How To Decorate A Fireplace Mantel for the Holidays

When we first bought our new house, I was excited to have a fireplace for the very first time. And in all honesty, it wasn’t for the chance to cuddle up by a burning fire. It was purely based on the fact that I couldn’t wait to decorate that fireplace mantel for the holidays!

I mean, don’t get me wrong… a burning fireplace sounds dreamy. But we have yet to actually burn a real fire in ours because I’m so afraid of having a real fire indoors.

I grew up with a gas fireplace, which we used all the time (and loved!!), but converting ours to gas wasn’t an option during phase 1 of our construction. So building a real fire with real smoke and a very real chance to do damage has not been on top of our priority list. Am I a total crazy person for being so nervous about this?! Yes, probably.

BUT, decorating this said fireplace mantel for the holidays… that’s a different story. This is something that’s at the very top of my priority list and has been since the day we moved in.

Tips To Decorate A Fireplace Mantel For The Holidays

I love the look of a cozy fireplace mantel around the holidays, but I also didn’t have a ton of time (or money) to make our space festive for the holidays. So I figured this year I was going to keep it simple and possibly build on throughout the future.

how to decorate a mantel for the holidays

So for anyone else looking for easy tips to decorate a fireplace mantel for the holidays, today’s post is for you because I don’t know how much more simple this setup can get. Here are the 5 easy and inexpensive things I added to create a festive holiday mantel.

1. Garland

decorating a fireplace mantel for ChristmasThe first thing I added was the garland on the top of the mantel. I bought two strands from Michaels (50% off) and they stretched the entire length of the mantel. Michaels has some amazing options to choose from, just make sure you catch them on sale so you can snag them two for one.

tricks and tricks for easy mantel decoratingAlso, be careful of the shedding glitter! Some of the garland options don’t have any extra “embellishments” but I liked this one that had a dusting of snowy/glitter on the garland. I had NO idea the amount this garland would shed that winter wonderland layer until I brought it home and it was too late. I still love the look but it’s definitely an issue worth mentioning.

Someday I’d love to experiment with real garland but for now… baby steps!

2. Battery Operated Lights

After I laid the garland across the mantel, I added the EASIEST layer of lights! I bought these lights and a package of double A batteries. We don’t have any accessible electrical up there and did not want any cords hanging down, so these battery power lights were such a gamechanger.easy battery power lights on garland

I simply hid the battery box under the garland and laid the lights among the garland. I didn’t do any “wrapping” but instead just spread them out on each piece of garland and tucked them into the garland every so often.

christmas tree and mantel decorating ideasAt night we turn on the lights and LOVE the subtle detail. Plus, these affordable lights come with three settings so they can blink, sparkle, or just stay on. We’re boring and stick with the traditional “on” preference, but for some of you more exciting decorators, the blinking/sparkly options are fun!

3. Stocking Holdershanging stockings on a mantel

I then picked up three plain stocking holders from Joanna Gaines’ Magnolia line at Target. I personally like that these are simple and “hide” under the garland.

4. Stockingsplaid stockings from Magnolia Home at Target

In true Target fashion, I picked up three of these plaid stockings while I was there (among a cart of other “Target necessities”).

plaid stocking at target

Someday I think we’ll get the stockings embroidered? I haven’t thought about that too much, but I think it would be a fun touch down the road. Our stockings growing up always had our names on them (painted in glitter, thanks mom!) and we LOVED that.

5. Extra Accessories (Optional)

I opted out of the extra accessories this year, but I love how others add candlesticks on the opposite side of the mantel from where the stockings are hung (I loved these!). This is a great way to add height and a decorative touch to the other side.

basket of gifts on a fireplace a mantel

Other people also add a basket on the opposite side of the fireplace filled with presents, logs, or more greenery. This is another great way to add a hint of decoration while evening out the heavier stocking side.

adding christmas cards to a fireplace mantel

Inspiration via The Glitter Guide

And last, but certainly not least, I’ve seen others drape the holiday cards they receive along the mantel. My sister does this by using twine and mini clothespins. Such an easy way to showcase all of those creative cards all season long.

simple and easy fireplace mantel ideas

But since we’re going simple this year, the garland + lights + stockings was enough to kick off our first “official” Christmas in this house. We’ll have plenty of time in this house to add layers over the years.

In the meantime, I’d love to hear about how you decorate your mantel! Any easy, affordable and creative ideas I’m missing?!

Bridget