Greetings from Boston on this unseasonably mild but rainy afternoon.
Today, I’m going to share some Christmas decorations featuring my holiday fireplace mantel decor.
As ALWAYS, my ambitions far outweigh my ability to produce.
Right now, I’m taking a break from opening boxes.
The first box contained my new vintage fireplace toolset.
There was no glass, but they packed it like it would be attached to the exterior of the space shuttle and then expected to survive re-entry.
Styrofoam pellets. My absolute worst. It took me at least 40 minutes to unpack the tools and put the styrofoam in plastic bags. You can’t recycle them. They are a lose/lose situation.
Do you see that bag above? That’s my new fondu pot, looking like it’s about to off itself over the side of the stairwell. haha. I got it at the most darling store on Charles Street on the flat of Beacon Hill. Blackstones, it’s called. I’m in there at least once a week.
By the way, I’m not making fondu. However, the pot is for the party. Sorry, but I don’t want to spoil the surprise.
Anywho, there she is; the most girly fireplace toolset I’ve ever seen. Please notice that the handles are all different from each other. Believe me when I tell you that I looked at hundreds of fireplace tool sets, new and old.
I came close to getting a set with brass duck heads but thought these suited me better.
In case you didn’t see or don’t remember, I’m having a party for 35 women later this week.
One reason I wanted to do the party was to force me to do stuff like this.
It goes back to that accountability thing I was talking about recently.
And what have we here?
Yes, a garland. A garland from Williams Sonoma.
It was packaged the opposite of the fireplace tools—no wrapping whatsoever. And, the box was perilously close to falling apart.
But, here’s what’s funny.
I’ve ordered so much
crap stuff in the last three weeks; I can’t remember what I’ve ordered and couldn’t remember whether it was faux or real. When I opened up the box, I thought it looked perfect and, thus, FAKE. And then I took a good whiff and went, yep, it’s plastic. But, it’ll do.
Then, I went to the Williams Sonoma website to remind myself what I bought and found out that it is NOT faux but genuine fresh western red cedar.
Oh, good, I bought two of them.
I found out TODAY as I dragged it over to the mantel that I got one piece @25 FEET of garland. haha!
I used about half of it for the Christmas holiday fireplace mantel decor, which you’ll see in a bit.
But, first, I opened the three boxes you can see in the background in the image above.
Awww, so sweet! How did they know? I adore yellow poinsettias.
Remember the last time I decorated for Christmas. It was six years ago, and it’s taken this long to recover from.
You know… I really don’t need to get married.
I don’t even really need a boyfriend. I’ve given up. There are no available boyfriends for me, it appears. However, I’m wondering if there’s a husband I can rent.
“You know you don’t want to live with him; just have him do the heavy lifting, and then he’ll buggar off!”
Raise your hand if you remember that short-lived show from the 60s.
Okay, sorry. It’s time to get serious.
But wait! There’s a card in the box with the poinsettia!
Let’s see what it says:
That was so thoughtful of me. Awww… ;]
Oh, I love the little mesh bags. I’m saving those!
Very sweet. Two are going on the fireplace mantel top shelf and one for the coffee table in the den, I think.
Ack! I was going to show you what I did to the lights.
Remember all of the holiday decorations I shared in this post?
Well, I got many of the items for myself. And one of them was the leaves with the lights.
The so-called “fairy lights.”
Aren’t fairies supposed to be delicate? Well, the lights are physically barely noticeable– until you turn them on. After that, you could land a 747 with one string of these lights. They’re so bright! So, what did Laurel do? I grabbed a bottle of beige nail polish and dabbed a little on each bulb. Well, it worked! I was going to go all demo on you, but no time today. You’ll just have to take my word for it.
If you take a look at the decorations post, I used the Southern Living image as inspiration for my mantel. I was supposed to get some other lights with faux fruit on them. Instead, I used natural fruit.
Okay, time to see my Holiday Fireplace Mantel Decor.
Please excuse the upside-down fire screen.
Above is one of the earlier images I took. Soon after, I noticed that the pillow on the right chair was missing and, yes, the screen, lol.
Please excuse the lopsided firescreen. Oh, and don’t get too excited about my fire-building skills. It didn’t last long. But, anything for the shot! Right?
Also, the top shelf needs a little tweaking. It doesn’t look as cluttered in person.
