The mantel is a central focus at Christmastime, which is certainly fitting, because it’s center-stage for the appearance of Santa himself! Stockings are hung below it and fires are lit inside it, making the mantel the ideal place for Christmas decorating ideas. Starting at the top, above the mantel, here are some ideas on how to decorate your mantel for the holidays.
Above-the-Mantel Christmas Decor
Many people hang art above their mantel. Some hang a mirror. Others may display a flat-screen TV. Whatever’s up there, chances are there’s a nail there, too! Consider taking down the year-round element and replacing it with a Christmas wreath. We love the look of this frosted Christmas wreath, especially in homes where a more neutral tone or rustic Christmas look is desired. The wreath has a very natural appeal with pine cones, white berries and 15 warm white LED lights. It’s attached to a distressed window frame that can either be hung on the wall or, if you don’t want to put nails in your wall, simply prop it up against the wall. Flank this rustic Christmas decoration with wood candle holders and ivory battery operated candles and sprinkle some Christmas greenery or garland around your mantel decor to complete your natural look.
Atop-the-Mantel Christmas Decor
While we’re on the topic of mantelpieces, let’s talk fireplace mantel garlands. You can simply weave Christmas garland among the items that are already on your mantel (candle sticks, family photos, etc), or you can replace those year-round items with seasonal decor (more on that below).
Or, if you prefer, place Christmas mantel garland that is specifically designed to sit atop a mantel. It measures 6′ long and 18″ deep and comes pre-decorated with an assortment of red, green and gold ornaments, magnolia leaves, pine cones and faux red berries. Just sit it on the mantel, place some coordinating candle holders and candles in between the branches and you’ll have an instant holiday mantel.
We like to rotate our year-round mantel decor, like family photos, with special seasonal items. Consider displaying favorite Christmas ornaments, like the ones that are too big to fit comfortably on the tree, or even beloved stuffed toys or dolls from your or your children’s childhood. Perhaps there are some special Christmas books or Christmas-themed photos that you could display among your lighted mantel garland.
For a festive winter Christmas display, start by wrapping 4 different-sized boxes in a neutral tone (complete with ribbon) and sit them on your mantel. The gift boxes will be used as double-duty – first as stands to display your Christmas decorations and second as decorative pieces that add another layer to your overall mantel Christmas display (so make sure you wrap them nicely).
Place 4 Architectural Lanterns on the gift stands, and sit one lantern directly onto the mantel. Displaying your decor at different heights on the mantel creates a depth of scenery so your decor will look more fluid. These Christmas lanterns are well crafted of glass and metal and hand painted so no two are alike. Add battery operated tea lights and the glow from the glass will create yet another element to your Christmas mantel. Stick sprigs of pine needles throughout the display to cover the blank spots and to add another texture to your mantel. Sprinkle faux snow on top of the pine needles and on the wrapped gifts to complete your festive mantel display. If your mantel is narrow, you can drape garland above it and secure to the side walls or just hang a coordinating Christmas wreath.
For a minimal, yet festive Christmas look drape some rich-looking cascading Christmas garland along your mantel. The Cambridge Christmas garland is a good choice because it’s 9 cascading branches are covered in thick needles with 238 tips to create a lush, thick display. It’s trimmed in realistic looking pine cones and red berries and its 100 warm white LED lights really bring the garland to life. Stack multi-level Christmas candle sticks with neutral-colored candles in between the garland branches and lean a large wall mirror against the wall to create a focal point to your Christmas mantel display.
Nativity sets are a popular Christmas display for many people, yet most people will just place the nativity set on the Christmas mantel or on a tabletop and be done with it. For a more dramatic religious Christmas display, sit some lighted fireplace Christmas garland on top of your mantel.
Above the mantel, hang a 30″ Silent Night Christmas Wreath, which will be the focal point of your Christmas mantel display. This wreath comes pre-decorated with a rustic wood sign in the center and covered in warm white LED lights, red berries and real pine cones. Hang the Christmas wreath high enough above the mantel so there is a small gap between the mantel garland and the bottom of the wreath. Keeping the Christmas wreath close to the mantel top will create a fuller greenery effect and make your display appear more substantial.
Stand 2 large Angel decorations, gold candle sticks or large nativity figures next to the wreath – just make sure they’re natural colored so they’ll coordinate nicely with the rustic sign in the wreath.
Traditional Christmas mantel decorations will instantly turn an ordinary fireplace mantel into a festive holiday display. Our Home for the Holidays Christmas greenery collection will give you the basis for your traditional display.
Directly above the mantel, center the Home for the Holidays Christmas wreath and attach it to the wall. This beautiful Christmas wreath is adorned with red and white berries, real pine cones and frosted red ball ornaments. What makes this fireplace wreath so different are the winter ornaments that are also found on the wreath – a mitten, ski boots and a sleigh. A large red and black Buffalo check bow sits in the center of the wreath.
Once the wreath is up, you’ll need to decide if you want a 6 ft or 9 ft pre lit garland to drape along the front of your mantel. The Home for the Holidays garland has all of the same festive decorations as the wreath and creates a real focal point on your mantel.
Sit 3 handmade Christmas paper houses on top of the mantel; 2 in the center under the wreath and one off to the side. You might want to put a small wrapped present under the third paper house to use as a stand. That will create some depth to your mantel as all of your decorations will be at different heights.
Sit 2 large berry trees next to the wreath – if you can’t find a matching bow, choose a solid red bow to tie around the pot. Lastly, coordinate your stockings with your new traditional Christmas decor. Hang either traditional red or Buffalo checked stockings off of the mantel.
Below the mantel means mainly one thing at Christmas: stockings! We like to let our Christmas stockings take center-stage, so the Christmas decor items we favor are ones that enhance the overall look of those stockings.
Stocking hangers are multi-functional Christmas decor. Not only do they hold your stockings, but they also can be a stylish mantel decoration that coordinates with your other Christmas decor. If you already have your mantel decorated or you just know that you won’t have a lot of extra space up there, attach lightweight, yet sturdy stocking holders that have gripper pads so the stocking stays in place.
For tips and unique ideas on how to hang stockings, see our article “Creative Ways to Hang Christmas Stockings.”