Holiday Traditions in the Lowcountry
There may not be much chance for a white Christmas in Charleston this year (or any year, for that matter), but that doesn’t mean the holiday season is devoid of spirit and tradition here in the Lowcountry. To the contrary, there are many holiday traditions unique to our region that conjure up the spirit of the season for those who call Charleston home.
Let’s start with holiday decor. Charlestonians are known for their distinct sense of style, particularly when it comes to homes and home decor. And this style shines brightly during the holiday season. The greenery of choice for seasonal wreaths is magnolia, the iconic southern tree with glossy dark green leaves and giant white blooms. You’ll find magnolia wreaths adorning the front doors of Lowcountry homes throughout the region during the holidays.
You’ll also frequently see citrus used in holiday decor and displays throughout Charleston. Lemon trees, in particular, are grown in and around homes throughout the Lowcountry. The fruit is ripe and ready for picking during the holidays, making it the perfect colorful natural accent for Magnolia and pine garlands, arrangements and table centerpiece displays.
In a city with a rich culinary history, there are a few dishes that a proper Lowcountry holiday celebration should not be without. Generations of families here have incorporated oysters into their holiday menus, kicking off Thanksgiving festivities with an oyster roast, or incorporating bivalves into dressing for the turkey or a decadent side. And speaking of turkey – if you spend Thanksgiving at the home of a Charlestonian, it’s likely to be deep-fried turkey, a technique that is popular throughout the south that results in a juicy bird.
Cheese straws are another southern “delicacy” that are typically served with an aperitif before a meal during the holidays. They’re also often given to friends and neighbors as a home-baked gift that is a delicious savory alternative to Christmas cookies. And, of course, no proper southern holiday meal would be complete without a sweet ending of classic pecan pie. Topped with creamy whipped cream, it’s an absolute must for the holidays!