Below are some close-up vignettes of the holiday fireplace mantel decor.
The bright light is a lovely pine-scented candle from Anthropologie. And, I love how my antique Staffordshire dogs are ever at the ready amongst the greenery. And, oh my! I see Joe reflected in the mirror. And, the beautiful vintage lamps I bought a year ago.
If you’re looking for antique or vintage Staffordshire dogs, below is a mini widget of ones currently for sale. Most, if not all are 19th century. Please be sure to check sizes. These range from 9″ high to 14″ high. Mine are 12″ high. It is typical for one dog to be slightly larger than the other. (male/female)
(Please click on any image for more information.)
One more showing the right side of the holiday mantel decor.
Above are two more candles from Anthro. I’ve gone a little candle-crazy. It is quite dangerous having a real live ANTHROPOLOGIE, only a 5-minute walk from my home!
Well, there’s more to come. But, I think I’m in good shape for my party later this week.
To close, I’m sharing my Suzanne Kasler tabletop tree from Ballard Designs. I couldn’t be happier with it. Thank you, God, it came assembled. Remember my “portable” AC? And, it’s also prelit. All I had to do was take it out of the box and fluff the branches. I think it looks real. And with all of the lovely pine-scented candles I just got, the apartment smells like fresh pine everywhere you go.
Please excuse the wire. This is not where the tree is going, and the wire will be more hidden. By the way, the bulbs are pretty bright here, too, but I have an extension cord with a dimmer on it like this one, so problem solved.
Tomorrow, I will finish decorating the tree.
And, I think I want to make a cake very soon.
I hope you enjoyed my Holiday Fireplace Mantel Decor.
Below is a mini widget of items I used in my holiday decor. I couldn’t find the yellow poinsettia at Urban stems, but I put in a small red one in a pretty white pot. They also have a larger version.
(Please click on any image for more information.)
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YOU FIREPLACE MANTEL WOKE ME UP AT 5AM!
PLEASE, DON’T PUT REAL CANDLES ON THE LEDGE WITH YOUR DOGS.
FROM EXPERIENCE: ONE, A FIRE OF DRIED PLUMES 4′ ABOVE A CANDLE AND ANOTHER OF MELTING AN UPPER KITCHEN CABINET & SEEING IT BEFORE AN ACTUAL FIRE BROKE OUT,
I LEARNED THAT AS CANDLES GET TOWARDS THEIR END, THE HEAT GET EXTREMELY, EXTREMELY HOT AND RISES HIGHER THAN YOU COULD IMAGINE.
SO YOU MAY BURN A CANDLE FOR HOURS WITH NO PROBLEM, IT STILL IS NOT SAFE. BOTH OF MY EXPERIENCES WERE CANDLES THAT BURNED FOR A FEW HOURS BEFORE DISASTER STRUCK.
BATTERY OPERATED CANDLES OR A STRING OF BATTERY OPERATED LIGHTS, KEEPS YOUR HOME SAFE.
ENJOY YOUR PARTY!!
Thank you for this lovely Christmas post, Laurel, and the links to all the others; it really helped to put me in the mood. Other than my small Christmas tree my decorations consist of juniper branches and small white and purple balls placed around various Chinese antiques around the house. Your home looks more elegant every time I see it, and will be such a lovely backdrop for your party and you.
Thank you! As usual, a perfect blend of awesome, inspiring, and hilarious 😁🎄
Laurel, your house is really coming together! I’ll bet one of the best changes for you is that if you see something you love in a shop, you probably have a place for it now. I’ve lived in tiny places. If you bring in so much as a paperback, one has to leave to make room for it. So annoying!
I’ve always wondered how in the world, even with several homes, Martha Stewart has room to store her many collections and still navigate from room to room.
Wherever you put that glorious painting (?), it steals the show!!
The mantle looks wonderful and I love your small tree! Everything looks very festive. I think it’s wonderful that you are having a great time in Boston with a new social circle.
Regarding “rent a husband” – at my first job many years ago, Bea, a very sweet and stylish widow sometimes joked that she would only remarry if the gentleman was a rich handyman. Happy Holidays Laurel!
I thought all packing peanuts were made of corn starch now. Still just as much of a mess-maker, but better for the environment! How do you know if you have those? Stick one in your mouth, or put some water on it and they deflate into nothingness.
