Elegant Traditional Christmas Decor for Your Tree and Mantel

Decorating for Christmas can involve many extravagant details and can quickly become expensive. Learn how to decorate your tree and mantel using affordable traditional Christmas decor that is simple, yet elegant with this DIY tutorial!

how to diy christmas tree with candlelights and wood garland

In previous years, I have always liked creating fancy Christmas trees stuffed with many ornaments, ribbons, and glitter. While I still love that style of Christmas tree, this year I wanted more of an authentic Christmas tree — one where I could enjoy the look of the actual tree, but still have stylish little details. I want to show you how you can easily create the same look using traditional Christmas decor for your home!


Pre-lit Artificial Christmas Tree

Cluster Christmas Tree Lights

Battery-operated LED Candlelights

Wood Garland Beads

Wooden Finial Ornaments

Velvet Red and Green Christmas Ornaments

Paper Lantern Christmas Ornaments

Decorative Honeycomb Christmas Ornaments

Star Christmas Tree Topper

Christmas Stockings

Antique Brass Candle Holders

Tree Shaped Candles

Pine Christmas Garland

Eucalyptus Garland

Christmas Decor Rustic Bells

Decorative Rustic Hanging Bells

Battery-Operated Fairy Lights

Wooden Nutcracker

Wooden Nutcracker With Drum

Matching Christmas Pajamas

Step 1: Determining the Color Scheme of Your Traditional Christmas Decor

When deciding the look of my Christmas tree, I like to determine the colors I am going with first. I love using some beige along with wood tones for the base of my color scheme; you really can’t go wrong with using wood tones or gold on a tree. In the past, I have used lighter wood tones, but this year I am using darker wood tones.

Instead of a sparkly garland, I am using a wooden garland to get that traditional Christmas tree look. Then, I like to pick one or two colors to go along with the neutral colors. This year, I’m going with a deep red and a green ornament color. The wood tones look amazing with the deep red color of the ornaments.

Step 2: Using Different Shapes and Sizes of Christmas Ornaments and Garland

Once I decide on the color scheme I am going with for Christmas, I like to look for ornaments of different shapes and sizes. Long, skinny ornaments like the wooden finial ornaments help to introduce different shapes and dimensions to the Christmas tree, along with smaller and larger ornaments. Adding garland to your traditional Christmas tree decor helps add dimension and interest by creating a different flow due to the horizontal lines.

Step 3: Adding Lights to the Traditional Christmas Tree Decor

This year I am using a pre-lit artificial Christmas tree, but since the lights on the tree are sparse I added some cluster lights, as well as some flameless LED candlelights to it. The cluster Christmas tree lights work well if you prefer a brighter tree, but I have noticed they are a bit overpowering, making it harder to see all of the ornaments. I like the softer glow of the LED candlelights for this particular traditional Christmas tree design. The LED candlelights come with an automatic timer and pair well with the lights that were already on the Christmas tree.

Step 4: Adding Garland to the Christmas Tree

I love adding garland to my Christmas trees. Since I am using more traditional Christmas decor this year, I decided to add a darker wooden garland to give the tree that timeless, natural look.

adding wood garland beads to artificial christmas tree

Step 5: Adding the Christmas Ornaments

When adding Christmas tree ornaments, I like to put one color and style ornament on at a time. I place one style evenly throughout the tree and then step back before moving on to ensure the ornaments are not clustered together but appealing to the eye. Then I continued with the next color and style until all the various ornaments were placed on the tree. I never thought about incorporating green ornaments into a Christmas tree in the past, but I love how the green ornaments turned out against the greenery of the tree. They add such a subtle detail to the Christmas tree.

Step 6: Topping the Christmas Tree With a Star

The finishing touch is placing the star on the top of the Christmas tree. In the past, I have gone with a star that plugs in and lights up. This year, I went with a more natural-looking star that does not light up. It’s so simple, yet so pretty and timeless. It’s the perfect addition to my traditional Christmas decor and gives the tree a vintage look.

Placing wooden star topper on christmas tree

Normally, I would fill in any gaps on the Christmas tree with handmade bows or ribbons. You can make ribbons by cutting them into strips and tying them, then placing them into any bare places or onto the ends of branches, which is pretty.

Since I wanted a more simplistic and authentic look, I decided against bows and ribbons this year. I love that this Christmas tree has more traditional Christmas decor than I usually would use. The limited amount of ornaments throughout and the added touch of Christmas tree candles are just so pretty!

Step 7: Decorating the Mantel With Traditional Christmas Decor

When decorating the mantel, I wanted to carry over the organic Christmas look. To achieve that look, I chose two different types of garland, and I prefer the garland branches not to be arranged perfectly but to have a more natural, organic feel. Adding eucalyptus garland to the regular pine garland helps to add interest.

Next, I added some twinkle lights, which are set on a timer to automatically come on every day; such a convenient feature! Then, I finished the mantel by adding two nutcrackers that have the perfect wood tone, some rustic bells, and a few Christmas tree candle sticks to complete the traditional Christmas decor look I was going for.

Christmas stockings hung on mantel with nutcrackers and traditional Christmas decor
garland and Christmas candles on mantel with traditional Christmas decor

Creating a more authentic tree and mantel using traditional Christmas decor can be so fun for the family. The simple and elegant details are sure to be a conversation starter for any Christmas event held at your home! Just look how stunning this Christmas tree and mantel turned out!

traditional Christmas decor on decorated mantel and tree

Check out my blog post to get all the details of my Christmas-themed front porch. It was so fun to work on!

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