How I Decorate My Mantel for Christmas

by Diane Henkler on 11/30/2010

 Layla and Kevin over at The Lettered Cottage are having a Christmas Link Party for mantels.  I had to link up as I have a mantel in my home that has a special story associated with it.

This mantel in my dining room is just the mantel, it is not attached to the wall, there is no fireplace behind it. It was the mantel in my hubby’s father’s boyhood home.  When the house was sold, all my father-in-law wanted was this mantel – as it carried fond Christmas memories for him.  As a child who grew up during the depression and came of age during WWII, money was scarce in his home and at Christmas there were not many presents under the tree, but there was always an orange hidden in this mantel for him to find on Christmas morning.   There is a shelf on the back under the opening.

Today we take the availability of an orange for granted, but back then it was a very special treat.   When my girls were little, we started a new tradition- the mantel  became a great place to hide Easter eggs for them to find.

Christmas Decorting Ideas Mantels

When my husband and I first got the mantel, it was dark brown with chipped veneer.  I sanded it and Spackled and sanded it more, then painted it white and it came to life for us. It has moved into five different houses with us and has been part of our home since we were married.

How to decorate a Mantel for Christmas

I like my Christmas decorating to be eye catching, yet simple. The only theme I follow is from my heart and of course purple.

Christmas Mantel Decorating Ideas

Every year I like to use a different color with the purple accents. This year it is lime. I bought  a box of classic ball ornaments in lime from Walmart for $5.00.  They have every color imaginable all lined up along the aisle in the Christmas decorations department.

Christmas Mantel Decorating Ideas

I found the wide lime ribbon at Michaels.


Decorating for Christmas Ideas

I like the classic traditional look of Christmas, tweaked.  It still says Christmas to me – warm, festive, nostalgic – plus I can create merry in minutes.  I love the touch of shine, it adds simple elegance.

Mantel Ideas for decorating for Christmas

 I found the glass candle holders at HomeGoods a few years ago.

Mantle Decorating Ideas for Christmas

The real fireplace with a mantel in my home is in my family room.  I can’t make it very pretty as there is a flat screen TV hogging all the space.  Does anybody have any good ideas on how to decorate a mantel for Christmas when a TV is mounted on the wall?  I hang the stockings and that is about it.


{ 72 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Funky Junk Interiors November 30, 2010 at 7:55 pm

Ohhhhh love your purple and lime theme! It’s so different and wonderful! Everything glows so lovely. Wonderful effect!



2 Kim November 30, 2010 at 8:13 pm

Your mantel is just stunning. Love the purple and lime and that satin ribbon is wonderful. What a gorgeous mantel with such great history and memories. Would love for you to join the party this week which includes Christmas.


3 Linda @ A La Carte November 30, 2010 at 8:15 pm

I love your mantel. What a wonderful story and this makes it so special. I love the decorations. Purple and lime green….wow!


4 Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions November 30, 2010 at 8:26 pm

Just beautiful,Diane, but I knew yours would be! : ) Love the colors and the simplicity. I’m getting lots of ideas and, thankfully, it is still early enough to keep tweaking!


5 Diana K November 30, 2010 at 8:32 pm

It is absolutely gorgeous. My daughter always has purple ornaments too..and last year she added silver and lime green. It is very pretty.

Uh…the flat screen? How about a nice big ol’ Christmas towel? lol Diana


6 Amanda @ House Revivals November 30, 2010 at 8:45 pm

Love this mantel — I think it’s my favorite one, yet! You can get frames with “mirrors” in them to go over your TV. You don’t see the mirror when the TV is on. It’s a little pricey, but could be worth it? Or you could move the TV? You can actually end up with injuries to the neck and back from watching a TV that’s mounted above (seated) eye level.


7 Michaela November 30, 2010 at 8:46 pm

I just adore the purple accents, as it’s my favorite color!! And the two mirrors behind the wreath is adorable (: so chic!


8 megandvd November 30, 2010 at 8:49 pm

Oh I am SWOONING over the lime and purple. FABULOUS combo my dear…and that bow with the dangle of purple — perfection. :)



9 The Polka Dot Closet November 30, 2010 at 9:21 pm

What a great story, the mantel is beautiful! I think you are “In” this year as I am seeing a lot of bright green, it is sooo pretty!



10 Diane December 1, 2010 at 12:14 am

Hi Carol-

I have been seeing it too and am really liking it. I have some old tablecloths in the color and I am thinking about cutting them up and making pillows for my sofa.


11 beachhouseliving November 30, 2010 at 9:48 pm

The color combination looks great. The entire display does however it’s the story of the mantle and how it has traveled with you that seems to make it all the more lovely.


