A Few of Our Favorite Things: 8 Festive Holiday Mantel Decor Looks

It’s hard to believe the holiday season is practically here! It’s been a long 2020, so it’s more the reason to break out the festive holiday decorations and cozy up the home for some much-needed celebration (and relaxation).

The best place to start decorating? Your fireplace mantel, of course! It’s where the stockings go after all. But it’s also an easy surface to layer with candles and ornaments or string up lights and a garland. Not to mention, the fireplace is also the centerpiece of the living room, so your holiday mantel decor is guaranteed to be a focal point in the space.

Explore more holiday decorating tips from Modsy designers! Need help pulling your living room together? Check out these ways to lay out a living room with a fireplace and even this guide to living rooms with corner fireplaces.

Although, there are many ways beyond classic Xmas red-and-white to deck out the mantel. To give you some wintry, holiday mantel inspiration, here are a few of our favorite looks for a festive and dazzling fireplace. Read on to get our tips on how to bring each look home.

rustic fireplace with boho wreath and string garland

Hygge It Up

Create a mantel focal point inspired by hygge, the Scandinavian winter mindset of embracing all things cozy and comforting. It’s a layered and lush alternative to a holiday mantel display that will bring in a sense of calm and quiet all through winter.

Learn more about acing a hygge design style.

Stick to simple pieces that are sculptural and have a handmade, organic feel. That means layering up your mantel with decor such as a textured greenery garland, a macramé hanging, woven baskets and accents, and artisanal white ceramics. It all helps convey a feeling of comfort and warmth.

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holiday mantel decor

Keep It Classic Christmas Style

Nothing beats red and green Christmas mantel decor for that classic holiday look. It’s perfect for those who want a tried-and-true mantel that goes with the traditional holiday colors throughout the living room.

String a garland or simple branches of pine across the mantel, then add in festive accents in the Christmas palette. That can be a piece of vintage art (like this sleigh drawing), some candlesticks and berry stems, a reindeer figurine or special family ornaments, anything that nods to the holidays. It’ll make for an attractive focal point that can rival any Christmas tree.

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Traditional style fireplace with jewel-tone artwork and holiday garland

Go For Color & Glam

Give your mantel a glam update for the holidays with decor that dazzles and sparkles. This is perfect if you like your holidays to have a punch of color that’s not red and green and like a living room that’s fun, and festive.

Add decor in bright jewel tones and metallics to up the glitz factor. That includes everything from mercury glass votives and candleholders and mirrored sconces to silver ornaments and metallic tree sculptures. This is all about adding colors and glamour that shine, so no need to hold back!

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holiday mantel decor

Think Refined & Rustic

If you’re a fan of rustic style, this refined-rustic approach has farmhouse appeal but still brings in that wintry, holiday spirit. Instead of classic Christmas mantel decorations, this is all about layering rustic and vintage elements for that cozy, lived-in feel.

Start by adding sophisticated vintage accents, like flea-market art, antiqued brass animals, and weathered candlesticks. Then work in natural elements, like the wood-bead garland here and the full cypress greenery, for seasonal and organic touches. For a soft nod to the holidays, you can round out the mantel with white stockings, mini Christmas trees, and a woven basket for fireplace logs.

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rounded fireplace with eclectic Christmas decor

Give It A Quirky Twist

For an eclectic holiday mantel, mix quirky festive decor. If you prefer casual holiday decorations, this is the perfect twist for you. Not to mention, it’s a great solution if you don’t have room for a full-size Christmas tree.

You can take it in any direction you want, but a fun garland is a must (like this cute ‘Oh What Fun’ one.) Add in other charming decor, like red and green candles, some greenery branches, and a nutcracker or toy soldier sculpture. It’s about turning the mantel into a holiday scene, and when the time comes you can stack presents in front of the fireplace.

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holiday mantel decor

Opt For Trad & Organic

In the same vein as a rustic holiday mantel, this elegant take on classic holiday ushers in an elevated festive look. For those who have a formal living room or want a polished and sophisticated fireplace focal point, this is an easy way to do so.

