21 December 2011

Christmas card mantel

We didn’t have a fireplace in my home growing up, so the Christmas tree was the big focal point to decorate. However, every place I’ve lived since then has had a fireplace, which means I’ve entered the world of holiday mantels. And boy, are there some amazing ones out there. Check out all the beautiful décor in the big holiday mantel link party that all the bloggers had a few weeks ago.

However, mantel decorating has never really been my forte, even outside the Christmas season. Usually there’s a few random things on the mantel: some crystal candlesticks, a clock with chronically dead batteries, and rather inexplicably, a bust of J. S. Bach. And.... that’s how it’s stayed for pretty much all the time I’ve been here, actually. Boring? Yes. As a matter of fact, I even tried to dig up a photo of our fireplace and mantel that I’ve shown on the blog, and there isn’t one because it is so boringthis is honestly the best I’ve got.

So mantel decorating isn’t my thing, and my holiday mantel can’t really rival the ones in the link above. It just can’t. And yet! This year’s mantel is my favorite of all the holiday decorating I’ve ever done. Why? Well, I used one of my favorite parts of Christmas to decorate it: Christmas cards!

It makes sense, really, because my love for Christmas cards is as great as my apathy for mantel decorating. As I showed you recently, we send our cards early. And then we spend the rest of the season receiving cards, which just thrills me to no end. We keep all of them, but this is the first year that I’ve actually consciously decorated with them.

First, I wanted a good way to display all the flat photo-cards we receive. I settled on hanging them with a piece of ribbon I had on-hand. The idea was to create a swag of photo-cards across the mirror over the mantel.

I laid them out on the floor to ensure that I liked the arrangement (new precious baby nephew, of course, goes in the middle). Oh, and I twisted the ribbon a few times (you can see that because the damask pattern on the ribbon is on only one side).

Originally I thought I’d tape the cards to the ribbon, but I wanted to check how they would look hanging up first, so I grabbed some paper clips. Among those, though, I found some jumbo red paper clips. Huh. Well, never mind about the tape!

Then I just needed to secure the ribbon on either side of the mirror. When I first moved here, I got a custom mirror made for the space over the corner fireplace, which I glued it to the wall with liquid nails. I was conservative on the size, so there’s a quarter-inch of drywall between the molding and the mirror. I keep meaning to paint it white and haven’t bothered, so, uh, ignore that. For now, the space is just fine for a clear thumbtack to hold the ribbon in place:

And there you have it, an easy-peasy swag of Chrsitmas cards, using a ribbon and office supplies I had on hand!

Remember how I said I twisted the ribbon? Well, I did that to give the swag some dimension, and boy did the plan work:

As for the more tradition cards that can stand up on their own, I set them in front of a simple faux poinsettia garland that I’ve had a few years (again with the Christmasy gold):

And honestly, I didn’t even bother to clean the other crap off the mantel. I have a few miniature pianos up there, and rather than taking them down, I just shoved them back and placed the garland in front of them. That meant the little pianos could be used as used as tiers for more cards:

Which brings me to the very first photo of our mantel ever published on this blog:


... Okay, yeah, maybe it’s a bit silly to keep ol’ Bach up there, and that dried rose hanging out on the other side. I know. But lookit all the Christmas cards, you guys! I love Christmas cards!

Below the mantel I’ve hung our gold stockings, which are purely decorative as our stockings are filled by Santa at our parents’ homes (duh). And I filled the fireplace with battery-operated candles, because I’m both too cheap to hire a chimney sweep and too scared to light a fire until I do.

Overall I think it’s lovely!

Do you send out Christmas cards? What do you do with the cards you receive? And most importantly.... want to be on each others’ Christmas card lists? Let’s swap addresses!


Rachel said...

That looks really lovely. Over at Life on Lankford, I keep lamenting the fact that I'm stumped as to what to do with ours. Great idea!

Shanna said...

I love the gold & green...you did a wonderful job!

Shanna said...

If you really want my address for Christmas-carding, woudl love to exchange! Email me at cook [dot] s [at] charter [dot] net, and I'll send it to you. Or, if you have an old Weakley County phone book, the address will be there. We dropped our land line last year, so you'd have to have an old phone book to find it.

Lisa said...

No I dont send cards anymore but I have a big collection of old ones somewhere around here. They are gorgeous. Lots of old ones on pinterest too. But i have no fireplace! :( oh well Merry Christmas Sarah and David! And send me card anytime! I love cards :)