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

    You decor, as always, is beautiful! Love the color scheme. We started decorating (I usually go with a red and white theme!) and we are getting our tree this weekend – I cannot wait! I’m already plotting our Christmas soundtrack/movie viewing for while decorating!

  2. says

    I love the idea of using pink for Christmas! I also like to put candles in our fireplace. We’ve actually never had a real fire in it, always candles. Do I see a mirror in the fireplace? If so, that’s a great idea and I want to copy!

  3. Andrea says

    We have sooo not decorated for christmas yet. We are moving soon-ish (whenever we can find a renter for our current home, we’re renting it until the market improves and we can sell it) into a verrry fixer upper. We can’t decide if we want to put up the tree there or here or at all :(

  4. sara says

    I LOVE your decorations! We just bought a 6 1/2 pre-lit xmas tree off craigslist for $25! We are going to put it up tonight. I need to take some tips from you guys because my xmas decorations are so mismatched. I need some of those feather tree. I’m OBSESSED with them now! I’ll have to go check Target :) Thanks for the ideas! Hope you have a good move! I know how you feel, we did it too last year Mid-December.

  5. Amy E. says

    an idea for those who don’t want to go out and buy more gift wrap: use scraps of fabric!

    i know you two at YHL have TONS from Clara’s weekly photo shoots. you could have grabbed a few of those and wrapped your “gifts” in something just as colorful, but already owned!

  6. Rhonda says

    Love your decorations and your fireplace. We’ve got some ugly brass fireplace surrounds and would love to paint them. Is that what you guys did? Any tipes/advice? I also LOVE the candles in the fireplace. How did you put that display together? I’d love to do something similar since I’m terrified of burning down our 1892 Victorian home with a real fire in the fireplace!

    • says

      Hey Rhonda,

      Yup, we used regular white paint while we were painting the brick fireplace and it has held up for 4+ years! You can also remove your brass screen and spray paint it (even using high-heat paint from the hardware store). Good luck!


  7. says

    Love it! Especially the idea of wrapped gifts! So cute and inexpensive. We haven’t decorated yet, but plan on doing it this weekend. I’m still trying to find a place for the x-mas tree in our small apt.

  8. Laney says

    I am a relative newbie to you fun Blog.
    I know that you are trying to be as “GREEN” as possible (compost, rain barrels, cloth diapers, etc.) so I was wondering why you chose to go with an artificial Christmas tree over a fresh cut tree?
    Thanks for all the fun ideas.
    Good luck on your upcoming move.

    • says

      Hey Laney,

      We got our faux tree about four years ago (before we realized how un-biodegradable they were) but we figure the green thing to do is to use it over and over again until it’s no longer usable instead of sending it off to a landfill!


  9. Ashlee says

    Funny! I wrapped empty boxes last year & stacked on my mantle. More of a whimsical feel with apple green and barber shop red/white striped paper…but still! Same concept.

  10. says

    Nah, I’m from MD and we always sang ” . . . the joker got away . . . ” too! ;)

    We’re planning on kicking off the season with a visit to a Christmas Market this weekend, and then getting the tree on Sunday — before football of course!

  11. sonya says

    It’s so pretty! It’s a shame you can’t enjoy it longer. I like seeing how you did the Christmas stocking name tags… I ordered stockings online this year but skipped the monogramming to save $$ (and partly b/c it feels like monogramming is so overdone sometimes) and I was envisioning doing something like what you did, but worried it would look odd. Well, it’s doesn’t, so I’m going to make cute lil’ tags for my stockings too! :)

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