Lean into classic mantel decor that lets you play up symmetry, like a pair of brass sconces flanking a mirror, a garland of gold pine cones that runs the length of the mantel, sculptural glass trees at varying heights. This is also a great moment for a wreath, which adds a pop of greenery and texture that balances out all the formality

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holiday mantel decor

Make It Minimalist

For true minimalists and modern-decor lovers, a simple mantel in black and white with touches of silver is the way to go. Believe it when we say there are ways to work a high-contrast palette so that it still feels cozy and full of holiday spirit.

Be sure to keep to small white accents, like ceramic vases, miniature trees, and black-and-white stockings. You can go big and top it all off with a black-and-white frame mirror that draws attention to the mantel. The key is to work in greenery, like small cypress trees or branches for some organic texture and for a nod to the wintry outdoors.

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Hannukah themed fireplace decor in blue and silver

Try Polished Blue & Silver

Like holiday red and green, blue and silver make for a wintry palette that can instantly bring the outdoors in. For those who celebrate Hannukah, this is color scheme also perfectly ties into the festive decor for the holiday.

The key is sticking to simple and modern blue-and-white decor, like sapphire velvet curtains, sky-color modern art, and silver candlesticks or menorahs. You can easily add a holiday touch by layering in mercury glass votives and candle holders, blue and silver ornaments. Practical finishing touches, like a big woven basket, will bring an instant warm appeal.

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Virtual Togetherness: Tips for Celebrating the Holidays During COVID

We all know that the holiday season will look quite different this year. While there may not be any holiday parties and family gatherings will be limited, we all still deserve a holiday that brings us joy!

This past spring, we wrote about how design can help us cope while sheltering in place. And, with a long winter ahead of us, we’re going to continue leaning into those design hacks to help our homes work for our new needs. But, for the holidays, we want to approach this same theme from a different angle—how design can help create virtual togetherness. Because design can also spark joy and help you delight in the simple things, while also finding creative ways to connect with loved ones, near and far.

Want some tips on how to foster virtual togetherness and plan holiday celebrations during COVID? Here are some ideas from our Modsy designers on how they’ll be getting festive and celebrating safely this year!

jewel tone living room with glamorous style christmas decor

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Fill Your Home With Moments of Joy and Delight

Since you probably won’t be traveling this year, perhaps you want to use some of that travel money to turn up the dial on festive decorations? Filling your home with moments of joy and delight through your decor will bring a smile to your face, even if you’re sad to miss some of the “normal” holiday gatherings and moments. (Need some inspiration? Check out our Holiday Decor Lookbook.)

Here’s how our designers are doing it…

“I think this is an opportunity for families to be excited for the holidays, even though they’ll look different this year. Since travel and events don’t seem to be on people’s high priority list, there’s a high demand for home decor and redesign for the holidays of 2020. I’m a big fan of incorporating bright colors that bring happiness to holiday decorations this year!” –Brooke M.

“This winter, decorate your home just as much as you normally would if the whole extended family and neighborhood were coming over for a party, even if they won’t be due to potential illness. Let yourself decorate your home for YOU and appreciate all that you’ve done to make your home feel festive for yourself and your family, despite all challenges and tribulations.” –Sam K.

white brick fireplace with layers of beads, garland and brass holiday decor

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Spread Some Joy

Don’t stop at just making your home a space of joy. Take some time this holiday season to look beyond yourself and spread some joy to others. Whether that’s baking some cookies for a neighbor who lives alone, inviting a couple people over for a backyard winter bonfire, or volunteering with your favorite non-profit, now’s the perfect time to do something for others.

Here’s how our designers are doing it…

“Want to see people and spread some joy? Bake some pies or cookies and go deliver them to people who are spending the holidays alone. Just because we can’t all be together doesn’t mean we should all be alone.” –Katelin S.

fireplace mantle with wildflower bouquet and bar-ware

Create Winter Rituals

Instead of focusing on the things you won’t be able to do this year, why not start some new traditions? They don’t have to be big, either. Small, simple rituals—like lighting a candle and meditating each morning or setting up a reading nook by the fire where you can curl up at night—will help you feel more grounded, during the holidays and beyond.

