Holiday Mantels

Confession: I have no Christmas decor up at home yet. It’s a tricky year. An emergency basement reno meant relocating several chunks of furniture to the tiny and fully furnished upstairs. There isn’t a spare inch of space while we await the carpet install. I’m pretty close to deciding against a tree entirely (gasp). Instead I think I will focus all my decorating efforts on the mantel. Here are some of the ideas I’m considering.

Funny enough, this shot looks like it could’ve been taken at my house. What a great way to display my collection of creamware and ironstone. I love the play between all of the different textures of greenery. I could get everything I need to pull this arrangement off at the grocery store — boxwood, cypress and spruce would do it.

White flowers are so elegant at Christmas. Sticking to single variety arrangements ensures styling success no matter what your skill level with flowers is. Two rows of beaded garland add a festive touch without being fussy. This beautiful mantel was styled by Tricia Foley and is actually in her bedroom. How luxurious to drift to sleep beside this fireplace!

This mantel is a lovely take on the “whole nine yards” approach. I don’t think I will dress my mantel quite this much but I may use magnolia and pine cones and a vintage silver trophy and water jug like you see here. The arrangements with the feathers are quite fantastic — the kind of thing I might expect to see on a Downton Abbey set.

Normally I’m a bit creeped out by nutcracker dolls (just like clowns) but somehow they are less threatening and more earthy and cute in their raw unpainted wood state. The artwork appeals to the type geek in me and I must admit “O Holy Night” works its magic on me every time — shivers. I might try writing out some of the lyrics on my gilt mirror with a dry erase marker.

I find people in the design/styling community are often anti-green-and-red for holiday decor. Too predictable, too commercial, they say. Well, I beg to differ and offer this photo in defense of red and green. Stunning. Cheerful. Chic. Love it.

This sweet little scheme would only take a few minutes to set up and it features one of my favourite tricks — using poinsettias as cut flowers. I especially love the pink varieties. Buy one or two big plants in different tones and then cut off the blooms and place them in whatever glass containers you have on hand — vases, jars, highball glasses. This asymmetrical display is so fun and romantic. Display Christmas cards on lengths of ribbon draped over a mirror, add more ribbon and cards as they arrive.

My place is so small I don’t have much room to store decorations that are only used a few weeks per year. That’s why I often decorate with fruits of the season. The pineapple is the universal symbol of welcome and hospitality — perfect for the holidays (and even better when cut up and dipped in Nutella fondue!). I also use clementines, pomegranates, grapes and pears. Decor that is beautiful, edible and biodegradable is the best decor of all.

See our gallery of Fireplaces & Mantel Displays for more decorating ideas.

Photo credits:
1. Southern Living via
2. Country Home
3. No Minimalist Here blog
4. Holly Mathis Interiors
5. House Beautiful, photography by José Picayo
6. Midwest Living
7. Country Living, photography by Gridley & Graves

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