I was reading an article in the NY Times a few months back and was delighted to hear that vintage silver is making a comeback. My china cabinet and my mother's basement are filled with passed down treasurers from beloved grandmothers, great-aunts and old family friends. What remains is an eclectic collection of patterns, mismatched serving pieces and tarnished odds and ends that when given a little elbow grease are restored to their former glory. (Don't worry about getting them gleaming, that darkening and tarnish gives them history and character.) Each one tells a story of the numerous formal family gatherings, special occasions and life's landmark events they have witnessed.
Since recycling is a major component of being green, how about answering the question of, "what am I supposed to do with these?" and mix them into your table presentations. An odd dish can become a gorgeous new jewelry tray. Mix pieces of silver patterns for a style that looks perfectly thrown together. Use that random tumbler as a bud vase to adorn your dresser.
Often times the best place to go shopping to give your holiday table a new look, is your, your mother's or your grandmother's basement.