Just because Santa comes down the chimney doesn't mean you can ignore the mantel when decorating. You have a host of items to choose from: how about family portraits in a holiday frame? For those without a fireplace, consider using some of the options below on a shelf, entertainment unit, coffee table, or side table.
Around the House
A few yuletide accents around can make for a more lively season. You can't go wrong with the classics; floral arrangements, candles, and other natural touches will add a homey feel. Glass snowflakes, stars, and bows can likewise be used if rustic isn't your thing.
As much as people complain about holiday weight gain, it just wouldn't be Christmas without the treats. Real cookies and candies can add a pleasant scent, though you should be sure to cover them and put them away at night to avoid spoilage. For a more sophisticated look, keep to warmer colors and minimal decorations on cookies.