Tips for choosing the best mantel décor for the holidays

What holiday mantel décor is best?

A mantel is the perfect spot for holiday décor, whether you’re lining up a row of stockings or decking it out with garlands. But with so many decorating options, picking the best mantel décor for the holidays can seem daunting.

First off, it’s a good idea to get acquainted with the types of mantel décor available, and then consider themes and color schemes. These tips will have your mantel looking like something out of an interior design magazine.

Consider types of mantel décor

These are some of the most common items people decorate their mantels with. Of course, it’s perfectly fine to use your imagination and think outside the box.

Garlands and swags

Christmas garlands are long and evenly sized from one end to the other, while swags are thicker in the center and narrower at each end. Both look great strung along a mantel. They’re often made from faux pine or spruce branches, but you can find other types of garlands, such as ones made to look like winter branches.


While ornaments are common for the Christmas tree, you can also decorate your mantel with figurines and other trinkets. Holiday ornaments can include snow-covered cottages, Santa figurines and reindeer, to name just a few.


Twinkling string lights add a touch of sparkle to a mantel. You can buy pre-lit garlands or arrange lights yourself.


Stockings hung from a mantel is an iconic Christmas image. Even if you don’t exchange stockings in your household, hanging them from the mantel still looks great.

Candles and lanterns

Candles and lanterns are perfect for creating a wintry holiday ambiance. You can make them the main event or mix them in around other mantel décor. If you’re worried about open flames, choose flameless LED candles.

Tips for choosing holiday mantel décor

These tips will help you decorate your mantel in a way that you’re proud of, adding to your holiday cheer.

Pick a theme or focus

It can help to pick a theme or focus for your mantel, whether this is a central hero piece or an occasion or idea. While holiday decoration is often centered around Christmas, there are other options to focus on if you don’t celebrate. Consider basing your mantel décor on another winter holiday, such as Hanukkah or Yule.

You could also pick a theme such as snow, Santa’s workshop or the Nativity. If you already have one eye-catching centerpiece, such as Santa in his sleigh or a menorah, you start there and build the rest of the display around it.

Make a scene

Rather than simply placing unconnected décor on your mantle, you can make a holiday scene. For instance, you can buy winter village figurines, featuring snowy houses, town halls, vintage lamp posts and people. Arranged on your mantle, you can create a gorgeous festive scene. Don’t be afraid to get creative and tell a story with your scene.

Consider color schemes

It can be easier to pick mantel décor when you have a rough color scheme. Maybe your tree is always covered in bronze and silver ornaments and you want to match your mantel to that. Or, perhaps you want to go all out with the bright festive colors and stick to reds, greens and golds.

Think about the rest of your home

If your home décor is sleek and modern with white walls and not a piece of clutter in sight, a busy mantel will look out of place. Conversely, a minimalist mantel is only going to look strange in a maximalist home. Think about your existing décor and use this as a jumping-off point.

What you need to buy to decorate your mantel for the holidays

National Tree Company Pre-Lit Artificial Christmas Garland ]

With realistic faux evergreen branches, pine cones and integrated battery-powered lights, this 9-foot garland is perfect for decorating mantels. It’s full-bodied with lifelike needle tips, so it won’t end up looking sad and limp.

One Holiday Way Miniature LED Lighted Christmas Village Scene ]

This 10-piece Christmas village is perfect for anyone who wants to create a festive scene on their mantel. It includes a bank, fire station, city hall, lamp posts, trees and people.

Marsui Christmas Pine Tree Set ]

Although they’re simple, these flocked bottle brush Christmas trees look great on a mantel, as part of a more elaborate scene or interspersed with candles and lanterns. You get 24 trees of varying sizes in a pack, plus a handful of figurines: a winter village house, a deer and several vintage lamp posts.

Department 56 “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” The Griswold Family Tree Figurine ]

Fans of “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” might like to add this lighthearted figurine to their mantel display. Although it’s a nod to the movie, it’s subtle enough to blend in with other festive figures.

The Dreidel Company Hanukkah Tree of Life Menorah ]

If you’re decorating your mantel for Hanukkah, this gorgeous Tree of Life menorah is a beautiful addition. It’s available in four finishes: pewter, copper, gold and nickel.

Eldnacele Christmas Flameless Flickering Candles ]

Candles make excellent additions to a mantel display, but they burn down and pose the risk of setting other pieces of décor on fire. These LED flameless candles give the appearance of real flames without the mess or danger. Plus, they come in a range of winter designs.

Joyin Knit Christmas Stockings ]

This pack of six rustic knit stockings is perfect for decorating the mantel. You can hang them all through the holiday season. You don’t have to wait for Christmas Eve when Santa’s due to arrive.

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Lauren Corona writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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