The Red Plate is the perfect way to acknowledge a family member’s special triumphs…celebrate a birthday…praise a job well done…reward a goal achieved…or simply say “You Are Special Today.” When the Red Plate is used, any meal becomes a celebration honoring that special person, event or deed. We encourage those who purchase a plate or celebrate this tradition to share YOUR story.

My first introduction to the Red Plate was when I was teaching pre-school. One of the parents brought a Red Plate in so that her child could use it for her birthday treat. All of the parents and I went crazy for it. It has been a huge part of all of our family’s celebrations ever since and a must-buy for showers, weddings, and new babies. The celebration would not be complete without the Red Plate. It’s a self-esteem dream.

When I turned eight my family put the red plate out for me and I was happy. It made me feel special and that they were thinking of me.
EG – Age 8

When our wonderful neighbors welcomed their second daughter, I included the following explanation of the “Red Plate” with their “Red Plate” gift. “The Red Plate” is a tradition in our home. Having had five children, we wanted each child to feel special at various times. If one of them got an “A” on a test, he/she would have dinner on the Red Plate. Every birthday was a Red Plate event. The Red Plate was always available for a great try in a sporting event, helping a sibling unselfishly, an award from school, going above and beyond what was expected of them, receiving a letter of acceptance from a college, a visit home from college or the Navy, a job promotion, a wedding, a new baby, etc. It is our pleasure to pass this wonderful tradition of the Red Plate onto your family in celebration of the birth of your beautiful daughter, Elizabeth.” They were thrilled to begin the same tradition for their family.
JCS – Thousand Oaks, CA

The first red plate I encountered was as wedding gift 25 years ago from a dear friend. We have used it all these blessed years together and commemorate not only our special days, but now those of our childrens. There is always an excited responce to the recipient of the special attention. This past year on my son’s 17th birthday, the red plate was out for his at his party, and our church youth minister was here to celebrate. Her heartfelt reaction to the plate was obvious and it reminded me of my first encounter with it. I had ben pondering what to get her as a wedding present the following month, and the answer was clear. When she recieved it amongst all her other wedding gifts, I was the first to get a immediate phone call of excitement and appreciation. May it bless her marriage and famly as it has mine.

As a pastor, I encounter families in many different ways. One particular family with several young children had set the “You are Special Plate” out for me on the occasions when I stayed for dinner. I found the love in that family to be a wonderful reflection of God’s love. Tragedy struck that family when the father died suddenly. At the funeral, family members brought forward symbols of their father. Among them was the red plate carried by his daughter. I have never received at the altar a gift as precious as that red plate dripped with the tears of a child.
TD – Byron

Missionary life events and the Red Plate
Being far from home serving as missionaries, we enjoy using our Red Plate for many occasions! Not only when our family celebrates birthdays, anniversaries, graduations or difficult days but when single friends serving alongside us have no one to celebrate their special events with, we carry our Red Plate to their homes or use the Red Plate for their place at our table when they celebrate with us. The Red Plate always brings a big smile to every one who has the honor of using it! Thank you for a very special plate!
JH – Flowood, MS

Letting our loved ones know that they are special is the best gift we can give each other. In the busy world we live in, and taking into consideration the statistics of successful marriages and family time together, showing this special love is even more important. That is why as a wedding gift I give the Red Plate.
I hope that it can continue or start a tradition in these couples and their future children that helps keep “the family” solid by remembering how special they are.
BJR – Portage, MiI

Since my children were very small we have had the red plate. We used it from report cards to birthdays and many days in between. When my daughter got married I gave her a Red Plate as a shower gift. She was moved to tears. Many at the shower never saw the plate and didn’t understand the significance, but once she explained it became clear. It is now a special item in their new home too. It is one of my favorite shower gifts for new brides.
MMS – Tinley Park

I was with my mother when she was diagnosed with cancer. She had been a great support to my wife and I with our young children and now we needed to be there for her. Thankfully, her surgery and chemotherapy removed all signs of the cancer. It was a very special event, when following all of her treatments she came to our house for dinner. At her place we set the red plate.
CW – Rockford

After 16 years of being a stay-at-home mom, I took the leap and went back to college. It was a challenge for me, my husband, and my kids as we juggled our already hectic schedules. After the first year of classes, I had to submit work for review in order to be accepted into my desired major. Preparing for that review was stressful. The day I turned in my work for review, I returned home and found the “you are special today” plate at my place. My family was celebrating my effort even though we did not know what the outcome would be. I was touched. The following week was cause for a second celebration as I had passed the review and was accepted.

Articles from the Web on the “You Are Special Today” Red Plate

The “Magic of the Red Plate” from Waechtersbach, the manufacturer of the You are Special Plates.

