Years ago we had the driest holiday tree I've ever seen. Even before Yule, the tree definitely had a brownish tinge--seriously, I suspect the only reason it had any green on it at all was due more to the dye the tree farm sprayed on it than to the amount of chlorophyll in the needles. We barely plugged in the lights for fear of burning down the house. Anyway, after the holidays, we couldn't get that poor tree out of the house fast enough.
As it happened, we had just built a fire pit on our property that year, and were well on our way to becoming screaming pyromaniacs. What better way to dispose of the holiday tree than to officially christen the Pit? Armed with a pair of branch loppers we stripped the noble fir of it's branches, creating a pile of kindling three feet high. The trunk itself was too thick for our meager tools, so we set it aside.
As the sun set New Year's Eve, we started our fire. At first it burned merrily, warming us against the icy December night. Then someone added the first dried tree branch. "WHOOMP!" The thing practically exploded, it caught fire so quickly. The novelty was too much for our champagne-addled brains to handle--we had to have more! Soon, people were removing layers, the fire was so hot, and I was looking nervously around for the garden hose, lest this crazy fun get too out of control. Fortunately we soon ran out of holiday tree to burn and people settled down to stare at a once again merrily burning fire. The next day we were left with a sooty mess, and a scorched holiday tree trunk (some optimistic soul thought we could burn it down from one end like a match).
For the next eleven months the trunk rested peacefully beside the fire pit. Then, with the coming of the new holiday season, inspiration struck. Yule Log! We cut the trunk into more manageable pieces, and saved the largest to burn as our Yule log on the coming Winter Solstice. The log wasn't huge, but it ended up being the most perfect, longest burning Yule log we'd ever had. Thus began our family Yule tradition.
Wishing you the Merriest Yule.