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How to Update a Christmas Mantle

A mantle is one of the most important focal points of your home, especially at Christmas time. Everywhere (Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook) we are all showing off our mantle~best. Do Christmas mantles ever go out of style? You can update your Christmas mantle for a little mantle magic.

I’m not one to start completely from scratch ~ I love mixing the old and new, switching items around and coming up with a totally or slightly different look. Sometimes my efforts are intentional and sometimes, like this year’s Christmas mantle, the result is completely random.

How to Update a Christmas Mantle

When you are wanting to combine old and new elements on your Christmas mantle, first decide what is an absolute must. Remember, not everything can stay.

What’s Returning to the Christmas Mantle

When I started to update our Christmas mantle, I knew a few things would definitely be returning.

Our reindeer stocking holders ~ this is the 19th year we’ve had these brass reindeer, a Pottery Barn purchase. 1999 was the first Christmas that Sweet Shark and I and the kids were in our newly remodeled and family blended home. With 4 kids between us, I now needed 6 stocking holders and these were perfect. They look as good today as then did then.

updated Christmas mantle

The stockings ~ none of the kids have claimed theirs. They seem to like knowing that we have them. I needlepointed my kids and my stockings years ago. Sweet Shark’s sister made his and my step~son’s.

updated Christmas mantle

My Joy~Ful sign ~ this is only year 2 for my Christmas DIY sign and I definitely wanted to use it again. Here’s what it looked like last year.

Christmas mantle decorations

Green Garland ~ always a great foundation for any other Christmas mantle decor.

Lights ~ do I need to explain this? Definitely use battery-operated lights if you can. And timer lights are even better.

What’s New on this Christmas Mantle

Actually, there is nothing new~new. Just items that have never been on the mantle before.

First, I took our tall candlesticks off the mantle and placed them on each side of the fireplace for some height. They did get brand new red candles (after I realized that the gold ones didn’t show up.).

updated Christmas mantle

Then I wrapped some red beads around the candlesticks. Like it?

updated Christmas mantle

updated Christmas mantle

Updating the Christmas Mantle

Next we took down our Tarek original watercolor that we bought in 2005 on a cruise. It’s one our favorite purchases. Since I made the Joy~Ful sign last year, the painting is carefully put under the bed wrapped in a blanket during the holidays. The Joy~Ful sign goes right on the same hook.

updated Christmas mantle

Now I’m ready for the mantle. This is a different piece of green garland as the foundation at the back of the mantle. I love the green garland against the white of our mantle. Next came 5 strands of battery~operated lights. Because ya gotta have lights!

Next, for their first appearance on the mantle came these 2 twig reindeer ~ another purchase from our first Christmas in our first together home. They usually sit on the hearth, but I love their rustic quality and wanted to give them a more prominent place. I gave both a “scarf” of red plaid ribbon that matched our bows from last year.

updated Christmas mantle

These small faux Christmas trees have been on the dining room table as part of my Christmas tablescapes; they’ve been on the coffee table and various other places. I covered the burlap with some gold “silk” last year. Adding battery~operated lights give them the soft sparkle I love. I think each tree has 3 strands of lights ~ can’t have enough lights!

updated Christmas mantle

And finally, the brass reindeer stocking holders and stockings are added to complete the Christmas mantle. I like that the metallic of the brass contrasts with the soft, natural texture of the twig reindeer and the Christmas trees and green garland. The gold fabric around the trees complements the brass reindeer.

But we’re not finished. A couple of years ago Sweet Shark suggested adding garland up on the very top of the mantle. At first I was a little skeptical about the logistics of getting the garland up there. But that’s what ladders are for. With all the white woodwork reaching almost to our 20 foot ceilings, the greenery at the top brings the eyes up and frames the entire mantle. Great idea, Sweet Shark. You can match Chip’s design ideas any day.

updated Christmas mantle

And you knew that garland would get lights, didn’t you? Because getting a ladder out everyday to turn lights on and off made no sense, these lights are all on timers.

updated Christmas mantle

It really creates a magical scene in our living room. Since you can see the fireplace from our front door, at night the lights really draw you into the room.

In front of the fireplace I reused the crate from Joann that I bought and painted a few years ago. Another previous DIY project were these birch logs from my local Central Market. I used spray adhesive (a great product, but very messy) and sprinkled glitter on them.

updated Christmas mantle

Rather than just lay them in the crate, I tied groups of logs with the same ribbon as on the mantle and placed them on top of the crate (I used bunched up newspaper and a piece of white felt to prop them up.).

updated Christmas mantle

I love the sparkle and the simplicity or our Christmas mantle.

I love that traditional and well~loved treasures are still part of our Christmas mantle.

I love that I reused items in new ways for a new look for our Christmas mantle.

I love that even though I only purchased 2 new red candles and a new bolt of ribbon, the mantle has a fresh, natural feel.

I just love this Christmas mantle. It’s a little rustic, a little shining, mostly old and a tad bit new.

How do you decorate your mantle? Tried and true treasures? All new items? A mix of the two?

Whatever you do, I’m sure that you will have a beautiful Christmas mantle ~ because it’s yours and it’s special and there are things that have meaning and you love them.

Happy mantle~ing.

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  1. I am so with you on all of it — reusing things we already have, DYI-ing it, lots of lights and greens….your mantel looks lovely and those stockings are gorgeous! Thanks for sharing at Vintage Charm. xo Kathleen