How to Hang Garland for Damage-Free Holiday Decorating

Drape garland across a mantel, along a staircase, or around your front door with these easy hanging tips—plus our simple trick for adding lights.

Garlands are a classic Christmas decoration that add a gorgeous accent to mantels, banisters, exteriors, and more. Whether you opt for fresh or faux greenery, hanging a garland safely and securely without inflicting damage on your home is key. The simple hanging methods outlined below will help take the stress out of holiday decorating and ensure your garland remains beautifully and sturdily displayed all season long.

When deciding on which type of garland to display, note that artificial garlands provide more flexibility for reshaping because they're typically made with wired stems that stay in place when adjusted. If you prefer to decorate with real greenery, keep in mind that fresh fir, cedar, magnolia, or eucalyptus garlands could be heavier than the faux variety. You might need to adjust your hanging method to provide more support. You should also handle fresh garlands with extra care to keep all the branches intact. However, the techniques for hanging a garland are generally the same for both real and faux decorations. Follow these tips for displaying this festive accent on a mantel, along a staircase, and around your front door, then learn how to perfectly wrap a garland with string lights.

garland-covered mantel with knit Christmas stockings and trees
Jay Wilde

How to Hang Garland on a Mantel

Snaking a strand of greenery along the top of a mantel is an easy display idea that likely doesn't require any extra reinforcement. However, garlands look even more beautiful when scalloped across the front of a mantel or spilling over the edge. For either arrangement, clear removable hooks ($4, Target) provide an easy way to hang a garland on a mantel. Make sure to purchase hooks that are designed to support the weight of your garland. It's also important to attach the hooks on top of the mantel surface (not across the front) so the hooks can support more weight and the garland is less likely to fall. Follow these steps to hang a garland on your mantel:

  • Step 1: Attach hooks along the top of the mantel. Space them out as desired to create a scalloped effect, or simply position enough to securely hold the garland in place (heavier garlands will require more hooks).
  • Step 2: Starting in the middle, tie fishing line around the garland to create a loop and hook it around the centermost hook. (You can also wrap floral wire around both the garland and hook.)
  • Step 3: Working outward from the center, continue making loops to correspond with each hook until the entire garland is hung.
  • Step 4: Fluff the garland as needed to conceal the hooks and wire.

Related: Ideas for Pretty and Festive Mantel Decor

holiday garland scalloped on white staircase
Adam Albright

How to Hang Garland on Stairs

Drape garland along a staircase banister to create an elegant, cascading effect. The easiest way to do this is to secure the garland with clear zip ties ($4, Target). Make sure your garland is longer than the length of the railing, especially if you plan to arrange it in drapes instead of lining the banister straight down. Use these instructions to hang a garland on a staircase:

  • Step 1: Starting at the bottom of the stairs, wrap a zip tie around both the garland and the railing and tighten to secure. Cut off the end of the tie with scissors.
  • Step 2: Repeat this process with the other end of the garland at the top of the stairs.
  • Step 3: Find the middle of the garland and attach it with a zip tie halfway down the railing. Cut off excess plastic on the tie.
  • Step 4: Locate the halfway point between the zip tie at the middle of the railing and the one at the end. Attach zip ties around the garland at this spot on both sides. (To create more scallops, attach more zip ties in this manner.)
  • Step 5: Rearrange the garland to cover up the zip ties. For fresh greenery, you might need to use floral wire to hold the branches in place.
English shepherd dog wearing red plaid bandana on snowy steps outside holiday-decorated front doors
Lucy Ancheta

How to Hang Garland Around Your Front Door

Add a festive touch to your front entrance by hanging a garland around your door. This Christmas door decoration creates a welcoming entry, but it requires careful planning to avoid damage to your home's exterior. One easy way to hang a garland above your door is with a garland hanger ($129, Frontgate), which fits inside the doorjamb using a spring-tension rod. Alternatively, outdoor-safe removable hooks ($5, The Home Depot) provide a budget-friendly solution that's simple to install using these instructions:

  • Step 1: Attach outdoor hooks around the door frame about 12 inches apart, or as desired to create a draped effect. For particularly heavy garlands, plan to use more hooks for added support.
  • Step 2: Starting in the middle, wrap floral wire around the garland and loop it around the centermost hook.
  • Step 3: Working outward from the center, repeat this process to attach the garland to the rest of the hooks.
  • Step 4: Fluff out the garland as needed to conceal the hooks and wire.
Lighted garland down staircase
Jay Wilde

How to Wrap Garland with String Lights

Wrapping your garland with string lights is easier said than done. Contrary to popular belief, you can't just wrap the lights around the garland as a whole. To get the branches to really sparkle, follow our two-step process for creating a lighted garland that dazzles.

man holding christmas lights
Jay Wilde

Step 1: Find the middle of the garland.

To ensure that your lights will evenly span the length of your evergreen garland, start by wrapping the lights in the middle, not end to end. Find the center of your string of lights and line it up with the middle of the garland. Lay the lights on top of the garland at the center point and choose a side to start with.

Adding lights to wreath
Jay Wilde

Step 2: Wrap the garland with lights.

Starting with your chosen side, begin wrapping the lights up the length of one sturdy bough. Most wreaths have branches that are stronger than others, so be sure to choose one that will hold the weight of the lights. The lights should spiral up and around the branch. Continue wrapping the lights around every other sturdy branch until you reach one end of the garland. Then return to the center and repeat the process in the opposite direction to finish the remaining side. And just like that, your lighted garland is complete!

Related: Best Christmas Lights to Decorate Your Home this Year, According to Shoppers

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