We finally broke down this year and bought ourselves one new holiday decoration; Its a nutcracker with a kitty head! (We have a millllliion cats, so it works). I have it sitting in between two paperwhite plants. Done.
You discovered a great tip for getting a different perspective on what is working (or not working) in your decor: take a photo! Another tip is to look at it’a reflection in a mirror.
I think your decor looks refined and very pretty. Can’t wait to hear how the party turns out!
Love the mantle! It’s beautiful and calming! BTW, my local packing store takes everyone’s packing peanuts and reuses them. You might see if anyone in your area does as well.
Love the dogs, I’ve always wanted some but haven’t figured out where to put them.
This was a fun read today! Your mantle looks so pretty and I know your apartment will be festive and elegant. Thirty-five guests! What will you be doing for food/drinks? And clean up during and afterwards? Will it be an “open house” where guests will arrive and leave over several hours? Or a set time with everyone pretty much arriving at the same time? I’m looking forward to more photos and updates.
Laurel, your fireplace is beautiful ! Have a wonderful holiday party.
Laurel, your post about Rent-a-Husband made me laugh! I remember in the 90’s you could buy a Boyfriend In A Box…there were 8 to choose from, and they came with photos, signed cards, a tag for a floral arrangement…they were hilarious!
I hope you have lovely party!
Oh, Laurel, I didn’t think anyone could do anything to integrate that mantle into a room. Usually there is a naked space calling for cover above the top. But you did it with that wonderful painting from your earlier place, and it’s gorgeous. Exactly right. That alone would save so many rooms in Victorian homes. I’ve missed reading your posts for several weeks, and so this was all a wonderful surprise. You’ve created a home, not just a house, seamlessly integrated past with present. You are a marvel, a classic sensibility with verve. The world needs more of you. Hope your party is as happy as your home!
I love the festive decor! I think your sweet, little, tree would look wonderful in a Chinoiserie cachepot. RE: painting the lights. I have also done that with an entire, long, strand of LED lights which were WAY too bright. LEDs are the absolute bane of my existence! I know your party will be lovely!
I was gonna say the same thing about the UPS Store..they take back styrofoam peanuts and reuse them.
Your mantle is beautiful. I really love the Staffordshire dogs on the lower mantle. Is this the mantle that you were wanting to replace?
Laurel, your decorations are very soothing and beautiful! I am sure your friends will love your party. (And that dress!)
Can you please provide the direct link to the eucalyptus with fairy lights? Unlike the gorgeous tablecloth I cannot find it.
Thank you and Merry Christmas!
It’s at the bottom of the page in the mini widget.
Sorry, meant faux candles and fairylights on TIMERS.
Careful with lit candles inside of shelving. I see soot and a fire potential in front of the dog on the left. Been there, done that.
Good point, Ruth! I noticed that too after I took the photo. Actually, I just went over and it rubbed right off. I don’t think that was from me, however, because last night is the first time I’ve lit a candle there, and I trim the wicks so the flame doesn’t go too high.
Great job decorating and I can’t wait to see and hear a full report of the Party of The year. I love to decorate for winter, and put fauxcandles and fairylights on candles like they show at Terrain (Anthro’s cousin) to brighten the evenings that begin at 4pm. Love you Laurel and wishing you the very best of health and happiness in the New Year
Your decorations will be exquisite. You truly are the hostess with the mostest! Wish I was on your guest list!
Now relax and enjoy.
Happy Chanukah, Merry Christmas, and a blissful 2022!
The mantle is beautiful, especially with the Staffordshire dogs, and I just adore the tiles on the fireplace surround.
Everything looks so pretty, Laurel! Enjoy your party! Merry Christmas! XOXO
Laurel, your home is lovely! I enjoyed seeing your Christmas decor, thank you for this post! You inspired me to decorate this year, something I haven’t done since my divorce 5 years ago. This was just what I needed, thank you.
Oh, I laughed at loud at the first couple of photos of your fireplace and two-tier mantel. To get all of it in one frame, it seems you must have had to lay on the floor and shoot up. I don’t know why that struck me as so funny – I just had this mental picture of you laying on the floor surrounded by boxes of decorations and getting up and accidentally kicking the fondue box, catapulting it to the floor below.
