***Written by Jess Bunge
Now, while I love Thanksgiving the most for all of its nonmaterial loving good feelings, that’s not to say I don’t still REALLY love Christmas. Why you may ask?? One word…PRESENTS. I mean as the EHD Senior Market Editor, it’s not a huge surprise I love to give and receive pretty things. On this beautiful gift-filled day, there is one very important place for Santa to put our new precious treasures…our stockings. We have a very strict tradition in my family. We go downstairs Christmas morning, get our favorite hot morning drink (what once was hot chocolate is now unapologetically coffee), all sit around the fireplace and either my brother or I pass out the stockings. Then, in order from oldest to youngest, we open one gift at a time while we ooo and ahhh over gum, lipsticks, mints etc. No genetic halitosis issues here…this tradition may sound a little slow and tedious but I love it almost more than the homemade crepes that come after. SO, as you can see, stockings are very important to me and to help you best display yours, we have compiled our favorite tips and tricks of how to display them (mantel or no mantel) as well as our other favorite holiday vignette styling tips. Shall we get on with it? HO HO HOkay 🙂 I had to, right??
Tips for How to Hang Stockings Without a Mantel
Let’s start with the “no mantel” tricks as that takes a bit more creative thinking. One great and very simple way to hang stockings sans mantel is to use a credenza as a replacement. You can treat your credenza just like you would as a mantel. Throw on a little garland, a couple candlesticks, a Christmas figurine or two and finish it off with your favorite stocking hangers. It will look festive and you’ll almost forget that there isn’t a warm fire warming up your home…almost.
Next up—and I think the most creative no-mantel solution—is the “faux present stocking mountain of fun” approach. Patent Pending. First, take a variety of different sized boxes and wrap them up in your favorite holiday wrapping paper (bonus points if it matches your holiday color scheme) and stack those suckers up. Once you have them styled in your desired formation, place your stocking holders on the top of the mountain and hang your stockings.
1. Weigh down the boxes. You don’t need to use real gifts but something a little heavy…that 5-pound weight you haven’t used since last January maybe? Nothing is sadder than Santa filling up those stockings on Christmas Eve and the stockings getting too heavy, making all the boxes fall to the ground.
2. Don’t put bows on top of each present. Strategize how you are stacking the boxes so they can sit flat on top of each other without a pretty bow acting as a teeter-totter.
3. MEASURE. Kinda a no brainer but consider how long your stockings are and how high the boxes will need to go. The higher the hair, the closer to god, but the higher the presents, the closer to the north pole. Sooooo…
Here we have a GREAT small space stocking solution. Use your bed! Ginny clearly was just using these guys as cute decor because she has a wonderful fireplace that I will cover later but if you live in a studio with no fireplace (which is probably 99% of studios) this a perfect idea. Pick up a pretty ribbon that looks great with your stocking and attach it to your bed frame. A small space does not need mean small holiday cheer people.
Our last no-mantel hack is to take advantage of your shelves. Emily doesn’t have a mantel in her current house but she does have those awesome built-ins that act as the perfect stocking substitute location. Putting your stockings on selves (higher up) is also a sneaky way of being very kid and pet-friendly. It keeps them in sight but out of the way. Hopefully, that’s all you need to do to protect the Christmas decorations. My godparents used to attach their tree to the ceiling when their sons were young because they were THAT crazy. I really can’t wait to be a mother.
Mantel Stocking Hanging Tips
I know we all have no use for real mantels anymore now that you have so many fun tricks up your sleeves, so I’ll ease you back into the world of mantels. This is Brady’s beautiful home but as you can see he doesn’t have a deep mantel. What he did was use heavy duty Command hooks to frame his garland along his small mantel is and hang his stockings under the garland to hide the hooks holding them up. Genius and renter friendly.
Okay, BandAid is off, we are back in mantel land but at least it’s in Portland. While this house and holiday decor style are pretty traditional, the orientation of the stockings aren’t. Emily styled them to one side instead of spreading them out equally across the width of the mantel. This creates a little more visual interest and feels visually balanced with the candlesticks on the other side. Plus, that JOY stocking holder is so cute.
