Christmas Decor: Mantle

Not only is this my first year decorating an entire house for christmas, but it is also my first time creating a festive mantle-scape.  YAY!  I have actually never had a fireplace in any home I've lived in.  I have had some shelves that doubled as mantles in our living room, but never the REAL thing [gasp].  Growing up, we would always hang the stockings on the wall behind the TV in the basement or even keep them hidden since they were stuffed so full they would have taken the wall down with them.  It was perfect, and I have the most wonderful childhood christmas memories....but I never knew how much I wanted a christmas mantle until I actually had one!  For most of the year our mantle looks like this (with a few variations here and there for the seasons)

But for the upcoming holiday, I decided to take it up a notch and add a few festive additions to the mix.  Here she is today:

All I really added were some hurricanes (which I updated for about $5 and will post more about tomorrow), white berry garland (about $3 for three strands...also used on the tree at JoAnn Fabrics), some stockings from Crate and Barrel (the Angelique collection....currently unavailable online...but some stores still have them), a few mercury glass votives from Target (clearance) and VOILA!!  Really easy update.  I had a few other items that I wanted to add....some burlap flowing underneath everything and a few strands of crystal beads...but it was too much.  Our goal this year was a simple, rustic, elegant theme and the extras just put it over the top.  Also....I'm pretty sure that burlap is REALLY flammable, so I thought that including it within close proximity to the roaring fire would be less-than-responsible.  We rarely have sparks fly out of the fireplace, especially with the screen, but you can never be too careful!!!

So that's it for our mantle.  Since its my first year, it's definitely not something extraordinary, but I will work my way up to that.  I am starting small this time around and will learn more as I go.  I really do love having a mantle though and I am so thankful that we didn't give up the fireplace on our list of must-haves while we were house-hunting! 

Also, I missed linking up to some of the earlier christmas-decor and mantle-related linky parties, so I will just have to wait for next year.  But if you haven't checked them out already, there are quite a few great mantles to be seen at Layla's party over at The Lettered Cottage.  Check them all out!

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