Paper Napkins and the Millennials


When we  visit our grown daughters, they serve us delicious food on lovely dishes. On an extra fancy occasion, the table is set with arty cloth napkins. But for a simpler meal, there are no napkins on the table. Upon request, my girls will tear off a sheet of paper towel and hand it to us.

What gives? Surely my daughters, who seem to have their act together quite nicely, can purchase  a pack of kitchen napkins.

Enter an article I found on a Facebook. Turns out the millenials don’t use napkins! Read about it here.

Or top sheets. Turning over the edge of the top sheet is one of the small joys of my life.

“Do you use top sheets?” I asked Kath. “I’ve heard your generation doesn’t.”

“Yes,” she said, “but Thomas didn’t when we got married. I had to convince him.”

I think the millenials are great. I admire them for not staying in a job that makes them unhappy. They’ve got brains and spunk, and they’re hard workers, especially when they do find that perfect job. (And power to Gen Z for their gun control advocacy. I hope they gain steam and never stop.)

But back to napkins. It seems hard to eat millennial foods like black bean hummus or kale salad without getting some of it on your fingers. I still argue we need napkins. Although maybe millennials are more dainty eaters than we zesty baby boomers?

Any opinions on this matter?

Photo Above: The purple dotted napkins I took on a beach trip a few weeks ago.

Photo Below: The eyelet edging similar to edging on sheets I bought for our new house. I took this one from Google images. The eyelet on the real top sheet is kind of crumply. Hey, maybe that’s why the millennials aren’t fond of top sheets. The edge does crumple up once washed. And that reminds me of our grandmothers. They would have IRONED those top sheets.

15 thoughts on “Paper Napkins and the Millennials”

  1. I can’t imagine eating without napkins! Paper is fine for everyday but always cloth when I have company! I have never ironed sheets – unlike my mother – but she had a maid! I don’t. Top sheets are needed for hygenie reasons in my opinion. In Europe one doesn’t always see them but I live in the States and I DO use a top sheet! It makes the bed so much prettier. And it is so divine to slip into the bed with fresh sheets! Bliss!


  2. I just bought BAMBOO paper towels. You can throw them in the washing machine and save trees, and bamboo is so renewable.

    We all need napkins, but I’m on board with not buying paper napkins. I’m too old to be considered a millennial but too young to really think I’m part of that group, anyway!


  3. Too funny Barbara because my niece does not use napkins and it drives my sister crazy. I made everyone napkins but all I see is my niece’s children using them. I made a set of 6 and she only took 4 because there are just 4 of them, Yikes! I use cloth napkins. I sew them now but bought when I didn’t have the time to sew. My sister uses cloth. Throw the napkins in the washer and more ecologically friendly. I will have to ask about the top sheet. Of course I use one with a duvet, not very continental I know but easier to throw the sheets in the wash than change the duvet cover.


  4. I use paper napkins at every meal! (Guess I’m too sloppy?) And even with company. I don’t like ironing – after spending my youth ironing sheets, pillowcases, undershirts, and anything that was even vaguely ironable – thanks to my mom’s idea of suitable chores. But I love top sheets now that they don’t require ironing. Who wants to continually wash blankets and comforters? So much easier to wash a sheet.


  5. Interesting post Barbara! I thought the no napkin choice was just our children lol. In our home we always use napkins(mainly paper, cloth for special occasions) and my husband and I find it odd the kids usually don’t. They,as well, rip off paper towel if we request a napkin.
    Top sheets on the other hand we all use. And as for ironing sheets I’m with the millennials – that is my Mother’s generation not ours.


  6. My grown daughter doesn’t buy napkins either; uses cloth most of the time, paper towels sometimes.
    Always thought it was strange that she doesn’t buy napkins. I prefer to use cloth but paper is good for messy foods. She does use top sheets. We all avoid ironing in general, though my husband discovered he is allergic to chemicals that are put in fabrics to make them permanent press though so his clothes are more wrinkly than average. My Mom would not approve; I can remember her ironing my Dad’s underwear.


  7. Glad to read this. Was reprimanded by my daughter for not always using cloth, but none of the kids seem to actually use their napkins at my house. Thought it was a failure on my part!


  8. I don’t buy napkins. We use paper towels instead. We are already buying paper towels so I don’t see the point in buying napkins too. They do double duty. That said, we do use cloth napkins and even sometimes hold onto the free paper napkins from fast food restaurants. It isn’t that we don’t use something to wipe my hands… we just don’t see the point of paying for more paper products. We don’t even have napkins for parties because none of our friends would think to ask for them; they automatically reach for the roll of paper towels.


  9. Interesting post. Maybe if I had a permanent place I would invest in napkins, traveling around I tend to use paper towels and just keep the paper napkins given to me at restaurants and cafes (no use throwing them away). I think if I wasn’t living alone or had more people over I would probably step up my game, though.

    As for the top sheet, I love it!


  10. I’m with you. I use multiple paper napkins per meal. So does my mom. My husband never uses napkins. I don’t understand it. He’s not even a millennial. lol


  11. Haha! I actually do have a stash of white napkins, but I only get those out for big parties or when we’re entertaining 10+ people.


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