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December 22, 2017

Mid-Century Entertaining: A Yule Log Centerpiece

Forgive me for the lateness of this post. We were celebrating Winter Solstice with a last minute get together at our house with a Yule Log!

It is often referenced, but do you know what a Yule Log is? The history of the Yule Log is one that goes back ages. And I do mean AGES. So, I won’t get into that here, but if you’re a mid-century oogler (and I know that you are), you’ve likely most often seen them as a centerpiece! So I thought with company literally on the way to your house at this very moment, we could make a festive centerpiece for your holiday table.

Customarily you would gather nearly everything you need from your yard or from a family walk or hike. But I had company on the way, so I ended up posting on my neighborhood Facebook page asking if anyone had a holly bush I could get some clippings from and a good sized log. I had an astonishing number of neighbors reach out saying I could cut their whole holly bush down!

Living in Nashville, my access to evergreen trees is nearly zero, but luckily our neighborhood hardware store is selling trees, so I asked if I could have some boughs that had be trimmed from trees. Bam. Greenery! Just like for my holiday wreath, here.

Everything else came from Goodwill. You know what they say. Use it up. Wear it out. Make due. Or do without!

Yule Log Centerpiece

What you’ll need:

A thick log (anywhere around 12” wide by 36” long)
Greenery: pine, foliage, clippings from that tree you love in your backyard
Holly, mistletoe, or anything with berries
Paper Ribbon
Pine cones
Scissors
Pruning shears
Hot glue gun
Hot glue sticks
Gardening gloves

Start by finding the sweet spot the log naturally wants to rest in. This should keep it from rolling around into your Christmas ham if you’re using it as a centerpiece.

With the pruning shears, clip small branches from the greenery. I kept everything under 12” just to keep things tidy, but if you’re feeling something bigger, go for it!

Starting from the outside edges of the log, lay your greenery with the cut side toward the center. Find a good place on the log’s bark to put some hot glue and press the cut side of the branch into the glue. This may take a couple goes, depending on how cooperative the bark on your log is being.

Now layer your greenery from both ends working toward the center. Once you have a couple solid branches in place you can toss that glue gun aside (but don’t really… that thing is HOT). From here on out you should be able to simply push branches into the bramble.

Once you have your base of greenery in place, find little spots that your holly and pine cones can sit. Maybe to cover the end of a branch or accent a knot in the wood. Make sure to wear your gloves! Those suckers can be sharp.

Take your paper ribbon and wrap around your log, weaving the ribbon between the branches and pine cones.

Place in the center of your table or on a sideboard near your feast. Encourage your guests to write a wish on a small piece of paper and place it under the ribbon. Later, you can place it in a fire pit or fireplace (taking all necessary fire safety precautions of course) and enjoy the warmth and glow of the Yule Log’s fire. It’ll burn hot though, so make sure to have your fire screen up or stand a safe distance from the fire pit!

Super old-school hostess level activated! Happy Holidays! Now go enjoy time with that beautiful family of yours.

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2 Responses to Mid-Century Entertaining: A Yule Log Centerpiece

  1. Meg Reply

    January 13, 2018 at 8:36 am

    Your centerpiece is beautiful, and I love the idea about writing wishes to place on the log. But … I can’t help but ask … did you have any problem with insects crawling out of the log onto your Christmas table? Trees are the habitat for so many tiny critters!

    • Lindsay Goranson Reply

      January 15, 2018 at 10:13 am

      I was worried about that too, Meg! The log itself was cured for me by the friend that gave it to me, so it was indeed bug free. But that is definitely something to think about when doing a Yule log! Thanks for commenting!

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