If you don't need to use your fireplace to help heat your home, try filling the firebox with pillar candles of all sizes. You'll get the effect of firelight without the mess of wood ashes. Add fresh greenery and gilded leaves, but be sure to keep plant materials well away from the candles' flames. This idea is also good for older homes where the chimney has been sealed off but the hearth remains.
Old-fashioned sugared fruit stacked on tiered serving plates and paired with round beeswax candles adds up to a stunning display. Sugared fruit is for display only. To make it, brush fruit with egg white, then roll each piece in superfine sugar. This technique is best used for a special occasion -- after a couple of days, the sugar may begin to absorb moisture from the air and won't look its best.
Note: Of course, never leave burning candles unattended.