In this post: Sometimes it can be tricky to figure out how to decorate a mantel for Christmas, especially if you have a TV on or above it. But, you can do it and it can look lovely. 🙂 

A pretty mantel over a roaring fire, surrounded by cozy chairs is like the quintessential Holiday scene. Sometimes it can be tricky to figure out how to decorate a mantel for Christmas, especially if you have a TV on or above it. But it can be done!

I originally wrote this post a few years ago, before we shiplapped our fireplace. I thought it would be fun to update it now with its current look and share a few of our friends’ Christmas mantels too (scroll down for those). 

fireplace mantel with a tv over it decorated for christmas

1. Keep everything short/low

First of all, you need to keep scale and height in mind when decorating a mantel with a TV above it for Christmas. You don’t want to block anyone’s view of the screen for those Christmas movie marathons!

Bonus points if you can somehow keep the sensor for the remote easily accessible.

This one I find tricky as ours is at the very bottom front of the TV (the red dot in the photo below). But since we use a Roku (and now that the TV is shiplapped, Bluetooth enabled cable, or our Amazon Firestick) most of the time, we really only need access to the sensor for turning the TV on and off and the occasional volume adjustment.

You’ll notice that as I was decorating the gray fireplace, I moved the DVD player from under the TV. I stood it on its side and tucked it in beside the TV.

empty mantel

2. Start with a garland

The first piece you want to put down is the main garland. Stretch it across the length of the mantel and make any necessary adjustments to the individual pieces. 

Start with a garland

Or swag it across the front of the mantel, like our finished mantel below. That really keeps the sensors clear. (Unfortunately, it also allows the cables to show – but my family is happier to not have to do even mild gymnastics to control the tv! And sometimes function beats looks.)

shiplap fireplace barn beam mantel tv above christmas

3. Add stocking hangers

If you will be hanging stockings on your mantel, add the hangers after the garland. This way you can get the spacing correct before the next steps. If you’d like, go ahead and add the stockings now so you can get a feel for the colors and textures of the space.

Add stocking hangers
stocking hangers

Or you can group the stocking together. This works well when they’re empty and not as well once you start to fill them.

For the shiplap mantel below, I grouped the stockings on one side of the mantel, hung on a couple of thumbtacks. You could use 3M hooks if you don’t want to damage your mantel. Ours is a legit rustic old barn beam, so I don’t mind sticking it with thumbtacks now and again.  

stockings grouped on one side of mantel

4. Place string lights

In my opinion, fifty percent of the magic of Christmas decorating is in the string lights. I love to add them to the mantel to add to the lovely glow of the fire – or just to turn on for that glow when it’s too warm for the fireplace to be on.

Weave an appropriate length of string lights in behind the stocking hangers, and around the garland on the mantel. Use battery-powered lights if there’s no outlet on or near your mantel. (I obviously added the stockings here too.)

Place string lights

Or you could add battery-powered candles as I did with our shiplap mantel.

Truthfully, I wanted to add string lights to the garland, but I gave the last operational battery-powered strand in the house to my daughter for her room and I was done spending money so I didn’t want to order more. 

You don’t want to use real candles as that would be bad for the tv. 😉 

harmony bells hanging on farmhouse style mantel

5. Fill in any gaps in the garland with greenery sprigs and sprays

Inevitably there will be gaps in the garland. Now that the stocking hangers and string lights are in place, you can fill in the remaining gaps with sprigs and sprays of greenery.

Fill in gaps in garland with greenery sprigs and sprays
Fill in gaps in garland with greenery sprigs and sprays

For the shiplap fireplace, after playing around with options, I settled on two simple eucalyptus stems – one tucked into each side of the garland – for a little more variety without overdoing it. 

harmony bells hanging on farmhouse style mantel

6. Add additional embellishments, as desired

If you’d like, you can add things like pine cones (try our DIY cinnamon scented ones here), berry picks, or faux deer antlers into the garland to fill the spaces out even more!

Add additional embellishments, as desired
Christmas mantel detail
Traditional Christmas mantel decor with a TV

Or you can add simple striped ribbons and a homemade pom-pom garland like I did this year. 

Shannon Home Made Lovely 2020 Xmas Mantel

And that’s how you cozy up a Holiday mantel when you’ve got nowhere else to put that big black tv!

Related: How to Decorate a Christmas Tree the Easy Way with Step-by-Step Instructions

Do you have a mantel to decorate this year? Do you have any more ideas for how to decorate a mantel with a TV above it for Christmas?

shannon photo and sig oct 2022