Holiday Decorating: Making Faux Presents For The Mantel

Jingle bells! Batman Smells! Robin laid an egg. Batmobile lost a wheel and Joker did ballet.

What? You didn’t sing that song at camp while wearing culottes and a tie-dyed shirt? Well I did. Anyway, the point is that I hung the stockings and did a little extra Christmas decorating beyond putting up the tree (just in time to put it all away in about a week when we start packing for the big move in mid December). Gotta celebrate Clara’s first Christmas, even if it’s only for a hot second. Out came the ol’ feather trees (from Target and a local store called Buford Road Pharmacy a few years back) along with the same ol’ Target stockings that we’ve been enjoying for the past few Christmases:

Since the stockings and the feather trees were from a few years past, I decided I wanted to do something new to spice things up – but I didn’t want to spend much money. So piggybacking off of our pink and silver tree, I picked up two pretty sheets of wrapping paper from a local gift shop (Mongrel) and grabbed a roll of silver wrapping paper while I was at it. Then I raided our gift closet for boxes and ribbon. I ended up having a ton of empty gift boxes and even had my fair share of pink and silver ribbon thanks to welcoming a baby girl six months ago (I’m totally that cheap-o who saves all the ribbon along with the boxes /bags from gifts that we receive over the years).

So my little stacks of eleven faux-gifts (since they’re just empty boxes that I wrapped for effect) were accomplished for the cost of the gift wrap (around $7 or so). I think they’re sweet and kind of vintage-ish, plus the fact that there’s a touch of yellow in some of the paper really works with our yellow rug in there. They’re so cute I’m thinking that I might save them and work them into the decor every year somehow…

And of course Mr. Concrete Greyhound now has his Christmas best on (read: I tied a gold ribbon that I already had around his neck, but don’t tell him that).

I also made little card stock tags for each stocking (John and I shared one labeled “Mom & Dad” so both Clara and Burger would have their own). Then I tied some extra ribbon around them so they relate to my little stacks of faux gifts. Took two minutes.

With the candles in the fireplace burning and the tree all plugged in it’s more festive than ever.  I’m so glad we took the time to put things out, even if it’s only going to be enjoyed for a short time.

Are you guys decorating yet? It’s officially December so I feel a lot less odd about breaking out the holiday cheer. Is there anyone else who’s moving but still putting some stuff up to enjoy it just for a little while?

Psst- Check out a ton of holiday decorating and gifting ideas in this section of our Projects page. Ho, ho, ho.


  1. says

    We are decorating this weekend. I’m not really excited about it though b/c my husband and I just have a bunch of hand-me-down decorations, Goodwill finds, and dollar store ornaments to go along with our childhood ornaments. Can’t really afford to get new fun decorations that are really *us*. Oh well, there will be many more Christmases when we can.

  2. Mandi says

    I always heard it, “…joker got away!” but I am a decade older than you, and raised on the opposite coast.

    I *love* the ribbon around the dog statue! Everything looks great, but that made me bust out in a grin!

    • says

      Hey Amy,

      We’re not sure how we’ll be feeling with all that unpacking, but we definitely plan to hang our stockings and put out the feather trees. Who knows how much steam we’ll have for the real tree…


  3. Alli says

    I love the candles you have in your fireplace. Are they real or battery-powered? where did you pick them up and how did you get the varied elevations?

  4. Lauren says

    I am loving your Christmas decorations. I have never been a fan of the super traditional red & green Christmas stuff so I am totally digging your pink & silver.

    We put up our first Christmas tree ever on Monday and I am in love! It’s all gold & light blue with white lights. We got the prettiest gold capiz star tree topper that looks a little like the Kurt Adler one you have on your “We’re Digging…” list.

  5. says

    I don’t know why, but the word “culottes” always makes me laugh!! Anyway, everything looks beautiful!!

    We are finished with most of our decorating. I still have a few things to finish making, but for the most part we are done. I would still have to decorate even if we were moving. It just wouldn’t seem like Christmas without a tree and all the trimmings!

  6. Lili says

    Oh, and yes… me and the kiddos decorated last night. This is so lame, but this year is the first year that we have had a tree (and my kids are 6 & 7)… well, we had one when they were toddlers, but it was a VERY old hand me down, and the needles just kept falling off everywhere. Our holiday decor is a lot less streamlined than yours, it’s more like a mishmash of my great-great grandmothers glass ornaments, and hand made ornaments, several sentimental ornaments (similar to your NY one, we have a Cracker Barrel ornament because we met while working at Cracker Barrel). We also have a few years worth of random kid-made-at-school ornaments. Our tree is just a symbol of our family, a big un-matching mess that somehow just makes sense : )

  7. Vonda says

    Ahh, it looks great! I think you should pack a special box that’s easy to grab and at least put these things up on the mantel in your new place (if you have one!).

  8. Jennifer says

    Love the little present idea. My girls love to wrap up their own version of gifts to put under the tree. Maybe I can put them to work wrapping some tiny boxes for our mantel.
    Question – I usually put all of our Christmas cards on the mantel, but it can start to look rather cluttered. Any ideas for cute, organized ways to display cards? I’ve seen them paper-clipped to tinsel and draped over a mirror. Would love to get your ideas:)

    • says

      Hey Jennifer,

      We usually just toss our holiday cards in a pretty bowl and leaf through them from time to time (and read them all again at the end of the season). But we’ve seen thick ribbon hung on the back of a door with cards clipped all along the ribbon and that’s really a pretty solution!


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