Kennon-Green Family Christmas – The 2017 Edition
Over the past two weeks, Aaron and I have been traveling and working non-stop, traversing a distance that spanned from Portland, Oregon to Princeton, New Jersey. In many cases, we were able to sleep only a few hours a night before having to pick up, again, and be back on either a plane or the road but now that we are settled at home, and it’s early on a Saturday morning, I decided to catch up on what I’ve missed and post some updates about our life and travels.
Let’s start with the really important stuff – or, at least, the stuff that will let me geek out given our love of Thanksgiving and Christmas.
The Family Christmas Tree – Theme: Winter Christmas Lodge
In a recent comment on another post, one of you asked if we brought back The Coca-Cola Christmas tree from four years ago. Not exactly. (You’ll understand why I say that in a moment.) We decided to go with the same theme we did last year: winter Christmas lodge; snow-covered lanterns, plaid highlights, reindeer statues, and faux fur-covered blankets (those pictures from last year give you a much better idea of the entirety of it). Earlier this month, we found a few additional accent pieces to add to the mix, including throw pillows and a table runner. For scent, we went with pine and, lately, I’ve been somewhat obsessed with Tom Ford’s Tobacco Vanille, which I’ve been wearing with a lot of flannel shirts and cashmere sweaters. I truly think it’s all of the craziness going on in the world. Aaron and I just want to retreat inward with family and friends, sit by the fire, and work as Christmas music plays softly. There’s something comforting about the warmth and stability of it, especially when it is snowing outside and you can hear the wind blowing through the trees.
Looking through the old posts, here are some pictures of what it looks like behind the house when it snows. They were taken back in 2010 but other than a couple of retaining walls built by our neighbors, not much has changed. The theme seems to fit the space.
The Home Office Christmas Tree – Theme: Dividends and Capital Gains
That last picture, as you can probably tell from what is on the computer screen, was taken out of a home office where Aaron and I often worked on our letterman jacket company. Lately, that area has been converted into a home office for Kennon-Green & Co., our asset management firm. We’ve been holding off on renovations until we figure out if we are going to keep the house when we move out of state so we have a place of our own when we return for family visits or sell it entirely so we don’t have to deal with managing two properties. I’ll post about that later today or tomorrow – we looked at more real estate while we were traveling.
Anyway, the whole point of this is to say that one of my personal holiday project indulges this year has been building a second Christmas tree for that home office. That way, we can see it when we are sitting at our desks reading. Right now, it’s still very much in an under-construction mode and probably won’t be finished until next year. I’ve been filling it with ornaments that represent some of my favorite brands, investments, companies, or case studies; Brown-Forman, Coca-Cola, Wells Fargo & Company, Hershey, Kraft Heinz, McDonald’s (Mayor McCheese was among my favorite finds), General Mills, etc. The tricky part was settling upon a proxy for Berkshire Hathaway because it holds so many different stakes. I wasn’t happy with the Borsheim’s ornaments so I went with a series of Dairy Queen ornaments.
I’m still searching for the perfect tree topper (I have something in mind but it’s hard to find), tree skirt, and trimming. Also, whenever we relocate and open the official Kennon-Green & Co. office, the tree itself will need to be retired. We took it out of storage when I started working on this idea, and it’s been useful as a staging tree, but it’s been around for more than a decade.
In fact, those of you who remember the blog a long, long time ago before the very first Great Purge might recognize it as the same tree from the old Mount Olympus Awards offices.
You know what? Give me a second, I’ll dig through my old photo archives and find it so you can see how much better it looked when it was new …
Found it. Here are some Christmas pictures from Christmas 2007 at the old letterman jacket company offices across town. We were a couple of years out of university and had moved out, upgrading from a desk over in a corner at my parents’ factory, where they had let us hang out after we came back to the Midwest and tried to figure out how we wanted to setup our lives. It was such a good Christmas tree. It served us well.
Relatedly, we decided that with our themed trees, we needed to find a way to store the ornaments safely and easily. We ended up getting two 120-ornament storage containers, which have been great. We are probably going to have to get more because …
… I recently got an idea for a Monopoly-themed tree in some future year (prudently realizing that there was not time this year to build it the way I want, especially with the investment-themed tree still under construction). I bought up a bunch of Mr. Monopoly ornaments, which are mostly in boxes. I’m not sure what the finished gestalt will look like but I need colorful real estate title deeds. It’s going to go fantastically well with my Monopoly Christmas snow village! Plus, do you know how long it’s been since I’ve turned on the actual working Monopoly train sets?! I know it seems silly to some people but I’m getting really excited just talking about this. I can feel my heart rate accelerating. It’s going to be amazing. You have no idea how happy this makes me!
We still have some Christmas shopping to do. We also are hosting a Christmas get-together for one side of the family this year so we have to figure out what we’ll be serving for food and dessert. We’re still fully committed to celebrating and enjoying the season but, in truth, my heart is wrapped up in building the back-office for the asset management business. It’s what I think about when I wake up in the morning and what I’m thinking about when sitting in bed talking about our day with Aaron at night. Nothing else is as fun, or challenging, to me as that is.