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A Traditional Christmas Mantel with Equestrian Touches

by - Tuesday, November 15, 2022

I've slowly started my Christmas decorating and today I'm excited to show you one area I have finished, the fireplace mantel! It feels like we're all decorating a bit earlier this year so I hope this mantel (or mantle - it's so commonly misspelled!) can provide you some inspiration for your own home.

I really love how the mantel turned out this year and I can attribute that to one thing I did differently:  instead of randomly reaching into my Christmas decor bins and hemming and hawing about which garlands, beads, sprays, and accessories would look best together, I started with an idea in mind. There are many Christmas mantel decor ideas out there but I think this one is a bit unique!

Equestrian Christmas Decor

This year, I quickly put together a mood board to help give me a vision for my holiday decor. I've been inspired by classic style lately... the timeless elegance of Ralph Lauren Home, the architecture of Patrick Ahern, and of course traditional plaids and tartans which always fit right in for the holidays.

I combined that with the ideas I put together last year on this Pinterest board, Vintage Equestrian, to create this mood board:

equestrian decor ideas for christmas decorating

I've never created a mood board for the holidays but honestly, it was so helpful! I use the same Christmas decorations year after year so this was a great way to envision new ideas and think of different ways to use my same old items.

Let's take a closer look at how I put this equestrian style traditional Christmas mantel together.

traditional christmas mantel garland with equestrian style

Layered Christmas Garlands

The garland really is the star of the show. To achieve a more traditional look for the fireplace mantel, I put together a layered garland. This full and lush look is created with four garlands. On the bottom, I used two pine garlands very similar to this garland, and on top I added a mixed garland somewhat similar to this.

Wondering how I wired the garlands or hung them on the mantel? Check out this post for the method I use every year to hang garland on a mantel. 

When layering garlands, it's important to not have them look separate or stacked one on top of the other. You do this by fluffing out the branches and weaving them in an out and combining them into each other. 


You can see above how I've brought some of the real touch pine branches above and below the mixed garland. This makes it seem like there is just one big fluffy garland. 

If your garland isn't full enough, or you'd like more variety in the greenery, you can also add in faux branches, fillers, and sprays.

Beads and Accessories

You can leave your garland natural and unadorned, or accent it with accessories. Since the mixed garland had so much variety in its greenery, I decided to go simpler with the accessories.

Brown velvet ribbons and walnut beaded garlands add a wonderful texture and rich brown hue to the deep green garland. I've also added in brass french horn ornaments which I found at the thrift store. Aren't they delightful?

It was a struggle to stick to a more neutral palette. My natural inclination is to bring out all of the colourful Christmas accessories and use them, but I'm loving these browns and greens together.

That rich brown hue is echoed by the other accessories I have sitting on the mantel. A large glass hurricane candle holder, and thrifted mother of pearl box and sparkle and shine. The vintage trophy brings that equestrian flair to the mantle while providing a spot to add in more seasonal greenery.

The other end of the mantel is decorated with a variety of decorative, vintage, and thrifted items. I've anchored this vignette with a horse head bust to which I've added a chocolate hued velvet ribbon. Everything feels Christmassy with velvet ribbon!

A stack of vintage leather books, candle, and pinecone under a mini cloche add interest and a touch of colour. On the hearth, I've placed a pair of riding boots with faux branches tucked inside. Again, the brown leather brings warmth while enhancing the equestrian feel.


The centrepiece of your mantel display - be it a mirror, wreath, or art - can really set the tone and luckily I had just the piece to bring my equestrian Christmas mantel to life.  The Match (Horizontal), a limited edition print by Gray Malin, depicts a polo match on the snowy vistas of Switzerland. The starkness of the horses and riders against the snow lends a wintry, modern feel to the decor. I love the harshness of the winter snow in the photo against the warmth of the fire and lush greenery below.


The last step in my mantel decorating was bringing in textiles. Textiles can add warmth and texture to your display. I've misplaced my cable knit stockings so I'll have to add those in later, but for now, I've brought in this striped ottoman and plaid throw to sit in front of the fire. Not only do they add neutral colour, but they invite you to sit and stay a while. A faux wrapped gift tied with a satin ribbon sits on top, bringing in more of the greens and browns.

I'm thrilled with how the equestrian Christmas mantel turned out. It looks timeless, sophisticated, and elegant. I especially love that only the velvet bows and wood garland are new and everything else was something I already had, just used in a new way. 

I've got more spaces to decorate so I'm going to challenge myself to be more creative with my decor this holiday season. Home really does feel best at this time of year!


Looking for more Christmas mantel decor ideas? Check out these different Christmas mantles from years past:

elegant christmas mantel with white berries, brass deer, and gold wreath

Traditional Christmas Mantle with magnolia garland

winter woodland christmas mantel with owls and pinecones

red and blue rustic christmas mantel with plaid and cozy cabin decor ideas

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