If you’re anything like us, the Christmas boards on Pinterest can be dangerous territory! Inspiring – yes, but sometimes that inspiration leads to you becoming convinced it’s time for “Ambush Makeover – Holiday Edition” starring your house. Before taking on an entire overhaul, (because who has time or money for that?!), take a breath and focus on your mantel space.

Your mantel is the perfect place to experiment with something brand new each year, or to refresh the classics you already have and love. Set the scene for Santa’s arrival with a display of stockings, of course, plus some handcrafted elements to create your own Pinterest-worthy holiday theme. Here are some ideas to get you going. Once you’ve arranged your “new” décor, stand back and prepare for compliments as the family gathers around.

Snowy Scene

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Things you’ll need:

  • Cardboard
  • Scissors
  • Thick, white chenille yarn
  • Yarn needle

Complement snowman-themed stockings with a snowball-inspired garland for your mantel. Create large white pompoms for the garland from thick and fluffy chenille yarn to represent snowballs. The pompom snowballs are light enough to string on a garland and hang across the mantel for a whimsical and cheerful look.

Pom Pom Garland How-To

Step 1 – Draw or trace and cut out two identical circles with a diameter of at least 6 inches. Draw and cut out smaller circles inside the centers of the cardboard circles, leaving you with two rings. The walls of the rings should be at least 2 inches deep.

Step 2 – Cut a whole ball of white yarn into strands about 3 feet long.

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Step 3 – Hold the two cardboard rings together. Wrap a strand of yarn through the center hole and around and around the walls of the ring. Repeat this with additional strands of yarn until you have wrapped the whole cardboard ring and it resembles a fat, wooly donut. As you wrap the yarn, the center hole in the rings will get smaller and smaller, so use a yarn needle to poke the final strands through.

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Step 4 – Poke one arm of a pair of scissors through the strands of yarn and in between the two cardboard rings. Cut through the wrapped yarn strands, following the outside edge of the rings. Take a final strand of yarn and pull it between the two cardboard rings, around the center of all the cut yarn strands. Cinch and knot the yarn tightly around the middle of the pompom.

Step 5 – Carefully slide the cardboard rings off the tied-together yarn strands, then fluff up the pompoms. Repeat the process to make as many pompoms as you want for your garland.

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Step 6 – Cut three strands of yarn a little longer than you want the garland to be. Braid the strands, knot one end, then thread the three yarn ends together through the eye of a yarn needle. Poke the needle through the centers of the pompoms, sliding the pompoms along the braid so that they are spaced evenly along its length.

You can thread other ornaments, such as paper snowflakes or silver bells, along the garland, too. Twist the garland around a string of lights for more sparkle. Arrange the pompom garland across the front of the mantel. Use strips of white masking tape or adhesive poster strips to attach the ends of the garland to the edges of the mantel and loop the middle sections over the hooks of stocking holders.

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A Rustic Mantel Runner

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Things you’ll need:

  • Burlap fabric
  • Scissors
  • Evergreen branches
  • Pine cones, holly leaves, mistletoe, cinnamon sticks

Simple, countryside-inspired decorations arranged along a burlap mantel runner make a fitting accent to the cozy, homespun look of cable knit stockings.  Natural elements like evergreen branches and pine cones bring a touch of the outdoors to the cozy surroundings of your fireplace.

Mantel Runner How-To

Step 1 – Cut a long, narrow rectangle of burlap long enough to hang over the sides of the mantel. You can hem the edges if you wish, but cut burlap naturally frays at the edges, giving it a nice look with no effort.

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Step 2 – Bundle up real or fake evergreen branches that are shorter in length than the mantel. Cut another narrow rectangle of burlap and use it to cinch the branches together in the center. Tie the ends of the burlap into a large bow at the front of the bundle. Place the bundle on top of the runner in the middle of the mantel.

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Step 3 – Tuck decorative seasonal items with a natural theme among and around the branches. Strings of cranberries, pine cones, oranges studded with cloves, holly or mistletoe sprigs, and cinnamon sticks are all appropriate. You can also poke among the branches some shiny ornaments and candy canes for a little color and brightness.

Season’s Greetings

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Things you’ll need:

  • Papier-mache or wood 3-D letters
  • White glue
  • Red, gold and green paint, gift wrap or glitter

Choose large papier-mache or wood 3-D letters to spell out a seasonal greeting, such as “Joy,” “Noel” or “Ho Ho Ho,” or smaller letters to spell out longer phrases like “Merry Christmas.” Make sure the letters will fit along the mantel or the wall space above it.

 

3-D Letters How-To

Step 1 – Cover the fronts of letters with white glue, then either smooth sheets of red and gold gift wrap over the letters and trim the edges or pour red and gold glitter over the glue and shake off the excess. Alternatively, paint the letters with red and gold paint. Paint solid colors or stripes or if you are artistic, paint a festive design freehand. Include some green accents to complement the holiday color palette if you wish.

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Step 2 – Mount the letters on the wall above the mantel or line them up along it to spell out a seasonal greeting that complements your holiday stockings. Include in the arrangement other decorated 3-D shapes such as reindeer, snowflakes and trees or complementary ornaments that you already have, such as candles and Santa figurines.

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Other Display Ideas

If you don’t have a traditional mantel, create similar displays wherever you hang your stockings, such as a windowsill, bookshelf or chest of drawers. An extra-long pompom garland is ideal for hanging along a banister, and a rustic runner with a bundle of evergreen branches is appropriate for the top of a buffet. Spell out a seasonal greeting with decorated 3-D letters across a bookshelf — you don’t even need to remove the books.

So tell us, do you have any creative ways to transform your mantel this holiday season? We’d love to hear.