Christmas Mantel Ideas

Your fireplace mantel is a sensational space to set up a gorgeous Christmas display that will impress your guests. Consider this your complete guide to decorating your mantel for Christmas, from hanging a garland and stockings to aesthetic inspiration to choosing the best items!

How to Decorate Your Mantel for Christmas

Creating the perfect Christmas mantel can be daunting, so we have some Christmas mantel ideas and tips to help you!

Settle on a Theme

Whenever you’re decorating, it’s helpful to select a distinct theme or aesthetic and use it to guide your decisions. While we love many aesthetics, choosing one is best to ensure the mantel is cohesive and tasteful. Some of our favorite themes are farmhouse, vintage, and boho, but there are many styles from which to choose.

Play With Height and Width

When selecting items for the mantel, try to choose items with different heights and widths so the mantel doesn’t look awkwardly uniform. A mantel with items of the same size can look bland and stiff, as the eye doesn’t know where to look. Look for items that complement one another and use space differently, as some may be bulky and round while others are slender and tall.

Utilize the Wall

Don’t forget the wall above your mantel if you have space there. You can hang a lovely wreath, antique painting, vintage artwork, or a family Christmas photograph. Using the wall above your mantel will immediately make the space look fuller and more cheerful, as empty spaces can look unusual or joyless.

Be Repetitive or Diverse

For the items themselves, you can be repetitive, as in you have all miniature Christmas trees or diverse, meaning you have animal figurines, Christmas trees, ornaments, pictures, and other items. A repetitive design can be more refined and understated, while a diverse collection of items will be more eye-catching and robust. Just try not to have all of one thing and then an outlier item.

Consider a Statement Piece

Sometimes, you only need one fabulous item to tie your whole mantel together. If you’re struggling to fill your mantel and complete the look, consider adding a larger, more extravagant piece that immediately draws the eye. It could be a large painting above the mantel or a robust little tree in the center.

How to Hang Christmas Garland Under a Mantel

When hanging a Christmas mantel garland, you have a few design options. Some techniques are easier than others, so consider how much effort you want to put into your garland hanging duties. Let’s look at your options.

Flat on Top of the Mantel

This option is by far the easiest. All you need to do is lay the garland flat on the top of the mantel. You’ll need to do this before adding any other Christmas mantel decorations. Laying it flat on top of the mantel requires very little effort, and depending on the type of garland, you may not even need any pins, tape, or nails to ensure it stays put.

Cascading Over the Mantel

Hanging a cascading garland requires a little more effort. Cascading garlands rest directly on the mantel’s lip, so it’s somewhat on top of the mantel but also leaning over the edge. It’s a stunning look but will require some finesse, as you need to position the hooks or pins just so to keep the garland in place.

Scalloped Along the Mantel

This option is one of our favorites because it’s elegant and eye-catching. You can space out the pins or hooks for your garland and allow the spaces between the pins to drape down, creating a scalloped look. You can also pin the garland on the two far ends of the mantel and let the whole garland sag in the middle for a relaxed, rustic look.

Pinned Beneath the Mantel

Lastly, pin the garland beneath the mantel so it floats between the mantel and the fireplace. This idea is perfect if you have many decorations for your mantel and either need to save space or want to create a less cluttered look. You can achieve it by using pins or hooks on the underside of the mantel.

Some people use nails, tape, or tacks to hang their garlands, which are secure options. Putting nails in your mantel and leaving them can make garland hanging easier next year. However, this is often not an option for people who rent or want to avoid damage to their mantel.

We highly recommend using removable hooks that will not leave scuffs, holes, or chips on your mantel. Clear hooks are best so they don’t detract from your beautiful garland and Christmas mantel décor.

What to Put on a Mantel at Christmas

When it comes to filling your mantel for Christmas, the options are endless. Christmas fireplace mantel décor can include any Christmas home décor you want, from candles to wreaths to tiny reindeer figurines. Let your imagination run wild and assess the Christmas décor you own and how it would look on your mantel. To inspire you, here is a list of some of our favorite Christmas items to place on your mantel:

  • Candles, candelabras, and candlesticks
  • Christmas garlands and wreaths
  • Figurines such as reindeer, penguins, elves, Santa Claus, or polar bears
  • Miniature Christmas trees
  • Festive bells
  • Colorful ribbons or bows
  • Loose ornaments
  • Holly, poinsettias, pine cones, and other natural Christmas items
  • Christmas vases or bowls
  • Christmas wall décors such as mirrors, vintage artwork, paintings, or photographs
  • Small wrapped boxes and presents
  • Christmas villages with small houses

How to Hang Christmas Stockings

Hanging Christmas stockings is easy, but there are more design options than you may think. First, we want to remind you that we recommend using clear removable hooks to hang Christmas items, as they’re easy to take down and won’t damage your mantel.

Also, check beneath your mantel for hooks, as some fireplaces have them built-in for Christmas stockings. Of course, you can hang your Christmas stockings anywhere in your home if you don’t want them near the fireplace. If you plan to hang your stockings on the mantel, we have some design ideas for you.

Evenly Spaced

The most common stocking design is evenly spacing the stockings across the mantel. It’s the easiest way to hang the stockings in an organized fashion, especially if you have an odd number and splitting them in half would look uneven.

Split Down the Middle

If you have many stockings in your home because you have a big family, splitting them down the middle is likely the best and safest choice. People who use their fireplace a lot should evenly space the stockings with half on either side of the fireplace. You can still do this if you only have two stockings, and it creates a balanced look while keeping your fireplace accessible.

Shifted to One Side

A more modern and unique way to hang your stockings is to put them all on the side of the mantel. This works better if you only have two or three stockings, but you can create a cascading effect by using longer and shorter hooks or pieces of string. The cascading design allows you to still see all the stockings at once.

Christmas Mantel Inspiration

To help you curate a stunning Christmas, we rounded up a few ideas for inspiration:

  • Traditional: Use a standard garland and stick to red and green items
  • Country: Find rustic and homey items like pine cones and plaid pieces
  • Contemporary: Keep it sleek and simple with streamlined silhouettes and muted colors
  • Glamor: Look for sparkly items and flamboyant pieces
  • Boho: Curate an eclectic look with colorful items and eccentric artwork
  • Wintery: Create a winter scape with all-white items and faux snow

These are a fraction of the possibilities, so find an idea that speaks to your style.

What goes on a mantel at Christmas?

We encourage you to experiment with our Christmas mantel décor ideas. When pulling out your Christmas decorations, place different items on the mantel until you find a combination you like. Frankly, almost all Christmas items can look lovely on a mantel.

How to decorate your mantel for Christmas?

The best way to decorate your mantel is to pick a theme or aesthetic and stick with it. Having a theme to follow makes it easy to curate a thoughtful mantel style that looks beautiful.

How do you hang Christmas garland under a mantel?

The easiest way to hang a garland beneath a mantel is with clear, removable hooks. Simply stick the hooks on the underside of the mantel and then drape your garland over the hooks.