Our 21 Best Ideas For Decorating Christmas Mantels

Off Kilter Garland for Christmas
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

Cozying up to the fireplace with a warm cup of hot cocoa or a slice of our favorite Christmas cake is the perfect way to celebrate the holiday season. The fireplace is one of the first places that guests are drawn to upon entering the living room, making the fireplace mantel a prime place to decorate for Christmas cheer. From large hurricane vases filled with beautiful candles to a garland draped over the mantle, we've got many merry Christmas mantel ideas to spark your holiday imagination. Use plenty of red and green for festive mantel decorating, or tone it down for a rustic living room or coastal Christmas home. Get creative and decorate your outdoor fireplace , too. And, definitely don't forget the holiday stockings. No matter what you decide to use to decorate your mantel for Christmas, flipping through our mantel decorating ideas is the perfect way to get started.

01 of 21

Incorporate Evergreens

Christmas Mantel with Red and Mangolia Accents
Laurey W. Glenn

Bring pint-sized trees indoors and line them on your mantel for a rustic and woodsy Christmas mantel. Here a magnolia garland frames the mini forest, while bright ribbons and green apples add pops of color. Andirons and a stack of chopped wood add warmth to any Christmas display, even in a non-functioning fireplace.

02 of 21

Use A White And Green Palette

Sophisticated & Natural
Erica George Dines

To get this look, start with a feathery cedar garland, nestling large frosted pinecones in the garland and wiring smaller cones to branches for an out-of-the-woods look. Next, add height and freshness with white and green flowers, such as paperwhites ( Narcissus tazetta ) and white amaryllis in rustic terracotta and zinc containers. Finally, add color with fruits such as oranges and limes and fragrance with bundles of cinnamon sticks and scented votive candles.

03 of 21

Have A Coastal Christmas

The Coastal Getaway
Laurey W. Glenn

Seafoam blue, silvery green, splashes of white, and beachy foliage make this one breezy and bright mantel. This coastal home used palmetto fronds alongside a wreath. Instead of a pine garland, try a wiry manzanita branch (like those found at bloomsandbranches.com ). Line the ledge with seaside-inspired accents such as ceramic shell tree forms, bleached pinecones, and starfish, then mix in shimmery turquoise ornaments for sparkle.

04 of 21

Make A Statement

Christmas Decorating Ideas: Peacock Feathers
Photo by Laurey W. Glenn

Christmas is all about glitter and gold, right? Use peacock feathers in lieu of traditional holiday flowers for a mantel that makes a statement. When paired with mirrored ornaments and curly willow branches, they add just enough color to complement the Christmas tree.

05 of 21

Dot Your Garland With Winter Gems

Winter Gems Pomander Garland

Photo: Hector Manuel Sanchez Styling: Christina Brockman

Embellish the mantel greenery with vibrant citrus creations. To make pomanders, use a toothpick to poke holes into each orange in the shape of your design (you can either draw it on or freehand it); then push in the whole cloves. Adorn the fireplace with magnolia leaves and sprigs of foliage, like Carolina hemlock. Nestle in as many pomanders as you wish for bursts of color. Secure the clove-studded oranges within the leaves and branches either by using florist picks (with the pointed end pushed into the fruit) or attaching them with wire.

06 of 21

Take It Outdoors

Set a Holiday Scene In Your Outdoor Room
Photo: Erica George Dines

Decorate your backyard retreat or screened porch for the holidays, too. A beautiful Christmas tree takes center stage while the mantle is adorned with fresh greenery and natural materials. A simple wreath above the fireplace completes the stunning scene.

07 of 21

Make Your Garland Extra Lush

Lush Mantel Swag
Photo: Emily J. Followill

To get this extra-lush look, start with a store-bought garland. Space five pieces of water-soaked florist foam, secured inside cages, behind it. (Cover your mantel in plastic to protect it.) Now create your lush masterpiece by inserting clipped magnolia, holly, pine, cedar, and aspidistra leaves in the foam. Complete the look by layering in milo, millet, and rose hips.

08 of 21

Have Some Fun

Off Kilter Garland for Christmas
Laurey W. Glenn

We love an elegant Christmas display, but this joyful season is also about fun. A simple evergreen garland becomes more playful with moose antlers and a wreath hung overhead. Don't be afraid to embrace the jolliness of the holiday.

09 of 21

Brighten With Red Roses

City Scene Mantel
Laurey W. Glenn

Use roses for an unexpected splash of red on your Christmas mantel. To make the floral arrangement, you'll need red roses and a shallow rectangular container lined with florist foil and damp florist foam that's been cut to 1 inch above the edge of the container. Gather roses into groups of three, insert them into the florist foam, and fill gaps with evergreen sprigs and berries (we chose hypericum).

