Desire a natural Christmas mantel? Here’s how to put together nature-inspired Christmas mantel decor with real evergreen branches, an illuminated lantern, a red Coke sign and a few favorite things!
I’m pretty sure I start off every Christmas mantel with the preface, my mantel is massive, so my fireplace mantel decorating has to be too!
For the most part, the fireplace mantel in the living room is decorated pretty minimalyl for most of the year. But when Christmas rolls around, I go BIG.
But have you priced real evergreen branches? Everything seems to come with such a high cost these days. So I did my standard practice, and head outdoors after a good wind storm to collect this year’s greenery!
Then after deciding on a nature theme, I gathered up some accessories I already had on hand to chime in.
And I ended up with my favorite Christmas mantel to-date!
So let’s walk through this year’s holiday mantel, which will include tips on how I put it all together… for absolutely free!
Mantel supplies used:
2 table top Christmas trees (mine are from Hobby Lobby a number of years ago)
Vintage reproduction Coca Cola sign in deep red and white
Windblown real evergreen branches
Cuttings of holly branches with red berries
Neutral Christmas stockings – I used furry and off-white stockings
Other suggestions although I didn’t use them this year:
Nature-inspired Christmas mantel with lantern
Welcome to my abundant and rustic nature-inspired Christmas mantel, with plenty of greenery, accessories and lights! And boy does it illuminate in the evenings thanks to those lights that are full size this year!
This is seriously my favorite Christmas mantel to-date! So let’s dig into the details…
Landing free foliage
Being that we got a real Christmas tree this year (coming soon!), I wanted my Christmas mantel to chime in with that. So when it was time to put up the holiday mantel, I head down my favorite country road lined with tall evergreens.
It never fails. Loads of freshly broken branches lay on the side of the road, perfect for this rustic nature-inspired Christmas mantel look!
I also belong to a community Facebook group, and when someone advertised about pruning their holly bush complete with red berries, you know I was down the road in a flash to pick some of that up!
Gathering accessories to theme the mantel
Since I was going for a realistic nature-inspired look, I gathered elements that helped reflect that.
Note there are no miniature decorations. Everything used is full-size. Miniatures are fun! But this round, I wanted a true authentic look so I used full-sized accessories to reflect that.
With a super cool lantern, faux Christmas tree seedlings, plus a smattering of red with the Coca Cola red sign among all the fresh evergreen branches mixed with some holly clippings, this Christmas mantel most certainly makes an impact and looks as cozy as can be in the evenings!
How the lantern started the theme
This chosen design started with this neat reproduction vintage lantern. It was gifted to me by a friend, and I couldn’t wait to put it to use! It’s hollow on the bottom, so ensuring some Christmas lights snuck inside appears to illuminate the lantern perfectly.
So what would work with an outdoor lantern?
I imagined walking through the woods, with a lantern in hand, following a long, narrow path towards a cabin snuggled deep in the woods. And the rest was just pulled together to further the story.
Adding white outdoor vintage Christmas lights
And did you notice how large the lights are? I honestly ran out of mini white Christmas lights that all landed on this year’s Christmas tree (coming soon!) so after rummaging through my Christmas light stash, a string of outdoor vintage white Christmas lights did the trick.
I think I actually prefer larger lights! One string of large outdoor Christmas lights really illuminates the Christmas mantel features beautifully without taking over.
Something to note though with larger Christmas lights is the fact that they do throw more heat. So closer to Christmas, I may switch out the branches to keep them fresher since there’s plenty of evergreen branches where these came from!
Or you could always pick up a few vintage light reflectors…
My first intention was to decorate in all neutrals, hence the neutral stockings. However this living room and fireplace always seem to do better with a dash of red! So this round, I chose a vintage reproduction Coca Cola sign in a deep vintage red tone.
Would you find a Coke sign in the forest? Probably not. LOL But I liked how it looked. Plus, Coke signs are typically outdoors and has a big Christmas presence in advertising so I think it just works!
The addition of holly branches with red berries helped to bring out a little more color as well in a natural way.
Did you notice there’s a lack of Christmas decorations? Probably not! While I did add the white vintage Christmas lights and 3 large galvanized ornaments, all the rest of the accesseries are everyday things. So this is yet another reason I only have 1 Christmas decorations box. I don’t use many!
However you sure can. Simply pull from your stash to chime in with theme and color palette and add any Christmas wreaths, ribbons, candlesticks, DIY holiday decor accents, garland and Christmas signs you wish!
How to build this mantel look:
- Position evergreen branches in place on an empty mantel.
- Add features to the mantel, such as lantern, evergreen trees for height, and a Coca Cola sign for a pop of color.
- Weave in Christmas lights around the features, making sure they reach all the darkest areas and highlight features, such as inside a lantern or under the taller Christmas trees.
- Hang stockings off to the side so they don’t interfere with lighting a real wood burning fireplace.
- Spritz with faux snow if desired, although I didn’t feel a need to do that this year. The larger lights do all the highlighting required!
All that’s left to do is light the real wood-burning fireplace, snuggle-up with a hot beverage and a cozy throw blanket, and you’re left with a cozy cabin-in-the-woods kinda Christmas mantel vibe that offers warmth, plenty of holiday cheer charm, and as free as it gets!
What theme is your Christmas mantel this year?
I secretly like to challenge myself to rustic Christmas mantel decorating each year… below are a few more Christmas mantel ideas you may enjoy…
Other rustic Christmas mantel decoration ideas:
Cozy cabin branch filled Christmas mantel (reindeer head and snowy branches)
Check out Christmas stencils I love using HERE