I am not good at styling mantels. In fact, I think I am legitimately bad at it. In previous years, I pulled out all my many bins of Christmas decorations, then I spent hours adding decorations and removing them. I switched things around and fussed and fiddled.
This year I centered the simple chalkboard on the mantel and kind of half-heartedly added décor pieces as I came across them. I bought flocked branches for the tree, and they looked awful so I set them on the mantel. I found a marquee sign during a random shopping trip and just plopped it up there too. I used my dapper deer as a prop for another project, then I set it on the mantel instead of putting it back in storage. And then one day I looked up at the mantel, and it was done. I had put less than 10 items on the mantel, with no plan or design, and it looked… pretty okay.
I took my large chalkboard and hung the plaid cardboard deer head in the center of it. Using that as a starting point, I added some hand lettering using techniques I learned from my new chalk lettering book.
I found this pretty plaid JOY marquee at Walgreens of all places! I ran in for a quick errand and just had to grab this on my way to the checkout line. It is battery-operated, so I don’t need to worry about unsightly cords draped across the built-ins.
I didn’t use many of my fair isle decorations this year, but our personalized fair isle stockings found their way back to the fireplace this year. Quick tip: Each stocking is “stuffed” with a curved piece of cardboard to help the stockings keep their shape even when empty.
My glitter deer flank the rustic hearth crate I decorated last year. The battery-powered candles act as a replacement for a real fire, since we have never had our chimney inspected. This was the least fussy mantel I have ever assembled, but I love the cozy simplicity of the whole display. Maybe I am finally learning the lesson that less is more!