12 Betsy November 30, 2010 at 10:00 pm

This is just so elegant and beautiful. I love the colors and the lights. Also, I love your candleholders. Everything just glows!


13 Just B November 30, 2010 at 10:07 pm

Beautifully done! I love LIME GREEN with any color….so striking with the purple. :)


14 Jerri Ann November 30, 2010 at 10:27 pm

Oh girl I love your mantle decorations. They are so creative and so simple. Love the color combination, it’s just stunning.

But you know, the story . . . that was the icing on the cake for me. I love that you shared that story with us. Thank you. I’m passing that on to my kids so that they can pass it on to their kidos. We all need to remember that it isn’t always easy.

Merry Christmas.


15 Diane December 1, 2010 at 12:11 am

Hi Jerri Ann-

Thanks. My daughters never met my father in law, he died before they were born. We have a picture of him that I move around the house and it has been on the mantel. They love the story and used to get behind the mantel and play with their dolls on the shelf. I am sure when each of them has a home of their own – they both are going to want it.


16 Lynda November 30, 2010 at 10:46 pm

Absolutely love your mantel, especially the story behind it. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful story. {personally I would get rid of the tv, or put it in a corner. How can you enjoy a peaceful fire with a tv over it?}


17 Diane December 1, 2010 at 12:04 am

Hi Lynda-

When I am relaxing in front of the fire I don’t have the tv on. I have music playing – a fireplace adds so much ambience to a room. I love coming home from work and lighting the fire, then snuggling on the sofa until I have to make dinner. I just have to keep the decorations really simple or it looks cluttered.


18 cristin @ simplified bee November 30, 2010 at 11:12 pm

Love your mantel and the story behind it. One year you need to decorate with oranges! Love the layered mirror and pops of purple. So fun!



19 Diane November 30, 2010 at 11:59 pm

Hi Cristin-

I thought about doing just that, but thought it would look too autumn like. Since I am taking all the pumpkins down, I wanted to use a new color scheme. But it is a great idea – thanks


20 kathysue November 30, 2010 at 11:31 pm

I love the simplicity and elegance of your mantel. The pop of purple with the green looks amazing. Great ribbon choice and your bow is perfect, Kathysue


21 Courtney @ Cooking Up A Family November 30, 2010 at 11:54 pm

I love the purple and lime with the pretty! I also have two mirrors in our family room and so glad to see someone else do something similar! I thought it might be weird but seeing yours I am reassured!


22 Kim November 30, 2010 at 11:55 pm

Thank you, Diane for linking this to my party. It is so pretty!


23 Lee Laurie December 1, 2010 at 12:36 am

What a sweet story about your mantle. I would keep it for always. It looks so pretty painted white too. I love your colors, purple and lime green. Very eye catching.


24 Marianne@Songbird December 1, 2010 at 2:05 am

What a wonderful surprising combination of purple and lime. Looks great and so original. Enjoy the holiday season!


25 Heidi December 1, 2010 at 2:35 am

Wow, I love that story! How nice to have something in your home with such memories. I also love the idea of the faux mantel/fireplace. I’m in need of one like that in our living room which doesn’t currently have a fireplace. Love your blog and the ideas you’ve shared! Thanks! Oh, I’m curious how you hung the ribbon over the mirror. Obviously it is a fake hang, right?


26 Becca@Adventures in Decorating December 1, 2010 at 7:56 am

The purple and green are absolutely beautiful together. Your mantel is so very warm and inviting! I love how you layered the mirrors and the wreath … the green ribbon being the perfect touch. I’ve been a huge fan of the shatterproof ornaments from Wal-Mart this year, too (and have used those same green balls throughout my home). FUN. Take care, *Becca*


27 Diane December 1, 2010 at 9:54 pm

Hi Becca-

The shatterproof ornaments are great, especially if you have a cat named, Trax who thinks they are his to play with!


28 Patricia December 1, 2010 at 7:58 am

Your mantel is gorgeous. I love the history associated with it. How special.


29 Melinda December 1, 2010 at 9:16 am

Beautiful! Love the color combination. Great family story. One question…how did you anchor the wreath behind the larger mirror.


30 Diane December 1, 2010 at 4:57 pm

Hi Melinda-

To hang the wreath on the mirror – I wrapped a long piece of ribbon around the wreath and then stapled the ribbon with a staple gun to the top of the mirror frame. I used two staples – one on each end of the ribbon. I let the excess ribbon hang behind the mirror so there was nothing bunched up on the top. I then took another long piece of ribbon and tied a bow around the ribbon holding the wreath up.

Variation: If you want to take your mirror down off the wall, you can staple the ribbon to the back of the frame. My mirror is big and heavy and I didn’t want to remove it. Hope this helps.