Here’s how our designers are doing it…

“I have various small rituals for the holidays and the time leading up to them. In Autumn, I change all the candles in the house to black. It’s rich and elegant and perfect for my family’s style. Starting a ritual or continuing one during the pandemic is more important than ever for grounding the spirit and creating a safe retreat from the world.” –Don L.

“We’re keeping traditions that have nothing to do with large gatherings and are focusing on those—like going for a morning run in the park and having cider on the porch by the fire at night.” –Brielle M.

beige accent chair with small dog

Focus on the People Under Your Own Roof

We may not be able to have big gatherings of family and friends this year. But that makes it a perfect time to focus on your immediate family or housemates. Create some new traditions and find new ways to connect with each other. Whether that’s letting each person in your household plan an activity they want to do or each of you making a special dish for a holiday dinner, make the most of the time you have together. (And maybe even infuse some of those new winter rituals into your time together!)

Here’s how our designers are doing it…

“Since this year won’t include the same fun outings I am planning on making the most of our time at home with our immediate family. We’ll be doing things like making yummy desserts together, watching holiday movies, decorating the house as a family, and even doing some fall-inspired crafts.” –Amanda L.

“Times are definitely different this year for everyone but celebrating holidays is something we still need to do to keep our spirits high and to allow the kids to have some of the holiday magic they always look forward to. If you are unable to do your normal traditions, make new ones! Get dressed up and have a fancy Thanksgiving dinner with just your household, whomever it may be!” –Katelin S.

dining table setting for 2

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Bring Back the Virtual Gatherings

Remember this spring when we were all great at keeping (virtually) in touch with all our friends, through Zoom happy hours and long Facetime calls? By the time summer hit, a lot of us were feeling Zoom fatigue and cut back on virtual gatherings. But, with winter coming it’s time to bring virtual gatherings back for special occasions and holidays.

Does your family play games at every holiday gathering? Keep the tradition alive by organizing a game you can easily play virtually. Does your friend have a signature punch she makes for her holiday party each year? Have her send out the recipe so you and all of your friends can mix up a batch and enjoy a virtual gathering. Get creative in how you can keep special traditions alive this year.

Here’s how our designers are doing it…

“Thanksgiving will be small this year, however, we plan on playing Scattergories virtually with lots of family members! This is a perfect game to play. All you have to do is send the list via text or email and call out the letter to start. The host house will shout out the timer when it’s done and everyone can share their answers. We laugh non-stop!”  –Kelly W.
woman arranging flowers on dining table

Cook The Same Meal From Afar

Even if you can’t all be together for the holidays, break out the family-favorite recipes and have everyone make the same meal! Then, set up your laptop for a video call with everyone. Eating the same meal together, even when far apart, will make you feel closer together.

Here’s how our designers are doing it…

“We are cooking our traditional holiday meal using grandma’s recipes and then plan to virtually “sit down” together with all of our family members that we would normally see in person.” –Shelly S.

“Keeping safe is so important right now, but no one truly loves being alone during the holidays. Virtual dinners and drinks are perfect for those who can’t make it to their family physically. Set up a spot for your loved ones at the table and have fun cooking the same dishes together, from afar!” –Becky S.

dining room with table set for holidays with rust colored walls

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Practice Gratitude

COVID has taken a lot away from many of us. But perhaps it has also given you some gifts. Use this time to reflect on what you have gained this year—whether that’s more time in an ordinarily hectic schedule, a new hobby, or perhaps even a new love!

Here’s how our designers are doing it…

“We spent the beginning part of quarantine learning how to garden. Now we have an abundance of zucchini as well as a few pumpkins! We plan to help the kids write what we are thankful for all around the pumpkin. Even though there is a lot we are missing, there is still so much to be grateful for.” –Lacey P.

cozy white sofa with layers of holiday themed pillows

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When It Comes to Gifting, Think Cozy

We’ll all be spending so much time at home this winter. So, think about cozy comfort when gifting this holiday season! Plush materials like velvets, furs, and chunky knits (in throws, pillows, and even sweaters) will keep you and your loved ones cozy all winter long.

