Traditional Christmas Decorations For The Fireplace Mantel

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The fireplace is a focal point for your living room, and a central feature to the Christmas tradition. This year, decorate your living room fireplace mantel in the traditional style and celebrate your love of the season with these simple and classic ideas.

Traditional Christmas décor uses the familiar red and green color palette, with touches of nature and a little shimmer. As the most common and relaxed Christmas decoration theme, traditionally styled mantels are a breeze to create, and can typically be created from decorations you already own, and/or pieces easily found at home decor and retail stores. 


Nearly all Christmas themed mantel displays can be decorated with a garland- traditional style included. You'll want to start with a plain green garland, or one already fit with lights. If your garland does not come with lights, wrap a strand of white or colored string lights on a green wire around the garland, so the wire is hidden. You'll want to do this before hanging the garland, or adding any other decorations to it. Drape the garland from one end of your fireplace mantel to the other, making sure it does not droop near the fire. Securely fasten the garland with tacks, nails or hooks. Attach red and green ornaments and ribbons to the garland, as well as candy canes and small Christmas decorations.

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Using red, green and white candles is a great way to add traditional color and some additional light to your mantel display. Try some of these traditional Christmas candle ideas:

  • Fill mason jars partially with Epsom salt to resemble snow. Place a small to medium white, red or green candle inside the jar, nestled in the salt, and enjoy your "snow-filled" candleholder.
  • Cover a mason jar with craft glue, then roll in Epsom salt. The salt will stick to the outside of the jar, and resemble ice or snow. For added color, completely or partially dye the salt with red and/or green food coloring. Once dry, place a candle inside for a beautiful, subtle glow through the "iced over" mason jar.
  • Wrap a small pine branch around the base of a red pillar candle to create a red and green display.
  • Place red, green and white candles on gold or clear pillars on either end of the mantel.


  • Stockings: No mantel would be complete without a set of Christmas stockings. Be sure to use a steady hook or nail to secure each stocking to the mantel, and to make sure they don't hang too close to the fire. For a traditional Christmas décor theme, use red and green stockings, trimmed with ribbons, bells and Christmas images.
  • Collectibles: Classic Christmas collectibles like toy reindeer, elves or even Santa are a perfect addition to traditional Christmas décor. Keep them simple and uncluttered, though, as there is a fine line between collecting and hoarding. Try to use only one to five Christmas collectibles across your mantel.
  • Pinecones: Pinecones are an easy way to add a seasonal touch to your traditional Christmas decorations. For added color, spray paint pinecones red, green or white, and sprinkle them with colored glitter. Set directly on the mantel, or stack in a glass hurricane candleholder.
  • Trees: Many craft stores carry miniature pine trees during the holidays. Select small pine trees ranging in height from one to three feet tall, depending on the size of your mantel. For taller trees, be sure to place a second (or more) tree on the opposite end of the mantel, at least similar in height, to ensure the display looks balanced.
  • Poinsettia: A potted poinsettia is practically required for a traditional Christmas set up. Add this classic feature in its traditional potted form, or simply decorate your mantel with the red petals themselves. Tuck them into the garland, or bunch them around the base of a candle.
  • Large Ornaments: If you own any large ornaments, use this as easy mantel décor pieces. Lean them against small pine trees, the wall or floral displays to ensure they don't roll off the mantel and shatter. Avoid setting them against candleholders due to potential heat damage.
  • Candy Canes: Use candy canes to add a pop of red to green pine décor. Hang them from your garland, or fill a clear decorative cup or vase with them.


The final step in completing your traditional Christmas mantel décor is hanging a wreath above it. When selecting a Christmas wreath, stick to the characteristics of this design theme, and use reds, greens and whites, mixed with pine and a little sparkle from lights or ornaments. Traditional wreaths often also feature a large, red bow along the bottom, as well as small ornaments hung from the pine branches. You can also incorporate pinecones, candy canes and poinsettia petals. If you do add a set of string lights to the wreath, be sure to put it on before adding further decorations.

Last Updated: December 6, 2011
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About Alexandra Kerr Through Ideal Home Garden, Alexandra covers topics ranging from interior design to home improvement, gardening and cuisine. Having a passion for cooking and entertaining in her own life, she hopes to communicate her love of home design and decorating with her readers. 

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