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14 Ideas for How to Hang & Style Your Stockings (With or Without a Mantel)


Photo by Sara Tramp for EHD | From: My First “Refined Traditional” Holiday Look…Target Style


Now, while I love Thanksgiving the most for all of its nonmaterial loving good feelings, that’s not to say I don’t still REALLY love Christmas. Why you may ask?? One word…PRESENTS. I mean as the EHD Senior Market Editor, it’s not a huge surprise I love to give and receive pretty things. On this beautiful gift-filled day, there is one very important place for Santa to put our new precious treasures…our stockings. We have a very strict tradition in my family. We go downstairs Christmas morning, get our favorite hot morning drink (what once was hot chocolate is now unapologetically coffee), all sit around the fireplace and either my brother or I pass out the stockings. Then, in order from oldest to youngest, we open one gift at a time while we ooo and ahhh over gum, lipsticks, mints etc. No genetic halitosis issues here…this tradition may sound a little slow and tedious but I love it almost more than the homemade crepes that come after. SO, as you can see, stockings are very important to me and to help you best display yours, we have compiled our favorite tips and tricks of how to display them (mantel or no mantel) as well as our other favorite holiday vignette styling tips. Shall we get on with it? HO HO HOkay 🙂 I had to, right??

Emily Henderson 2018 Holiday Styling Fireplace 3
Photo by Jayme Burrows for EHD | From: California Winter Wonderland Glam

Tips for How to Hang Stockings Without a Mantel

Let’s start with the “no mantel” tricks as that takes a bit more creative thinking. One great and very simple way to hang stockings sans mantel is to use a credenza as a replacement. You can treat your credenza just like you would as a mantel. Throw on a little garland, a couple candlesticks, a Christmas figurine or two and finish it off with your favorite stocking hangers. It will look festive and you’ll almost forget that there isn’t a warm fire warming up your home…almost.

Emily Henderson 2018 Holiday Styling Fireplace 6
Photo by Tessa Neustadt for EHD | From: 12 Days of Instagram With Target

Next up—and I think the most creative no-mantel solution—is the “faux present stocking mountain of fun” approach. Patent Pending. First, take a variety of different sized boxes and wrap them up in your favorite holiday wrapping paper (bonus points if it matches your holiday color scheme) and stack those suckers up. Once you have them styled in your desired formation, place your stocking holders on the top of the mountain and hang your stockings.


1. Weigh down the boxes. You don’t need to use real gifts but something a little heavy…that 5-pound weight you haven’t used since last January maybe? Nothing is sadder than Santa filling up those stockings on Christmas Eve and the stockings getting too heavy, making all the boxes fall to the ground.

2. Don’t put bows on top of each present. Strategize how you are stacking the boxes so they can sit flat on top of each other without a pretty bow acting as a teeter-totter.

3. MEASURE. Kinda a no brainer but consider how long your stockings are and how high the boxes will need to go. The higher the hair, the closer to god, but the higher the presents, the closer to the north pole. Sooooo…

Emily Henderson 2018 Holiday Styling Vingettes 71
Photo by Zeke Ruelas for EHD | From: Ginny’s Christmas Bedroom + Get the Look

Here we have a GREAT small space stocking solution. Use your bed! Ginny clearly was just using these guys as cute decor because she has a wonderful fireplace that I will cover later but if you live in a studio with no fireplace (which is probably 99% of studios) this a perfect idea. Pick up a pretty ribbon that looks great with your stocking and attach it to your bed frame. A small space does not need mean small holiday cheer people.

Emily Henderson 2018 Holiday Styling Fireplace 21
Photo by Sara Tramp for EHD | From: Our Living Room Holiday Reveal

Our last no-mantel hack is to take advantage of your shelves. Emily doesn’t have a mantel in her current house but she does have those awesome built-ins that act as the perfect stocking substitute location. Putting your stockings on selves (higher up) is also a sneaky way of being very kid and pet-friendly. It keeps them in sight but out of the way. Hopefully, that’s all you need to do to protect the Christmas decorations. My godparents used to attach their tree to the ceiling when their sons were young because they were THAT crazy. I really can’t wait to be a mother.

