sign of summer chow, from the paper baskets for fries and hot dogs to the picnic blanket itself.

Summer foods like watermelon or berries pop against a red tablecloth, as do summer flowers like zinnias, daisies and sunflowers.

Red bandanas make versatile napkins for barbeques in the summer and chilli in the winter. Cheap and reusable!

Red dish towels make great oversize napkins for crab or lobster boils.

When you are checking out the many options for casual serving pieces like enamel buckets or beverage tubs, red is the most likely color to be used frequently during the rest of the year. Stock up on red paper goods like napkins, cups and paper plates while they’re on sale now and you’ll be thanking yourself when you’re not hunting these down for a class party this fall.