It’s gorgeous! It looks cozy, warm and inviting
Lovely! I hate to make this comment but take care with lighting fires under the fresh cedar garland. It gets crispy and turns dull very quickly when near heat. Wishing you a wonderful party and a happy holiday season. I’m too exhausted to decorate this year. Christmas is a pot luck luncheon with paper plates. Yeah.
Thanks, Gail. I’ll save the candles for the party.
Laurel, I read the post you linked to about the last time you decorated for christmas. The first add-on paragraph of that blog post made me sad. While obviously I can’t read the comments now, and I’m glad that I can’t, it disturbs me that people would do things like that to you. I love reading your blog, and I cannot wait to see the remodeling that you’re going to do. And to continue to get to see the beautiful photos of Beacon Hill. Thank you for being you and sharing yourself with me, a stranger thousands of miles away.
Hi Laurel, I was so glad to see J’s previous comment about the packing peanuts. They sure look to be the disintegrating green version, so please check before tossing the bag in the garbage :-). I love that lots of companies are making the switch! Your Christmas decor looks very festive, and I’m sure your guests will appreciate the lovely multi-sensory ambiance.
Happy holidays to you!
Your beauty is going to really shine in that amazing green dress. I hope you will include a photo sometime. I’m off to Walmart to find beige fingernail polish for an overly bright star decoration. Great idea! Merry Christmas Laurel!
Laurel, I love your post and especially the gift note to and from you . After laughing out loud I decided to buy myself the gift of your great tips as a holiday treat to me , from me . Thank you for both the inspiration and the fun I have reading your blog.
Love that blue lamp!!
Okay, you had me at hello! I am new to your blog and so love this post. Beautiful decorating. And you had me cracking up from all your comments. Especially love how you sent a note to self. Love it.
Hi Laurel, Love your mantelpiece decorations. I like the original mantelpiece in your home– at least it looks like it is original! Double decorating opportunities!
Had to comment and say how much I love your decorations! And your party will be fantastic, I’m sure. Currently recovering from a total knee replacement, so not much Christmas decor at my house–means I enjoy yours that much more!
Everything looks so lovely. I’m happy the supply chain issues didn’t delay your decorating items.
Enjoy your party. Making memories in your new home will be fun.
Charlotte Moss couldn’t have done it better!!
Where did you find the Staffordshire dogs?
Prayers for the tornado victims south of us.
I found them on Etsy or Chairish. I don’t recall. But, I put up a small widget with a bunch of them, between the two mantel vignettes near the bottom of the post. I found several that are similar to mine.
I’ve read your blog for years and loved it but never commented. Your mantle is lovely btw.
Random component here about “styro-loathe” peanuts… I completely agree with you about the double waste. However. ..those peanuts in your pics, I’m pretty sure those are the biodegradable kind. They’re more tube shaped. The bio ones don’t have the static and squeak of the styro-loathe peanuts. You can crush them between your fingers and they’re always off-white. They’re plant cellulose. You can tell for sure by dropping a peanut in the sink. If they MELT they’re bio peanuts. You can just wash the whole box full down the sink. Viola!
Well, I’ll be a dingdongdang! You’re right! However, it would take forever to get them all down the sink. I put some in with warm water and they smelled like Rice Krispies as they were melting. LOL I always suspected rice krispies wasn’t real food.
You need to tape the electrical cords from the lamps on top of the mantle at the back the fireplace mantle
Have so much fun at your party, everything looks lovely! I especially love the fireplace tools. By the way, in my house, we ( my kids, when they were little ) referred to packing peanuts as “ghost poopies” just makes it a little more fun lol
Oh Laurel, it’s lovely! Refined, elegant, and homey all at the same time. Very welcoming!
Hi Laurel, I have a question about using a jute 3×5 rug in front of my sofa. Is shedding a real pain in the neck? Or is there another material that will give me the same look without shedding. Thank you, I hope you send me a reply.
Merry Christmas, I enjoy you so much.
Oh how festive it looks. As someone who lives where Christmas is mid Summer, that fireplace looks divine!! Love the toolset with the quirky handles. Make Merry for your party.🎄🧑🎄👍
P.S. Your decorations look lovely!
Laurel, check with UPS. They’ve taken my styrofoam peanuts in the past.
Great job Laurel! I can’t wait to see you finish your decorations and how wonderful your party will be!!! Most of all, I truly believe you are having a great time!! Merry Christmas 2021!!