Emily Henderson 2018 Holiday Styling Fireplace 1
Photo by Sara Tramp for EHD | From: Brady’s Holiday Decor + Shop the Look

Mantel Stocking Hanging Tips

I know we all have no use for real mantels anymore now that you have so many fun tricks up your sleeves, so I’ll ease you back into the world of mantels. This is Brady’s beautiful home but as you can see he doesn’t have a deep mantel. What he did was use heavy duty Command hooks to frame his garland along his small mantel is and hang his stockings under the garland to hide the hooks holding them up. Genius and renter friendly.

Emily Henderson Target Christmas 2018 Portland112
Photo by Sara Tramp for EHD | From: My First “Refined Traditional” Holiday Look…Target Style

Okay, BandAid is off, we are back in mantel land but at least it’s in Portland. While this house and holiday decor style are pretty traditional, the orientation of the stockings aren’t. Emily styled them to one side instead of spreading them out equally across the width of the mantel. This creates a little more visual interest and feels visually balanced with the candlesticks on the other side. Plus, that JOY stocking holder is so cute.

Emily Henderson 2018 Holiday Styling Fireplace 4
Photo by Tessa Neustadt for EHD | From: At Home With Ginny for Christmas

This is Ginny’s fireplace from a couple of years ago but it still makes me so happy. It’s a perfect example to show that a cohesive color palette and a good mix of materials is the way to go when styling out your mantel. Like Ginny, you can have fun with a handful of styling pieces as long as you have at least a little negative space. Not all of us need to be minimalists but a little breathing room on that mantel will give your eye a chance to rest and take in all the pretty pieces you do have.

Let’s move onto holiday vignettes and to learn how to tastefully deck the hallways, shelves and all other available surfaces.

Emily Henderson 2018 Holiday Styling Vingettes 1
Photo by David Tsay | From: Christmas Through The Years

Reign in the Holiday “Scene”

If you are like my family, no open surface shall be without a holiday scene. I’m talking nativity scenes on both mantels (family and living room), an electronic ice staking rink on the hutch and a snowy California missions scene on the piano (shout out to Mervyn’s for carrying all 21 missions. RIP). This was extra comical to me because 99% of the California missions have most likely NEVER SEEN SNOW. Now, if lots of Christmas scenes are what make you happy then go for it but may we suggest easing back a little. Pick and choose where you create snow holiday fantasy lands. In the photo above, Emily did a collection of cloche covered trees instead of a “scene.” They are festive, neutral in color, full of texture and of course, includes fake snow.

Emily Henderson 2018 Holiday Styling Vingettes 10
Photo by Tessa Neustadt for EHD | From: Christmas Through The Years

Shelf Styling Vignette Tips

Shelf styling is an art but is totally doable for anyone. It’s again all about picking your moments. Not every shelf needs five trees and three nutcrackers. Instead, pick a couple of spots and create clusters within them. Take the above photo. Emily created a cluster of four objects on the left, two in the middle and another cluster of two off to the left, with just a little space between each one. It feels festive but also well styled. It’s important to vary the number of items within each cluster to maintain visual interest. Throwing in a couple of non-Christmas items like the vintage mini cloche and vintage bud vase in the picture helps to marry the Christmas decor and your normal decor more seamlessly.

Emily Henderson 2018 Holiday Styling Vingettes 6
Photo by Sara Tramp for EHD | From: Elliot’s Metallic Holiday Reveal

Kid Room Holiday Decor

Adding a little Christmas to your bedroom and/or kids’ rooms is super fun and very easy. Last year, Emily added Christmas love to both Elliot’s and Charlie’s rooms. In Elliot’s room, she added a couple of trees in different colors, sizes and styles to add dimension, along with that golden reindeer because it went perfectly with the whimsy of the original room design.

Emily Henderson 2018 Holiday Styling Vingettes 5
Photo by Sara Tramp for EHD | From: Charlie’s Room, Decked Out for the Holidays

In Charlie’s room, she just switched out the sheets, added a couple of throw pillows and a couple of other Christmas decor pieces. It’s playful, easy and makes every day during the holidays magical. HOT TIP: Pick out sheets that don’t scream holidays. Charlie uses these sheets year round because while they are perfect for Christmas time, lumberjacks are great friends all year long. I mean who doesn’t love a strong mustache and full beard? 🙂

Emily Henderson 2018 Holiday Styling Vingettes 81
Photo by Tessa Neustadt for EHD | From: At Home With Ginny for Christmas

Subtle and Easy Holiday Style Tips

Now forget the kids and let’s get back to the adults. Subtle accents can help make your home feel all the holiday cheer without all the visual chaos. In the above photo, the only “holiday changes” made were the added metallic garland, candle house and hanging bells. Those three small adjustments make that little corner instantly feel homey with a holiday twist.

