So is this mantle part of a fireplace or an entertainment center?
Well . . . here in Houston we don't have much need of a fireplace -- especially one that needed a lot of work done ($$$) before it could be safely used! For years our solution was to use the large opening for our TV. When we inherited a TV that was too large for the opening, though, St. Michael built a shelving unit for me that fits right under the mantle and uses the hearth for its base.
(And I have no idea what Baby Daughter was watching when I snapped this pic.)
The tree sitting on the mantle, to the left of Santa.
The mantle itself was plain ol' 4 x 4 piece of wood until I covered it with old, dis-mantled picture frames (sorry, I couldn't resist!), fitted together like a puzzle.
A little chair I found
at Salvation Army: $2.
The "Wise Men Still Seek Him" sign sitting on the chair came from Value Village a few years ago: $1.
The message: PRICELESS.