Our Christmas “Mantel”

There will be no chestnuts roasting over any open fires this Christmas season for us, friends. Unless, of course, I try again to melt the butter on my toast over a candle and set the bread on fire, in which case I could rush to the nearest…chestnut seller and immediately capitalize on my impromptu blaze. So why no jolly nut-roasting, you ask? Because:

A) I learned my lesson and nobody likes burned toast.

B) I have no actual idea how to properly cook a chestnut.

C) We don’t have a fireplace.

This lack of fireplace means we also don’t have a fireplace mantel, which I’m pretty sure is the #1 reason why I like fireplaces in the first place. Beautifully decked out mantels are all over the blogosphere with every changing season, and I’ve always had to sit out on the fun. Suddenly it dawned on me, though, that even though I don’t have a mantel, I can do mantel-ish things with a fantel.

fantel: (noun) a fake mantel; a hutch, shelf, or otherwise non-mantel object masquerading as a mantel, as in “Erin, having decided that she didn’t want to mope about her lack of mantel for one minute longer, decided to decorate her fantel for Christmas instead.”

(Amanda at Serenity Now once called her fake mantel a fantel and I obviously thought it was clever.)

So: our Christmas fantel-mantel. (It’s really the built-in hutch in our dining room.)


If you couldn’t tell from the DIY Christmas stockings I posted about on Monday, I am liking the non-traditional Christmas colors for my décor. This is partly because red has never been one of my favorite colors (which makes me feel like a traitor on the 4th of July and a Grinch at Christmas)…aaaaand partly because I just like being non-traditional. This is why silver, gray, kelly green, lime green, white, and natural elements make up my palette of choice this Christmas.


I’m still winning my traditional-red-and-green-to-the-death husband over on this one, but even he admitted that my stockings and my fantel were elegant AND festive. If something with a name like fantel can exist in the same sentence as elegant.


No credit card limit was sacrificed in the making of this fantel-mantel, because it’s decked out exclusively with stuff that we already had around the house. I spray painted these ceramic birds kelly green...


…and found these ceramic birds (they’re actually salt and pepper shakers, originally from Pier One) at Goodwill over the summer. The fabric is from here a million months ago. This is the first use I’ve found for it, though of course at the time I bought it for some other Pressing and Essential Reason.


The branch is compliments of our backyard and a few coats of polyurethane spray to give it some shine and a more durable finish. The glass bottle the branch is in is compliments of some neighbor’s recycling bin from when we lived in our apartment.



So is this pretty green bottle. I have no shame.


The other glass objects (the apothecary jar and the wide-mouth vase) both came from TJ Maxx at some point over the past year. Rick likes when I buy the former because it’s called an apothecary jar. He wonders why it is filled with ornaments and weird ball things, though, and not Cymbalta or fungal ointment or some other fun thing an apothecary dispenses.



Speaking of ornaments, all the ones you see have been accumulated over the past several years, generally in the form of 90% off after Christmas.


The greenery and the imperfectly perfect “stump” are courtesy of our Christmas tree, which was just a few inches too tall to fit in our room once we hauled it home. I’d say the million minutes poor Rick spent sawing this off were well worth it. He may vote otherwise.


So that’s our Christmas mantel-fantel, which I am loving eating breakfast next to in the mornings. There’s just something about glowing Christmas lights when everything is quiet that makes an impending day of teenagers seem all the more bearable.


Do you have a real mantel, or do you have a fantel-mantel? Does it get a makeover with every passing season? What’s your color scheme of choice this Christmas? Do share. And have a wonderful Wednesday while you’re at it. :)

P.S. Stocking tutorial will be up Friday. As in this Friday. As in not some Friday in 2019. Promise. UPDATE: I made good on that promise! The tutorial can be found here.

***I’m linking this up to Tater Tots & Jello’s Weekend Wrap-Up Party and Southern Hospitality’s Holiday Mantel Party!***


  1. Love your fantel! Your stockings are great....looking forward to the tutorial.

  2. Beautiful fantel/mantel! I'm loving the green, white, silver and natural Christmas vignettes this year.

  3. Your fantel is fabulous! I love that. Loving the green and I totally want those stockings! I love your style and I'm following along now. I will be back to check out your stocking post when I have more time.

  4. Oh so clever and I must say that is one of my favorite shades of green.
    I really like those stockings too:)
    All very pretty:)

  5. I'm digging your fantel and color scheme. (I like the word scheme.) I'm into red lately. I don't get it. I never used to be and now it's covering my house.

    I also dig apothecary jars for the same reason. It's the little things when you are a pharmacist.

    Happy Wednesday to you as well!!

  6. Beautiful! So clever to bring in the wood stump from your tree. That's kinda fabulous. Tell Rick well done, sir. I also LOVE the branches on the right that are kinda curling up over everything else. A fantel can totally be gorgeous, and you've just proven it.

  7. I like the idea of a fantel! We don't have one either so I'm going to have to get real clever when it comes to hanging stockings this year!!

  8. Hahaha! I have a mantel but this makes me want a fantel.

  9. Love it!! Very creative!! The stockings are great! Can't wait for the tutorial. Found your blog from the Southern Hospitality linky party! Hope you'll drop by my blog for a visit!! Merry Christmas!

  10. Love that you placed the stump of your tree on the mantle. Keep it. I have one from a million years ago that I use in decorating...and not only at the holidays.

  11. I love your "fantel!" We don't have a fireplace either :( You did a great job! I love all the green and natural elements. Looks feleagant. (see what i did there?)

  12. I need to figure out a fantel! Yours is so pretty. Question: Do you (and others?) change your holiday colors every year??? That seems like a lot of work.

  13. Hahah fantel! We don't have a mantel either, so I hung or stockings on the banister. Love this idea though!! :)

  14. ha ha! We don't have a mantel either. Do you know how hard it is to explain to a child how SANTA get's in when you don't have a mantle? Impossible! so last year we put a shelf on the wall at about mantle height added Christmas decor and then added Styrofoam to the sides painted to look like brick. So I guess we had a "styrofoamantle" I will post the picture on my blog in a couple of days ( MUST. GO. FIND. PHOTO.)

  15. Skye-FELEGANT! I love it. :)

    Katie-I certainly don't intend to change color schemes; if I do, I will not buy new things for it. Seems like a lot of work AND money!

  16. I'm on team fantel! No real use for a fireplace here in Florida. I love the look of it. The colors are fab. I have that same fabric you have along the bottom. I need to make something with it quick. Love it all!


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