Emily Henderson 2018 Holiday Styling Vingettes 31
Photo by Sara Tramp for EHD | From: Brady’s Holiday Decor + Shop the Look

I think the holiday version of “Put a bird on it” is “Put a bell in/on it.” Bells are pretty exclusive to the holidays so take advantage. Brady filled up his ceramic bowl on his coffee table with these oversized brushed gold bells and it looks so chic. So don’t be afraid to add bells to your decor this year. We think a more matte metallic looks higher end but go with what you like best.

Emily Henderson 2018 Holiday Styling Vingettes 4
Photo by Sara Tramp for EHD | From: Brady’s Holiday Decor + Shop the Look

Our last easy decor tip is to switch out a couple of your entertaining pieces. Brady’s bar cart has a perfect subtle holiday vibe with his cocktail shaker, ice bucket and greenery. Especially if you live in a smaller space, you don’t want every inch to be dripping in Christmas. Pick and choose where to go all out.

Well, those are our holiday styling tips for your stockings, mantel and everywhere else in your home. May your stockings be hung beautifully and full of mints, your shelves be perfectly clustered and oversized bells scattered everywhere. Are you going to try any of these? Are there any other styling tips you NEED? We are here and want to help. I would also LOVE to hear your family’s present opening traditions. It’s so fun to learn what everyone does. Let us know in the comments.

*Did you miss yesterday’s holiday styling post that was all about the tree, wreaths and garland? Check that out here. And while you’re in the holiday spirit, make sure you peruse out 2018 Gift Guides to start crossing things off that long to-do list of yours. 

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5 years ago

Love these tips since I do not have a mantle. Will you please do a stocking and stocking hanger roundup? Would love to see your picks! Thanks!

5 years ago
Reply to  Jess

Seconded! I was expecting this at the end of this post 🙂

5 years ago

Hey EHD Team! I love, love, love this blog dearly, and I realize that you owe me absolutely nothing when it comes to content, and I really want you guys to do you, but I miss the Budget Room Design posts. Like, a lot. They were my favorite thing on any blog ever, and after checking just now, it’s been five months since you’ve posted one (after a couple years of Budget Room Designs popping up once a month or so). Does that mean they’re out completely with the new blog direction? It hurts a bit to ask, but better to rip off the band-aid, so-to-speak.

5 years ago
Reply to  Jess Bunge

I would love some ideas for kids rooms and nurseries! I was browsing the blog the other day and there isn’t much content in this department. Thanks so much! I love this blog and your team!

5 years ago
Reply to  Jess Bunge

How to work around dark brown glossy furniture, like the kind most of us w/o $$$ buy at Bob’s, Bernie & Phyl’s, and other big box stores. It would be wasteful and $$$ to just get new furniture, but at the same time, I’m stumped as to how to work with what I have already.

5 years ago
Reply to  L

YES! This please- I want new furniture but it is not in the budget.

5 years ago

Love this post! I really appreciate how it touches on multiple kinds of homes (houses, apartments, abodes sans fireplaces).

5 years ago

Great post. Love seeing the variety of ideas and different contacts. This blog is one of the first places I visit each day.
We love stockings in our home too. When our children were little, we added a tradition based on the idea of stockings. We put together packs for the homeless, starting with socks and including toiletries, small snacks and other essentials. Our kids also write an encouraging message or draw a picture to include with each pack.
It is a highlight of our Christmas every year and puts the focus on others, helping us remember all we have on a day that can turn me-me-me too easily.
Thanks again for today’s great post. And happy holidays.

5 years ago

i wish you would show mantles with tv’s above them and how to style around them. i know it may not be the most design forward to have your tv there but i assume a lot of us do! thanks!