This is Ginny’s fireplace from a couple of years ago but it still makes me so happy. It’s a perfect example to show that a cohesive color palette and a good mix of materials is the way to go when styling out your mantel. Like Ginny, you can have fun with a handful of styling pieces as long as you have at least a little negative space. Not all of us need to be minimalists but a little breathing room on that mantel will give your eye a chance to rest and take in all the pretty pieces you do have.
Let’s move onto holiday vignettes and to learn how to tastefully deck the hallways, shelves and all other available surfaces.
Reign in the Holiday “Scene”
If you are like my family, no open surface shall be without a holiday scene. I’m talking nativity scenes on both mantels (family and living room), an electronic ice staking rink on the hutch and a snowy California missions scene on the piano (shout out to Mervyn’s for carrying all 21 missions. RIP). This was extra comical to me because 99% of the California missions have most likely NEVER SEEN SNOW. Now, if lots of Christmas scenes are what make you happy then go for it but may we suggest easing back a little. Pick and choose where you create snow holiday fantasy lands. In the photo above, Emily did a collection of cloche covered trees instead of a “scene.” They are festive, neutral in color, full of texture and of course, includes fake snow.
Shelf Styling Vignette Tips
Shelf styling is an art but is totally doable for anyone. It’s again all about picking your moments. Not every shelf needs five trees and three nutcrackers. Instead, pick a couple of spots and create clusters within them. Take the above photo. Emily created a cluster of four objects on the left, two in the middle and another cluster of two off to the left, with just a little space between each one. It feels festive but also well styled. It’s important to vary the number of items within each cluster to maintain visual interest. Throwing in a couple of non-Christmas items like the vintage mini cloche and vintage bud vase in the picture helps to marry the Christmas decor and your normal decor more seamlessly.
Kid Room Holiday Decor
Adding a little Christmas to your bedroom and/or kids’ rooms is super fun and very easy. Last year, Emily added Christmas love to both Elliot’s and Charlie’s rooms. In Elliot’s room, she added a couple of trees in different colors, sizes and styles to add dimension, along with that golden reindeer because it went perfectly with the whimsy of the original room design.
In Charlie’s room, she just switched out the sheets, added a couple of throw pillows and a couple of other Christmas decor pieces. It’s playful, easy and makes every day during the holidays magical. HOT TIP: Pick out sheets that don’t scream holidays. Charlie uses these sheets year round because while they are perfect for Christmas time, lumberjacks are great friends all year long. I mean who doesn’t love a strong mustache and full beard? 🙂
Subtle and Easy Holiday Style Tips
Now forget the kids and let’s get back to the adults. Subtle accents can help make your home feel all the holiday cheer without all the visual chaos. In the above photo, the only “holiday changes” made were the added metallic garland, candle house and hanging bells. Those three small adjustments make that little corner instantly feel homey with a holiday twist.
I think the holiday version of “Put a bird on it” is “Put a bell in/on it.” Bells are pretty exclusive to the holidays so take advantage. Brady filled up his ceramic bowl on his coffee table with these oversized brushed gold bells and it looks so chic. So don’t be afraid to add bells to your decor this year. We think a more matte metallic looks higher end but go with what you like best.
Our last easy decor tip is to switch out a couple of your entertaining pieces. Brady’s bar cart has a perfect subtle holiday vibe with his cocktail shaker, ice bucket and greenery. Especially if you live in a smaller space, you don’t want every inch to be dripping in Christmas. Pick and choose where to go all out.
Well, those are our holiday styling tips for your stockings, mantel and everywhere else in your home. May your stockings be hung beautifully and full of mints, your shelves be perfectly clustered and oversized bells scattered everywhere. Are you going to try any of these? Are there any other styling tips you NEED? We are here and want to help. I would also LOVE to hear your family’s present opening traditions. It’s so fun to learn what everyone does. Let us know in the comments.
*Did you miss yesterday’s holiday styling post that was all about the tree, wreaths and garland? Check that out here. And while you’re in the holiday spirit, make sure you peruse out 2018 Gift Guides to start crossing things off that long to-do list of yours.