So this isnāt just any log or stick.. this was a hunt through the park where we were married to find my first ever yule log. Since this is the first Christmas in a long long time where Iāve actually given more than 2 fucks let me explainā¦
I keep posting the photos of my mantle all over social media. Ā Yep, Iām done now (I think) but it was a special place for me as a child when my Grandad would decorate it. Rather than copy his style I decided Iād make my mantle my own. The theme is honor.
I have a little nativity set on the left to honor the meaning of Christmas, the birth of Christ. Regardless of my faith or what I do or do not believe this is the reason behind Christmas.
I have nutcrackers to the left. These represent the strong willed women in my family.. just kidding. (Admit it, thatās funny) I actually love the nutcrackers – something about the tireless soldiers standing guard no matter what uniform (or Liberace outfit as you can see by the one in the middle). This honors my Grandfather and his love of Christmas. He was a solider for 28 years. āBe in the right place, at the right time, and wearing the right uniform – this is one of the secrets of successā. I heard that my whole life growing up and it’s never let me down.
The Hallmark ornaments are a sign of Christmas present – the reindeer, sports heroes, and ones that are significant dates (1979 = me, 1984 = Romy, and 2013 = Gavin). The carols, the pop culture, the icons of a holiday in modern times. You may not hear songs about “I’m dreaming of a TSA Free Christmas” or “What the hell is a chestnut and you know there is a no open flame policy here..” but it’s still the Christmas we live in and with and hopefully you find ways to make it special despite the world moving at a speed measured in megabytes per second.
Finally, the yule log. It honors my ancestry. It also allows me to honor this season in a way thatās detached from everything Christmas is now. It lets me acknowledge the season, the shorter days, the brisk weather, but offers a promise of brighter and warmer as we get dragged out of winter and into spring. The handfasting cord allows me to honor my wife, my family, my vows, and my future. One candle for each of us.
I look on this mantle and see pieces of my childhood mixed, now, with pieces of Gavinās childhood. I get to fondly remember helping my Grandad and now doing this for my family.
A lot of thought went into this project this year. A lot of feelings as I went through those old ornaments. A lot of feelings when I pulled out the āBabyās First Christmas – 2013ā. It somehow made it a little more real that in a few weeks weāre welcoming our son into the worldā¦ and when he gets here I want him surrounded by love and memories (even though he wonāt comprehend any of it).
I usually am a stickler for waiting until the weekend after Thanksgiving to get this done (when I bother) but since Romy is at term with Gavin now weāre a little on edge. I didnāt want to wait this year just on the off chance she goes into labor tomorrow or something.
We picked out nearly everything together; the tree, the trimmings, the angel, and even the silly little log that I went bounding through the forest to find while she patiently waited on the trail for me. Even a stick can be a good story to look back on years later.
Since this will be the first year in I don’t know how many I won’t be spending Christmas with my family back in North Carolina I also wanted to honor that tradition. It helps me feel connected in a day and age where communication can be instant but the miles are still a bitch to traverse. If everything goes according to schedule, Christmas morning will be less about unwrapping trinkets and more about family – teaching the new guy how it was done when I was his age. Circle of life and all that.