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Steps to Decorate A Christmas Mantel

Steps to Decorate A Christmas Mantel

Red ribbons and bows complete the Christmas mantelpiece
Written and photographed by Marci Schneider

The love I have for Christmas décor cannot be put into words accurately.  I must show it to you year after year after year by decorating every square inch of my home in ribbons and trees and bows galore! My favorite area of our home that I always decorate first, however, is our Christmas mantel. I take such pride in designing this space and try to do something different with it each Christmas. My thought process in coming up with each design is always the same, and I’m going to share it with you today.

cardinlas reside in a nest ready for the final steps in decorating a Christmas mantel
Apart from a white dove, the cardinal, with its gorgeous red plumage, is a wonderful go-to Christmas bird.

What You’ll Need:

  • Garland 
  • 1 center focal point piece, such as a wreath, mirror, large Santa Clause, sled or Christmas sign
  • 2 anchor pieces; i.e., identical pieces of decor of the same height, such as Christmas trees, nutcrackers, Santa Clauses, art work or Christmas signs 
  • 1-2 small sentimental items 
  • Ribbons and/or bows 
  • Push pins or clear 3M hooks
  • Nails or 3M hooks (if hanging centerpiece)
  • Optional: stockings & stocking hangers

What You’ll Do:

1. Clear off your mantel and begin your Christmas mantel with a blank slate.

A bare mantel is the one of simple steps to decorate a Christmas mantel
When commencing your Christmas decorating, have your mantel as close to empty as possible.

2. Find your center point and position your centerpiece by hanging or leaning a wreath, piece of artwork or sign on the Christmas mantel.  This will establish symmetry.

Add a centerpiece for the simple steps to decorate a Christmas mantel
Add a wreath above your center point.

I chose to use a wreath as the centerpiece for my Christmas mantel, and hung it in the middle of our elk horns, which are a stationary focal point on our mantel. These horns stay fixated in the center of our mantel year-round, and the decor around them changes throughout the seasons.

Beautiful mini trees add symmetry to the Christmas mantel
Add symmetry to the mantelpiece to please the eye. Beautiful mini trees flank the center point of the mantel.

3. Hang your garland along the front edge of your Christmas mantel. I used push pins to attach my garland to our mantel.  There are multiple ways to hang garlands, so have fun with it! 

Next steps for decorating a Christmas mantel feature garlands
Add evergreen garlands for a woodland look.

This year I chose to hang our garland draping slightly in the front and let the ends hang down long on either side. This is a personal preference based on what look you like best.

See Also

4. Add layers to your garland, such as ribbons, beads, swag sticks, bows, etc. I layered my garland with a double strand of red beads and 3 plaid bows.

Red ribbons and bows complete the Christmas mantelpiece
Complete your Christmas mantel with festive extras, like these red ribbons and bows.
Cardinals appear inside the wreath of the Christmas mantel
Tucked inside the wreath, a sweet nest of cardinals adds to the woodland whimsy of the Christmas mantel.

Marci Schneider is a wife, mother of two little ones living in South Louisiana, and blogger behind MarciSchneider.com. Blogging began purely as a hobby—decorating, painting, interior styling, creating flower arrangements, and turning the ordinary into something lovely are what set her heart on fire. She was that child who asked for a doll house for Christmas, not for the dolls, but for the furniture that went inside it! Years later, she’s still doing what she truly believes is her calling and what God put her on this Earth to do.

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