8 Ideas for Holiday Mantel Decor

Transform your mantel for the holidays with these garden-inspired decorating ideas.

Harvest Mantel

Everything you need to decorate your mantel this holiday season can be found in your garden or in your home. These inspiring mantle decorations utilize objects many people already own, and plants you can harvest in the fall and winter. Use these ideas to spark your own mantel displays.

Arranging Edibles

This harvest mantel is made entirely from vegetables you can harvest from your own garden, or pick up at your local farmers' market. We used gourds, squash, Brussels sprouts, artichokes, asparagus, cabbage and kale to create this arrangement. If your house isn't extremely warm, your display should last for a few days. When you notice leaves starting to wilt, wash them and enjoy them for dinner!

A Garden of Vases

Pull out all of your glass vases and create an arrangement on your mantelpiece. Fill the vases with your favorite fresh winter blooms, or dried leaves and flowers. These dried pussy willow branches work wonderfully with fresh cut spider mums.

Winter Colors

Keep winter colors in mind when choosing the plants you want to display. Whites, grays, blues and creams will keep your display appropriately seasonal. This will be especially helpful if you choose blooms that aren't in season.

Christmas Forest

Create a snowy forest on your mantel with a variety of miniature Christmas trees. Use fresh cut branches, pinecones and even twigs to create your own Christmas trees, and sprinkle in a few fabricated ones as well. Metallic trees work wonderfully.

All in the Details

Rather than using typical fake snow on your mantel, we suggest pulling out your white doilies, balls of yarn and bits of white thread to create a white landscape. Add little gold or silver beads or miniature ornaments to your trees, and place a few in your "snow" for a finishing touch.

Christmas Toys

Search through your old toy box or your grandparents' attic to find the perfect objects for a vintage Christmas arrangement. Try to keep all of your toys in a similar theme: tin toys, wooden toys, or toys from a specific country or era. We used toys made in Germany for this arrangement.

A Green Backdrop

Create a beautiful green landscape for your toys by covering the mantel with moss. Build it up along the back wall to create an organic feel. If you have a large landscape painting or photograph that fits with your theme, hang it above your village to tie everything together.

Initial Topiaries

You can create beautiful initial topiaries for your mantel with a bit of moss, glue and cardboard or wood. Cut out the initial shape, or head down to your local craft store and buy one ready made. Carefully hot glue moss onto the letter, covering the surface completely. Attach the letters to a stick and plant them in a pot for display.

Tell Your Story

Once your initial topiaries are complete, you'll need to arrange them with other pieces on your mantel. Try setting up a large mirror in the center, and place your letters on either side. Include other objects in your display that are special to your family. Represent your family not only by their initials, but also with favorite objects that illustrate who you are.

Minimalist Mantel

Keep your mantel decor simple and clean with a few small pinecones, candles and string. Tie a lengths of string around the stems of your pinecones and hang the cones in horizontal lines above the mantel.

Add a Festive Touch

If you want to make your mantel display a bit more festive, place a beautiful ornament or two at each end of the row of candles. Golds, creams and whites work great to keep things looking clean and unified.

Advent Wreath

This oversized advent wreath was created by weaving together seven different greens, a long-standing tradition in many countries around the world. We used five different evergreen conifers and two variations of holly to create ours, but you can choose any of your favorite greens from your yard.

Christmas Figures

Placing your favorite nativity set or other Christmas figures on the mantel under the advent wreath is a great way to tie everything together. If you really want your wreath to stand out, use items of similar colors and values on your mantel. The wreath will pop against the monochrome display.

Snowflakes and Flowers

Create a beautiful arrangement for your mantel with paper snowflakes and flowers. Use all white, or mix it up with different shades of cream for variety. Try using large and small flakes and flowers in your arrangement.

Cut Paper and Crochet

You can cut your snowflakes and flowers out of coffee filters, tissue paper, wrapping paper or any relatively thin paper you have around the house. If you'd like to add extra texture, use doilies, lace or other hand crafted items along with the paper.