Simple, natural garland draped across the mantel is the perfect place to start. Then, take an inspired walk around your yard -- or your grocery store's produce section -- and look for seasonal pieces to layer into your greenery. Fruit is an easy, traditional way to add color. (Think oranges, apples, pears, lemons, and even pineapples!) Other natural elements, such as pinecones and small branches, are easy to work in and add beautiful texture to a garland.
A simple garland of magnolias is classic and traditionally Southern. (Plus the branches look great displayed elsewhere throughout the house for the holidays!) Add some festive sparkle with gold accessories, candlesticks, and planters. You may even want to grab a can of gold spray paint and update some small thrift store finds to add to your mantel display.
The holidays are the time to go all-out and experiment with layers and textures more than you ever have. Gather different types of evergreens and layer them on the mantel. Add feathers, burlap, jute string, and more. Have fun with a holiday crafting project for the entire family, and create strands of paper stars, popcorn string, or yarn tassels to add for an eclectic look.
Who says garland has to be green? A colorful pom-pom garland is a light, fun way to drape your mantel in holiday cheer. To create this look, stick to a simple color palette, and keep everything above the mantel neutral so your garland and stockings really pop.
Proof that Christmas decor can be chic. Start by tucking your garland neatly across the mantel and placing clusters of ornaments throughout. Sticking to a muted palette of whites and mixed metallics keeps the space neutral while still adding plenty of sparkle.