Stacy Hyatt
5 years ago

This is very timely, as I actually have a suggestion regarding this topic and your new “Rooms” page… I would love to see a section for just “Vingettes & Styling” — same as you have for “Dining Rooms” and “Bedrooms.” Overall furniture and decor is great, but a specific locations that houses tips and insp pics on how to style mantels, dresser tops, buffets, bookshelves, bar carts, etc. (for everyday, not just the holidays) with objects and how to create “moments” would be so helpful. I know those posts exist, but yesterday I had to do a search on your site for “styling” and “bookshelf” to find lots of inspiration pictures and, well, it wasn’t the most efficient way of finding it. Just a rec — love these holiday posts!

5 years ago
Reply to  Stacy Hyatt

I second this section for more general styling tips (not necessarily specific to a room)!

5 years ago

Growing up, my parents had a HUGE room-spanning wood mantle, but it had a deep ogee edge on it that made traditional stocking hangers impossible to use and my mom refused to put nails into the woodwork. Instead, she tied all of the stockings onto the banister of the stairway leading upstairs to the bedrooms, which was visible from the living room. It made a wonderful trip down from bed on christmas morning to untie your stocking on the way down and open all those goodies first, and they looked beautiful lining the spindles. Now with a mantle myself that would be perfectly capable of holding stockings, I still prefer to tie stockings onto my staircase because its such a pretty look if your home layout works well with it. Happy holidays everyone!

5 years ago

These are beautiful! Do you have any suggestion for stylishly hanging them from the mantel in a way that’s safe for grabby toddlers? I have some great stocking holders, but they are way too heavy to use when they might be pulled down onto a head or a foot! Last year (when my youngest was 1.5), I used Command hooks next to the fireplace, and that was… okay… but not the best looking solution. Any other ideas? Just nails?

5 years ago
Reply to  Michelle

Growing up, we never hung our stockings until Christmas Eve, and now my son does the same. We always hung ours on the books that held the fireplace utensils, as there was no mantle on the fireplace in the family room where the tree was. When I, as an adult, saw the statues with hooks on them that some people use to hang stockings from the mantle, I thought they were a new and slightly humorous idea.
Do the stockings need to hang? You could pull them out the afternoon of Christmas Eve, have the kids hang them a la “Night before Christmas” just before bed, and then when Santa fills them, he could stand them up, propped up by the wall.

5 years ago
Reply to  Michelle

Yes! I would love another mantle idea! We had an accident with our first child a few years ago that resulted in stitches due to a stocking holder. She is actually our ‘follow the rules” child but got so excited to show someone her stocking and the holder fell on her forehead. 🙁

5 years ago

I live in Austin where fireplaces are rare and miss them from my Virginia childhood. We decided to hang stockings from our half-height, cafe style shutters in the window near the tree. I bet a lot of windows would work like this, even without the shutters.

5 years ago

Another solution for no mantle is to hang them off a fireplace screen. I live in LA so the fireplace is never on, i doubt this is a good idea with a lit fire lol.

5 years ago
Reply to  lauren

Reader suggestion: posts on non-Christmas holidays this time of year. Please?

5 years ago

Amazing post and great ideas! I live in Italy (near Venezia) and I love my fireplace, but every Christmas I have to think about a new and unique way to decorate the mantel… this year I will try the decor style of the Portland home.
Anna From Italy

5 years ago

ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL, CLASSY and FESTIVE YET HOMEY. EMILY ~ I know this is a long shot but I have been looking for a tree like the one with the B&W Buffalo Plaid Stockings. After many years and repairs we have to replace ours. Can You PLLLLEASE share where you got it? I have checked B. Hill, Amazon, Overstock and most retail stores. But they all have very few lights 🙁 I sure would appreciate it if you could give me the SCOOP on where you got it. 🙂 Or did you add lights.
If you have a spare moment ( lol) …THANKS SO MUCH! HAPPY HOLIDAYS & BLESSINGS TO YOU and ALL OF YOUR FAMILY. ~ Keep Christ in CHRISTmas.

5 years ago

HI Emily and Team,

Can you help me pull the trigger??? I am overwhelmed with all the shopping decisions i am trying to make and have read all the christmas blog posts but did not find the answer to my question… how do y’all feel about Flocked Trees???