31 Mrs. G December 1, 2010 at 10:17 am

Absolutely beautiful. Love the story behind the mantel.. it brought a tear to my eye.


32 Diane December 1, 2010 at 9:52 pm

Hi Mrs. G


33 Bonnie@Creative Decorating December 1, 2010 at 11:26 am

This is so pretty! I hope to do something similar. I have been gathering ideas from so many blogs and hope to compose into my own!!!


34 Diane December 1, 2010 at 9:51 pm

Hi Bonnie-

That is what I love to hear! You are looking for inspiration and then doing it in your own style. The best way to do eveything.


35 teresa December 1, 2010 at 11:40 am

I love it. Love the purple and green together!


36 Lilianna Grace December 1, 2010 at 12:12 pm

Do mine, do mine, do mine! I love it, so perfectly simple and bright. It’s oh so pretty!


37 Diane December 1, 2010 at 9:49 pm

Hi Liliannna-

If you lived near me, I would. I do decorate homes for people. I have a few of the same people every year. I have even been asked to do ouside decorations, but that requires a whole different mind set. I am lucky just getting my outside lights and wreaths up.


38 Kim December 1, 2010 at 1:21 pm

Your mantle is gorgeous. I love the non-traditional color scheme and the glass candleholders – simply beautiful!


39 Titti @ Shoestring Pavilion December 1, 2010 at 6:50 pm

Love that color theme – yum! I’m using some of that in our living room as well. Great choice :)


40 Stephanie@cre8tive December 1, 2010 at 9:24 pm

Wow that is stunning! I like the simplicity of it yet the elegance it conveys. I haven’t browsed the mantle party, but yours is my number one so far!


41 Diane December 1, 2010 at 9:36 pm

Hi Stephanie-
Thanks. There are so many mantels and so much inspiration in color usage as well as objects and placement. I have only gotten through a third of the list so far.


42 Courtney December 2, 2010 at 12:19 am

Beautiful!! Love the lime and purple!! Lime and chartreuse are two of my favorites! Stopping by from Kim’s B&A party. :)


43 pk @ Room Remix December 2, 2010 at 9:43 am

It’s so pretty Diane! I love the layered mirrors with the wreath and what a great color scheme.


44 karen@strictlysimplestyle December 2, 2010 at 9:45 am

I stopped over to thank you for becoming a follower and have had the best time poking around your blog. The DIY slipcovers are bookmarked! Love your blog, I’m your newest follower.


45 Jenni December 2, 2010 at 1:25 pm

I love the mantel and I love the story that goes with it. . . but I really love the white dishes I see in the reflection! Thanks for visiting my blog as well!



46 Rene December 2, 2010 at 3:23 pm

Your mantle/mantel is absolutely stunning. I love the green-purple combo. Truly beautiful.



47 Joy December 3, 2010 at 12:54 am

Very pretty!


48 madina December 3, 2010 at 10:05 pm

Beautiful! Now I know what is missing on my mantel- lights. Will buy them next week. Thank you!


49 Diane December 4, 2010 at 8:36 am

Hi Madina-

One of the girls I work wiht saw this post and said exactly the same thing. The lights bring the greenery to life.


50 Jenny December 4, 2010 at 9:44 am

Wonderful story and beautiful mantel. I thought my mantel was finished, but after seeing your lights I think I need to add some to mine.


51 Megan Berry December 4, 2010 at 9:48 am

Love the combination of purple and green! It looks great and makes me wish I had a mantel!!


52 Michelle @ Sweet Something Design December 6, 2010 at 12:55 am

Great job, so beautiful! I love that ribbon!


53 Megan December 6, 2010 at 11:06 am

What a bright and festive mantel. I love the colors!


54 Scribbler December 6, 2010 at 10:57 pm

Your old mantel and its story are wonderful! I have an old one, too, but unfortunately it doesn’t have any personal connection. The purple and lime green are smashing, and I appreciate the tip about how to hang a wreath in front of the mirror. I also have one that is too heavy to move around at will. It’s so nice the way you make the comment section a dialog!


55 Yoli December 7, 2010 at 2:57 pm

Luv, luv, luv how you decorated your mantel. It was the finishing touch I needed for my own fireplace. I already had the mirror over the fireplace and a wreath I purchased just yesterday. So all I needed was the inspiration to put the two together. Awesome! Thank you!


56 Diane December 8, 2010 at 3:13 pm

Hi Yoli

Thanks for connecting with me – it always makes me smile to know that a reader was inspired by something I did. :)


57 Carmie of the Single Nester December 14, 2010 at 4:25 pm

What a lovely mantel. I love the colors!


