How do you hang your Christmas Stockings?

Well, it all depends. I have several tricks I use to hang my stockings. Here I’m showing you how to make a thin shelf that sits on your mantel disappearing in all that holiday finery.

Let’s call it a stealth shelf!

You see, I hang Christmas stockings, lots of Christmas stockings. Like 8 – 10 different groups every year.

Which fireplace I’m using and what mantel display I want to pair with the stockings I’m preparing to hang determine which method I’ll use. You can see my original stocking rod that uses just two stocking holders in yesterday’s blog post.

If I want NO obstructions or restrictions for my mantel display, my stealth shelf is the way I go!

Set of 8 red, black and gold Christmas stockings hanging from a white mantel with brown stocking rod

There is nothing for me to style around! I could lay the two green sprays and a bag of pinecones with my gold bird statues, a large wood platter and a clear hurricane filled with gold pinecones without struggling around the obstacles of stocking holders.

If I had used a wooden dowel painted white you wouldn’t even notice the rod.

Let’s Make a Mantel Shelf to Hang Your Christmas Stockings:


  • Wood board or reclaimed shelf cut to desired length and width
  • Optional wood trim
  • Paint or stain to match your mantel
  • Curtain rod with 2-piece brackets
  • Wood screws


  • Saw
  • Miter box, optional
  • Paint brush
  • Screw driver

Step 1: Cut & Trim (optional) Your Shelf

I scored a long shelf with 3 trimmed sides at the ReStore for $2. A piece of MDF cut at the home improvement store would be just as good. Sand down the edges. Or for bonus points, add some thin trim to finish the 3 outside edges.

raw wood shelf being cut

We have an outlet recessed in the center of our mantel, so we cut out a space for that.

Step 2: Paint or Stain Your Shelf to Blend in With Your Mantel

White mantel shelf with brown curtain rod set

Paint or stain to match your mantel — in our case, I sprayed a white primer and then brushed a light coat of our trim paint.

Step 3: Add Your Hardware

I purchased a decorative rod set at Hobby Lobby (with 40% off coupon of course, does anyone not?). Be sure to get a set with 2 part hooks.

UPDATE: Hobby Lobby, at least the one’s by us, no longer have drapery hardware — so sad!

Two curtain rod brackets plus four silver wood screws

Now attach the hooks. Take the hooks apart and only use the hook part and the wood screws you purchased separately. The vertical parts that attach to the wall and machine screws? Toss them in that junk drawer and 2 years from now they will be another head-scratching mystery.

Attach your brackets to the top of the shelf with the wood screws.

NOTE: You might be tempted to attached them to the bottom of the shelf so they don’t show. Yeah, seemed like a good idea to me too. The thickness of the metal bracket creates a line between the mantel and the shelf that I found very distracting. The dark brackets on my white shelf never show because of all the finery on top. Plus no worries about the metal screw heads or brackets scratching the mantel.

If you have a rustic mantel, such as a distressed timber, an “aged” wood dowel suspended from two rustic hooks would work great too.

Six red green & gold Christmas Stockings hanging from a white mantel with large garland

How about a closer look?

Now that’s a stealth shelf! And solves all sorts of holiday decor dilemmas.

Reclaim your mantel from the chorus line of stocking hangers. And as a bonus, it grows with your family. Just extend the curtain rod or get a longer dowel.

Lookie — Extra Bonus!!!! And your shelf can also safely and reliably hold your garland, lights, bows and bangles. See it? (Circled in red, upper left)

Set of 8 black red and gold Christmas Stockings hanging from a rod on a white mantel

So that’s how to DIY a stealth stocking shelf with rod. Next step:

Now How to Hang Your Christmas Stockings Themselves:

Black and white Christmas Stockings with snowflake name tags hanging from silver curtain rod.

When my stockings easily fit within the space, I just use a twist tie to attached each stocking loop to the rod.

Set of 6 red, blue and tan Christmas stockings hanging on from mantel with vintage skis and burlap and bottle brush trees

Or with a short length of ribbon like above.

Set of eight silver and grey Christmas stockings hanging on mantel with mercury glass candles and beads and greenery

But when my grouping outgrows the allocated width and the cuffs start overlapping, then I like to tie the stockings to the rod with ribbons of varying lengths to vary the stagger the heights.

Now that you have reclaimed your mantel from the chorus line of individual stocking holders, you are free to decorate it any way you choose. Yippee!!!

Look closely. My two stocking holders, as pretty as they are, are buried behind my chosen decor. So really the decor determined the placement of the holders.

Set of 6 red, blue and tan Christmas stockings hanging on from mantel with vintage skis and burlap and bottle brush trees

Can you see them?

Set of 6 red, blue and tan Christmas stockings hanging on from mantel with vintage skis and burlap and bottle brush trees

All the way to the outside with the holders tucked back behind the pinecones and burlap trees. All the stockings are inside the two holders.

When the center of my mantel display is high, in this case the crossed vintage skis, if the holders are exposed in the center, they will be a distraction. So I hide them behind the pinecones and burlap trees on the ends.

Set of eight silver Christmas stockings hanging on a mahogany mantel

How about this time?

Set of eight silver Christmas stockings hanging on a mahogany mantel

Now they more toward the middle so the holders could hide on each side of the glass hurricane hidden behind the greenery sprays.

I just want to show you that you don’t need to let a lineup of stocking holders dictate your mantel display — a focal point of your holidays.

Now you can start planning your mantel display with abandon!

The merriest to you,




  1. How to Hang Christmas Stockings: With A Christmas Stocking Rod - South House Designs - […] When my stockings easily fit within the space, I just use a twist tie to attached each stocking loop…
  2. How to Easily Hang Christmas Stockings With a Stocking Rod - South House Designs - […] And if you just can’t find any stocking hangers that you think will work, or if two stocking hangers…

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