10 of 21

Add Candles Everywhere

Christmas Mantel
Helen Norman

For a finishing touch, add loads of candles to your mantel for a vintage feel and a relaxing golden glow in the evenings. Use candles of varying heights, sprinkling in a few tea lights for good measure. Don't leave candles unattended—electric candles are a safe choice with just as much charm.

11 of 21

Try A Boxwood Garland

Sarah Tuttle Christmas Fireplace Mantel
Laurey W. Glenn

Forgo a pine or magnolia garland and try a lush boxwood garland paired with gold accents, such as these elegant reindeer candlesticks. For a refined look, choose a garland long enough to gracefully sweep the floor on either side of the mantel. Spritz your garland daily or spray with an anti-dessicant spray.

12 of 21

Keep It Simple

Andrew Howard's Home Decorated For Christmas Fireplace with Magnolia Garland
Hector Manuel Sanchez; Styling: Liz Strong

If you have an especially ornate fireplace, keep it simple with a plain garland or stockings. This Charleston fireplace is tiled with a striking crescent tile. Ready-made unadorned magnolia garland from The Magnolia Company (a nearby Florida supplier) frames it without stealing the spotlight.

13 of 21

Embrace Rustic Materials

Refined Rustic Christmas Decorations
Southern Living

The grasscloth wallpaper and cool slate fireplace in this living room make it natural to use a holiday palette with organic colors and textures. Burlap unifies the look, with homespun stockings on the mantel, an oversize bow topping the tree, and gifts wrapped in the woven material. Wood-carved initials identify the owners of the stockings, while a pine bough dresses the antique on the mantel.

14 of 21

Celebrate With Citrus

Fresh Lemon Garland Hanging Over Fireplace Mantel
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn; Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas and Buffy Hargett Miller

If you live in the subtropical South or just enjoy dreaming about winter getaways, a garland of lemons will brighten things right up (a selection of Florida's famous oranges works well too). Nestle lemons and magnolia leaves in a garland draped over the mantel. Set vases of white amaryllis on each side for a look that is warm and light.

15 of 21

Display A Collection Of Mercury Glass

Vintage Christmas Decorations: Mercury Glass Vases
Photo by Laurey W. Glenn

Display family heirlooms or collect antique or reproduction mercury glass vases for your mantel. The silvered glass has a gleam that adds holiday sparkle and vintage charm. Keep in mind that antique mercury glass should be kept out of reach of children—newer objects are manufactured without toxic mercury.

16 of 21

Make It Unexpected

Hillenmeyer Living Room with Fireplace Decorated for Christmas
Photo: Alison Gootee; Styling: Suzonne Stirling

This traditional garland becomes unexpected with a collection of antlers emerging from the foliage. Two topiaries that typically live outdoors flank the mantel. Try using classic materials in unusual ways for a Christmas mantel that will surprise your guests.

17 of 21

Keep Things Relaxed

James Farmer Cottage Living Room
Laurey W. Glenn

Corresponding vases filled with woody holly and boxwood branches dress this rustic space without becoming fussy. The bright red berries and orange-hued flowers hint at Christmas but would look suitable all winter long. See the rest of this 2,000-square-foot Georgia cottage decorated for Christmas .

18 of 21

Fix A Garland Over The Fireplace

Dana Wolter Living Room Decoated for Christmas
Laurey W. Glenn

You can still have a festive Christmas display even if you don't have a true mantel. This living room fireplace's trim is flush with the wall, so the homeowner affixed a garland over the top. Small tacks or small-headed hanging nails can be used for the stockings.

19 of 21

Put A Partridge In A Pear Tree

The Paxton Mantel in Thomasville, GA
Photo: Robbie Caponetto; Styling: Lisa Powell Bailey

Or, for a more locally appropriate display, how about decorating with a duck in an orange tree? These homeowners used an assemblage of local and all-natural materials (including satsumas from a tree on the property), as well as a duck decoy and mahogany document box that date back to the 1800s. Feathers and pine cones complete the outdoorsy display.

20 of 21

Break Out The Ornaments

Charlotte Lucas Christmas Garland Fireplace
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn; Styling: Elly Poston Cooper

Christmas ornaments aren't just for the tree. Add some shine to your natural garland with a variety of oversized ornaments in lovely jewel tones. Glittering birds flank each side for extra flair.

21 of 21

Dress Up The Holiday Mantel

How To Decorate A Holiday Mantel
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

Get inspired by nature and decorate a holiday mantel with an easy formula for a magazine-worthy display. Across the top of your mantel, arrange a thick length of garland. Wire a thick green bow in the middle, and then artfully weave the ribbon tails throughout the greenery. Work in pinecones, berry branches, berries, and various greenery sprigs for layers of holiday color and texture. Hang a wreath above the center of the mantel for the perfect festive finishing touch.

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