Every year decorating the mantel is one of my favorite things to do during the Christmas season. I actually have three sets of stockings that I’ve used over the years. When my son moved back in with us a few years ago, I bought new matching burgundy velvet stockings, trimmed with white fur and accented with silver and crystal initial pins. Since my son has moved back to California, this year we will pull out of storage the three red and white knitted stockings from previous years. They usually hang from beautiful bronze stocking holders and sit on the mantel over the fireplace. This is the stocking that was used when my daughter was younger and it will be saved for her when she gets older. I plan to give it back to her as a special present the first Christmas after she gets married. My son will also get his childhood stocking when he gets married and it is packed away in his box of childhood things. I got this idea from my mother. She had saved our Christmas stockings and gave them to us when we were older. I thought that was a wonderful thing to do and I wanted to do the same for my children. There is a third set of stockings packed away and they are made of a lovely burgundy brocade fabric. These were used the first year that my husband and I were married. I’m sure years from now on our “first empty nesters Christmas” we will bring them out of storage and use them again!
As you might know from reading my previous posts, I like to use my holiday decorations in different ways every year. It challenges my creative skills and saves on the cost of purchasing new decorations every holiday season. This year I am going to try something new and instead of displaying my Department 56 North Pole Village in the family room bookshelf I am going to place the porcelain houses and their accessories on the fireplace mantel.
Usually all year-round I have a lovely painting of Sandringham, the Queen of England’s Norfolk estate hanging above the fireplace This year because I will be displaying the North Pole Village I felt the painting did not fit the theme of Christmas. I looked around several retail stores hoping to find a Santa Claus or a winter scene picture but I couldn’t find anything I liked within my budget. I know Thomas Kincaid has several paintings of lovely Christmas cottages but they are a little pricey. So, I decided to create a custom sign to get the look I really wanted.
Last year I used a Christmas decal on the back of our car and I used this for inspiration; it reads “Santa Claus is coming to town”. I thought it would be perfect to use for the sign but I needed to give it a much more substantial look. My husband cut a piece of MDF board to my desired length and painted it white. Then using painter’s tape for a straight line, I painted three boarders of three different colors. The first was a Christmas Red color, then a Pine Tree Green color and finally I painted a thinner border of an Antique Gold color. It still looked a little plain so I added some bronze jingle bells to give it some dimension and I think it turned out very nice. Most of the materials we already had at the house so the cost was very minimal and I created a wonderful custom look to go with the Department 56 North Pole display and we love it!!
In years past I have decorated the fireplace mantel several different ways using a pine garland, red berry sprays and holly leaves This always make a great base for creating different looks from one Christmas to the next. One year I used special Christmas fames with photos of our children’s visits to Santa or family photos from past Christmas. Then, another year I scattered porcelain snowflakes throughout the pine garland and it had a very festive winter theme. When I displayed my Boyd’s Bear ornament collection I used two strands of ball lights, one in red and the other in green and I scattered the ornaments on the mantel amongst the garland.
As you can see no two displays looked the same!! Let me know what you think.
STOCKING HANGING TIPS:
- To secure stockings on the underside of a wooden mantel, use heavy-duty cup hooks or C-hooks. (The hooks I use are so well hidden that I leave them there all year)
- When purchasing decorative stocking hangers, I recommend the heavy metal kind with a lot of “weight” to them so they don’t tip over after the stockings have filled on Christmas Eve.
- If you are leaving the stockings out before Christmas as decoration during the holiday season, be sure to stuff them with tissue paper for a fuller look. You can remove the tissue paper on Christmas Eve before the stockings are filled by Santa!
- It doesn’t matter the style or material used for Christmas stockings, just make sure they have ample room for Christmas goodies – your family will be glad you did!! NOTE: When using knitted stockings make sure they are lined for easier filling!
- Don’t forget stockings for the animals – our pets have their own stocking we fill with treats and toys!
So, have fun trying new ideas by using your holiday decorations in different ways … you might be pleasantly surprised!!