58 Diane December 14, 2010 at 5:51 pm

Hi Carmie-

Thanks so much. The mantel is in my dining room and I don’t spend a whole lot of time in there. I am looking forward to Christmas dinner in the room. I will turn the lights down and enjoy the glow.


59 Chris Hanson December 19, 2011 at 12:34 pm

I have just begun to follow decorating blogs and you always have something fabulous to share.
I love the idea of placing two mirrors on the mantel. Separately the mirrors would be attractive, but wouldn’t make a statement. Combined they are very significant, but still neutral enough to serve as a backdrop for other items.
I’d love to the same thing. Do you attach the smaller mirror to the larger one? I’m worried that it might slide off of my mantel.
Happy holidays.


60 Diane December 19, 2011 at 1:10 pm

Hi Chris-

Thanks for the nice note. I just have the second one leaning up against the larger one that is attached to the wall. It has been up for over a year and I haven’t had any problems. If you are worried about it slipping or sliding forward, you can place the mirror where you want and make a “Stop” for it. You can do this with two tiny nails – nailed into the mantel top. Let the nails stick up a bit and they will stop the mirror from sliding. You can also use double stick foam tape. Cut a piece and tack it down right under the front edge of the mirror. The foam texture and stickiness will help it from sliding. One thing you may want to do is clean up the back edge of the second mirror or paint it black and remove any hardware. If you don’t it will be reflected in the first mirror.

Happy Holidays


61 Chris Hanson December 19, 2011 at 2:14 pm

Thanks for your answer. I thought that I might get a response in a couple of days, but certainly wasn’t expecting anything so soon.
I’m off to the thrift store to find a second mirror. The hunt is half the fun of getting the project done.
Take care,


62 The Maven January 16, 2012 at 1:10 pm
63 Maria May 30, 2012 at 9:59 am

You have such great and beautiful ideas, but I have one question for you. How do I decorate for the Jewish Holidays, I would love to do something like your mantel and I have tried through out the years, but I would love some ideas from you. I do decorate half and half (sometimes) but most of the time is just for our Holiday and its alwasy more or less the same colors, blue, silver, white.
Would love some imput or pictures?


64 Kathie November 25, 2012 at 7:49 pm

I love this mantle and shopped today to replicate it. One problem, I can’t find garland as full. Where did you get it?


65 Diane Henkler November 25, 2012 at 11:07 pm

Hi Kathie -

I bought the garland at a craft store in PA about 6 years ago. It was Michael’s or AC Moore. If you can’t find it, you can double up thinner garland by twisting it together and then fluffing it. We did this all the time when I worked in display.


66 Kathy December 5, 2012 at 3:04 pm

I love this so much, I want to do this with my mantle that is similar to this one. Did you use regular lighted garland and glue the purple and green balls to it?


67 Diane Henkler December 5, 2012 at 3:15 pm

Hi Kathy – I wove two or three strands of lights to the garland. I attached the balls to the garland with green florist wire that you can get a a crafts store.


68 Lois Tipton September 7, 2013 at 1:43 pm

Love your blog and look forward to your project ideas. I wanted to know how you made the white faux brick panel inside the mantle from your husband’s homeplace? I have wanted to put a mantle in a room but didn’t want it to look toooooo fake. Wish I had your energy level and maybe I did when I was your age! Lois Tipton


69 Diane Henkler September 8, 2013 at 1:43 pm

Thanks Lois – I made the faux brick screen many years ago. Here is what I did. I hinged 3 plywood boards together. The center one larger then the two side boards. When it stands on end, it is like a folding screen. When placed behind the mantel, the two side panels move forward making it look like a firebox. I used faux bricks and the mortar that came with the bricks to attach them to the front of the boards. They used to sell the faux bricks at Home Depot – 20+ years ago. They are about 1/4″ thick. I painted them white last year. Before that they were a red brick color.


70 Beth December 7, 2013 at 1:49 pm

I love this idea, and went looking for wide lime green ribbon at Michaels here in Durham NC and could not find any. Even went to AC Moore. What is the width and type of ribbon? It’s soooo pretty!
Thanks for sharing. Beth in NC


71 Diane Henkler December 8, 2013 at 9:02 pm

Hi Beth – It is sold in the Floral crafts and I have even seen it in the bridal aisle – not with the ribbon. I am not sure why they put it there. I used it 2 years ago and do not have anymore of it, so I can’t measure it for you. It was wide – 4 -6 inches.


72 De Angeles Davis December 28, 2013 at 8:54 am

Absolutely simple and beautiful. Loved the mirror project too. Really awakened the dead space over the piano. Great job!


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