Sometimes the most enjoyable part of the holidays is decorating your home each year. To make decorating even more special, why not make some of your own decorations? A great and easy way to start is by crafting Christmas garlands and swags to drape on mantels, along staircases, over doorways -- really wherever you need a splash of cheer.

Even better, once you've mastered the art of making these decorative items, you can vary them slightly (or not) and give them as gifts to friends and family. They'll appreciate the one-of-a-kind present that you took the time to make with your own two hands. In this article, we'll show you how to make a variety of Christmas garlands and swags, including:

Decorating Your Mantel

Whether your holiday decorating tastes run more toward using natural items like leaves and pinecones or toward incorporating traditional elements such as lace and holiday fabrics, you'll find plenty of excellent ideas here. Even better, take bits and pieces from each suggestion and come up with your own designs. We'll give you different decorating ideas for your mantel in this section.

Food-Themed Garlands and Swags

The holidays usually go hand and hand with food, so why not include food in some of your Christmas decorating? The food-themed garlands and swags on this page will add color to your home and just might make your mouth water. From a Gingerbread Garland to a Sweet Cinnamon Holiday Swag, the crafts featured are fun to make and use materials found at your local craft store.

Santa-Themed Swags

What says Christmas more than Santa Claus? Since it's so easy to find a place in your home for a swag, you'll find many ways to showcase Kris Kringle from the craft ideas on this page. Get crafting before Santa Claus comes to town. We'll show you how to make Santa-themed swags in this section.

Colorful Garlands and Swags

Brighten up your home around the holidays with these unique garlands and swags. There's even an adorable Christmas lights swag that would look great above a fireplace, over a door frame, or even centered on a wall. On the other end of the decorating spectrum, the Grizzly Bear Garland is sure to add some rustic charm to your abode.

Snowman Garland

Children and adults alike grin at the sight of a snowman, so why not include one -- or a whole assortment of them -- in your holiday decorating this year? The project detailed on this page will call on your crafting abilities, but the result is an adorable garland that is sure to take center stage in your home. We give you helpful step-by-step instructions and photos to get you crafting on your merry way.

Let's start with the basics and learn some useful tips on decorating your mantel for Christmas on the next page.