Here’s how our designers are doing it…

“Sending cozy items like throw blankets or personalized candles as holiday gifts can help make your loved ones feel closer. It’s basically like sending them a hug!“ –Valentina

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Holiday Hosting Tips From Our VP Of Style, Alessandra Wood

holiday hosting tips ModsyWith the holidays approaching fast, we’re feeling festive and looking forward to all the cozy gatherings with family and friends to come.

Naturally, our very own VP of Style, Alessandra Wood, is way ahead of us and already has her home decked to the nines for the holidays. We snuck a peek inside her holiday set-up and got the chance to pick her brain on the best ways to design, prep, and decorate for the holidays. Read on for some inspiration and get her best holiday hosting tips for easy entertaining!

cozy decorDecorating for the Season

’Tis the season to get festive! Here’s how I style and prep my home for holiday hosting.

holiday mantel decorStyle Your Mantel

If you have a mantel, this is a great place to get your festive decor on! You can make your home look (and smell) amazing simply with a garland of fresh greenery. I like a blend of eucalyptus and anise. Unlike other plants and greenery, these varieties will dry out (rather than rot) over the next few months. Translation: they have major staying power and you can keep them on display all season long!

cozy decorGet Cozied Up

For me, it’s all about the layers of textiles. My favorites are chunky knit blankets, fluffy pillows, and sheepskin throws. I love to drape them over an armchair or pile them on my sofa to really warm up my home with cozy touches.

Add Mood Lighting

Flameless candles are the best! They create that magical, glowing effect without threat of burning your house down!

holiday hosting tipsSetting a Holiday Table

Hosting a dinner party? Here are my best holiday hosting tips for a dining room that’s set to impress.

Arrange Fresh Florals

I love using fresh flowers in the colors of the season as my centerpiece. For the greenery, I like to use the same blend of eucalyptus and anise to keep the holiday scent consistent throughout.

holiday tablescapeServe It Up Vintage Style

I always borrow my mom’s vintage Lenox china set, which creates a tablescape that’s as lovely as it is festive. And if you don’t have vintage dishware, regular dinnerware arranged with semi-fancy napkins and wine glass are equally wonderful. It’s all about creating an intimate atmosphere!

Prepare for Extra Headcount

I have an expandable dining table, which is great if you only host large gatherings a few times per year. It’s also always good to keep extra seats on hand. I always have a bench or a pair of stools handy for easy extra seats when unexpected guests arrive.

Create a Festive Scent

One of the easiest (and least expensive) ways I like to prep for hosting is by boiling a pot of water full of lemons, cloves, and cinnamon. It makes my home smell amazing and really sets a nostalgic, festive tone.

charcuterie board prepEncourage Noshing

Make snacking (and mingling) easy with a charcuterie board. I always pre-cut the cheese for mine, which makes it so much easier for guests to snack. It also relieves them of having to do the awkward hover and struggle with the cheese knife, which is a win for everyone.

holiday hosting tips for the barPrepping The Bar

A great party starts with a great bar, and I’m all about making mine stylish and functional. Here are a few of my favorite bar-prep tips.

Skip the Bottles

Instead of displaying bottles of alcohol, I like to pour my favorite spirits into decanters. No matter what the liquor is, it makes for an instantly more expensive look. Think bottom-shelf liquor in a top-shelf disguise.

holiday hosting punch bowlPunch It Up

Not that I need an excuse to break out a vintage punch bowl, but it also happens to be one of my favorite holiday hosting tips. I love this because it means guests can self-serve their drinks. AKA no one has to play bartender and everyone can help themselves to as many as they like.

You can even leave the alcohol out of your punch and keep it in a decanter to let your guests self-moderate how boozy they want their drinks. This is also great if you have friends who are on a cleanse or don’t drink, kids on the guest list, or want to help out that friend who is secretly pregnant.

eggnog punch bowlStir Up a Seasonal Cocktail

I love serving a signature cocktail in a punch bowl. It really sets the mood for the party! For the holidays I whip up eggnog. I love Martha Stewart’s classic eggnog recipe because it has bourbon, rum, and cognac—a triple threat!

Get Organized

I prefer a bar cabinet over a bar cart because you can stash away any clutter behind closed doors. It’s a super low-maintenance way to get everything in order, especially if you’re often running short on time!

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