Entries in fireplace mantel (1)


sunday night

December 5.  11:58 pm.

Our mantel is nothing special, but during the holidays it's the part of our home that I love the most. Each year varies but mainly its decorations consist of a couple of PB garlands* strung with lights, personalized Hable stockings* hung on silver dove holders*, select art pieces made by the boys, a few (early bird) family holiday cards, a winter-scene matryoshka doll we picked up in Russia years ago, and my favorite part of all – a yearly progression of wall framed* photos of the boys posing with Santa.

Because these frames appear only during the holidays (and are stored in the garage the rest of the year), every winter when I unpack and display them I stare at the little details in the pictures that I've forgotten about. The oldest photograph (top photo, upper left) features Santa holding Big Brother who was only six months old; he has this startled look on his face that always cracks me up. Little Bro's first Santa photo was taken when he was a few weeks old, but every encounter since then has made him cry with fright, so the most recent ones of the boys with Santa showcase one in misery and the other as happy as an elf.

In the odd years, both upper and lower mattes in the frames are completely filled; in the even years like this year, I temporarily fill the lower matte with our current family holiday card or another festive picture.

It's a cool reminder of how much they've grown and how much things change and stay the same.

*Since I have a hard time paying full price for holiday decor, I bought these mantel items on clearance over many killer post-Christmas sales. One year, I stocked up on 10 gold frames at a great 2-for-1 price. Meaning, we'll have framed photos of the boys posing with Santa all the way until my oldest turns 18! Wait...is that weird??