Oh, how I love to decorate for Christmas!
The mantel is always first.
It's a difficult mantel to decorate because it's very large and has to be flame resistant because we use our fireplace a lot during the winter. And did I mention, it's large? No hanging stockings, no draping garland, and no sparkly tinsel allowed for fear of it going up in flames.
I used the same fake greenery I've been using for years, adding large pinecones to beef it up. With the addition of new lanterns left over from my daughter's wedding, I decided to just use metal and natural elements this year. I used three rustyish stars that hubs strung onto a piece of barbed wire. I love how they fill the ackward space between the mantel and the firebox.
See the top of my fireplace tool holder? It's actually a small weather vane that I found in my uncle's basement about 20 years ago. We screwed it onto the top of the tool holder that the previous owners of our home had left on the fireplace. The tool holder was black and brass so I spray painted it with high heat black spray paint before adding the weather vane. I have to repaint the tools and holders every few years as the paint tends to wear off from repeated use.