I don't have a fireplace...so I don't have a mantle to decorate.
Yes, it's very, very sad!
Luckily, however, I do have a gorgeous buffet that I bought of off KSL.com for $80 a year ago (and I was in Montana at the time, so I made my sister drop everything and go get it for me!).
In my house, it substitutes as a mantle to decorate! So here it is...my lovely buffet.
Usually I save my favorite things for last, but this time I'm going to show them first! And my favorites are...the stockings!
When my first baby was born, my craftiness came out in counted-cross stitch (look here for two big Santa pictures I made for my mother). I found a darling stocking kit, and I made it up for her first Christmas. Of course, then I could do no less for the subsequent children!
I eventually had to resort to eBay to buy more stocking kits. I wanted them all to be the same size, you see...and face the same direction.
Some stockings had to "wait their turn" until I was expecting a baby of the appropriate gender! But it all worked out perfectly in the end.
There are hours and hours of work in these stockings. I have told my children that they don't really belong to them...they are mine for always! They are far and away my favorite handmade Christmas decoration.
I also made a custom board to hang and display all the stockings. "In Hopes of St. Nicholas" is a line from "'Twas the Night Before Christmas," and I used six different knobs as the stocking hangers. I love to bring it out every year!
On my buffet sits a little ceramic tree that has been a part of my Christmases for about as long as I can remember. It was made by a sweet neighbor who lived across the street from us, and my mother used to display it on her sideboard (shown here), opposite of one my grandmother made. Alas, my mother's collection of Christmas decorations has outstripped her storage capacity, so last year this little tree came home with ME! It may not be hip, or chic, or Pottery Barn...but it's home.
In keeping with all things glass and sparkly, next I have these pretty hand-made-in-Montana glass dishes (and I promise the color is much prettier in person), which hold ornaments and jingle bells for now, but Christmas candy when I get around to making some... (same for the glass boxes)
And last the candle holders, which repeat the bright green and red and hold glitter-covered candles!
Who needs a mantle anyway??