Although my philosophy is that any surface is fair game for ornaments, or traditional plump greenery with bright red accents, or perhaps modern icy silver and blue tinsel? Do whatever makes you happy.
Kimberley's no-fail mantel schemes
Certain holiday looks work year after year. Here are a few of my favourite schemes:
• Arrange a line of large pinecones along the mantel ledge in an upright position. Flank with a pair of gold, silver or pewter candlesticks, or alternate pinecones with votive candles. If there's enough space, place a glass bowl in the centre of the mantel and fill it with pinecones, apples, pomegranates or cranberries.
• String together a garland of small pinecones and drape it across the front of the mantel. Fill the mantel with Scotch pine or cedar greens and display a collection of blue-and-white (or red-and-white) porcelain or ceramic objects, like vases, bowls, and plates on stands.
• Stick to an all-white palette and display a classical bust with individual pots of paper whites. If it feels too stark, drape the bust with greenery and put the paper-whites in terra-cotta pots.
• For a rustic country look, pull together a group of wooden candlesticks and place them among a variety of greens. Add twigs and pepper berries for texture.
• Display a collection of antique or vintage tree toppers amid yards of silver tinsel. If you don't have tree toppers, try using brass or silver candlesticks topped with round ornaments for an elegant, festive look.
Image courtesy of Pottery Barn