“It was a time honored tradition among early American families that when someone deserved special praise or attention they were served dinner on the red plate. Today this custom, so dear to early American families, returns to remind us that a simple reward can mean so much. The Red Plate is the perfect way to acknowledge a family member’s special triumphs…celebrate a birthday…praise a job well done…reward a goal achieved…or simply say “You Are Special Today.” When the Red Plate is used, any meal becomes a celebration honoring that special person, event or deed. It is a visible reminder of love and esteem. A way of showing someone dear to you that they are appreciated and remembered. The Red Plate is designed and crafted to become a family heirloom as it is cherished and passed from one generation to the next marking life’s important milestones. The Red Plate…Make it a tradition in your family, symbolizing the good and happy times. It will speak volumes of love, when words just aren’t enough.”

Every Family Needs a “RedPlate”
Adapted from CREATING FAMILY TRADITIONS—A Gift of Roots and Belonging, By Barbara A. Glanz

The Idea:

For many years the “Red Plate” has been our favorite family tradition. It is just that–a bright red plate with white hand painted lettering along the edge that reads, “YOU ARE SPECIAL TODAY.” It came with the following explanation:

The Red Plate is the perfect way to acknowledge a family member’s special triumphs, to celebrate a birthday or praise a job well done, reward a goal achieved, or simply to say, “YOU ARE SPECIAL TODAY.” When the Red Plate is used, any meal becomes a celebration honoring a special person, event, or deed. It is a visible reminder of love and esteem. The Red Plate — make it a tradition in your family, symbolizing the good and happy times. It will speak volumes of love when words just aren’t enough.”

The Idea in Action:
The “Red Plate” is one of the best ways we have found to bring joy, affirmation, and encouragement to different members of our family and friends. Whenever we have a guest for dinner, he or she gets the “Red Plate.” Whenever there is a special occasion–from birthdays, the first night home after being at camp or college, finishing a hard project or getting a good grade on a test, that person gets the “Red Plate.” (I have even heard of families who bring it with them to a restaurant when they are having a surprise party for someone!)

However, the most important use for our Red Plate, I think, has been for the hard times, those times when someone has worked and worked to get a part in a play or make a team or win an election, and they have been disappointed. Someone in the family always makes sure they get the “Red Plate” that day as a symbol that they are still special, no matter what has happened.

One of my favorite stories about the Red Plate was at a time when our daughter Erin had just gotten home from the hospital and could not return to school for a few more days. She called me at work one of those mornings to tell me she had folded some clothes for me. I said, “Oh, Honey, thank you. That was really nice. Why don’t you have the Red Plate for lunch?” She responded, “Oh, Mom, can I?” The Red Plate is always there in the cupboard, but you can see the special significance it has for our family. I now always give it as a shower or wedding gift to special young couples who are starting their own family traditions.

Several years ago I gave the Red Plate to the Robert Freeman family of Lansing, Michigan, and they have found a very special use for it. Since their children are all grown and live all around the country, they sometimes are only all together at Christmas. They started a tradition that each year at Christmas the family votes on who has accomplished or grown the most during the past year, and that person is rewarded by getting to take the Red Plate to their home to use for the next year. Robert related the decision process to me for 1998. He said each of his children had a wonderful year–Jamille is going to teach in Japan for the coming year, Cynthia moved from Iowa to Texas, and Chevelle also moved and got a huge promotion. (Robert says he doesn’t say much but just runs the meeting.) The final decision was that all those things were wonderful but sort of “run of the mill” for the girls. The person who really deserved the Red Plate was Dion because he finished his Bachelor’s Degree, the greatest accomplishment of all!

The “Red Plate” is a fun and visible way to create a new family tradition and to show support, encouragement, and love. Legends grow up around who got the “Red Plate” and why, and you can even write on the back of the plate with a permanent marker the different times you have used it. Over the years the “Red Plate” has been the bearer of many deposits in family members’ emotional bank accounts

By Ken Tudhope as found on

Celebrating the accomplishments and contributions of our Kids is very important and we use the RED PLATE to do it. The RED PLATE is a red dinner plate with large white letters that say “You are special today.”

It is given to kids on birthdays, promotions, commencements, awards, championships, acts of kindness, and other accomplishments. Moms and Dads mostly get to eat off the RED PLATE on birthdays, anniversaries, mother’s day, and father’s day.

At our house the person receiving the RED PLATE gets to choose the meal. They get their choice of drink (the kids always choose a soda). When “you are special today” you get to help yourself to the food first and you get to lead the prayer.

The RED PLATE makes the dinner table a celebration. We learned about the RED PLATE from an elderly woman who had used it in her home for three generations.

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