Q: I love the tradition of hanging stockings by the fireplace, even the family pets had their own stockings in my family. But my house now has no fireplace, so what can I do?
A: Traditional fireplaces are a well-loved feature in any home, and for lots of reasons. They’re beautiful, they add a classic focal feature to whatever room they’re in, add warmth, ambience, and a welcoming atmosphere any time of year. Unfortunately, building a real wood-burning fireplace in a home without one is a big deal, and can be expensive. In many places such as condos or other spaces, a real fireplace might not be possible for many reasons. These days, other options, including gas or electric inserts, woodstoves, and even electrical versions that are essentially an attractive space heater, may be less expensive and are all inviting and fun.
During the holidays you can fake a fireplace in a variety of ways. All you really need is some creativity. A bit of open wall space helps, too, as do a spot big enough for your fake fireplace and room for your holiday stockings. Find a vintage plug-in fireplace complete with a mantel. If you have a sense of humor, get the fakest, cheesiest one you can find. Or for a more modern style, add a lot of flameless LED candles to a low bench or shelf, or group them on a row of tiles or salvaged board set directly onto the floor. Or place these candles inside the open doors of a vintage cupboard or armoire.
For safety, use caution with anything old that actually warms up rather than just lighting up. Make sure your treasure is working properly, has adequate ventilation, and turn it off when you leave the room. Some vintage fireplaces use lightbulbs; don’t exceed the maximum wattage recommended. Don’t modify a vintage fixture, and hang your stockings near it — not actually on it. You might be able to look up instructions from the original manufacturer online or others’ experiences with the same model.
You could skip the whole faux fireplace idea and do something even simpler. Just dedicate a wide shelf, piece of furniture, or window sill to stand in for a mantel. Or attach a board to the wall anywhere and hang your stockings from that! Or set your stockings along the media cabinet where your TV is. And play a video of a fireplace with a crackling fire for the nice glow.
Have fun with your decor. Regardless of where you hang your stockings with care, your house will be full of the holiday spirit.