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Southern-ish Holiday Traditions

Does Your Santa Wrap?
To start, let’s discuss the biggest Christmas tradition debate: does Santa wrap or not wrap his presents? This discussion can be tricky for newly blended families or couples with newly born children. Can the couples survive the negotiation of how to handle Santa’s presents? This is a tough issue to compromise on considering that most people on either side of the equation feel very strongly based on their personal upbringing and family traditions. Okay, Sasee readers, let’s put it to a vote and see what the majority is, does your Santa wrap or not wrap Christmas presents?

Southern Greenery
Decorating with fresh greenery is one of the oldest holiday traditions dating back to ancient times. Evergreens, such as Magnolia and Pine, represent eternal life and hope for the return of spring. These two specific types are certainly southern, and they both add their own flair to garland, wreaths, mantles, and table centerpieces. Magnolia leaves are large, dark, and glossy and make great use as the base for all types of decorations due to their size and their ability to stay fresh for a long time. Pine leaves vary but regardless of the type, they all add a fresh look and natural scent to decorations and are long-lasting with exceptional needle retention. No matter which greenery you have gathered for your decorating this year, be sure to keep in mind all the ways to keep it safe and fresh for you to enjoy all season long.

Christmas Cuisine
Some parts of the country replace their Christmas meat with Lutefisk, a type of fish that originated from Vikings. It is said to be a food that is either very loved or very hated and it is claimed that “eating Lutefisk once a year is probably enough.” In the south, we understand this love/hate phenomenon with oysters. December is considered our oyster season, so it is the perfect time to make all things oyster related: oyster dressing, oyster pie, oyster casserole, you name it, we make it. We southerners also love anything deep-fried, so why not fry a turkey to make its outsides deliciously crispy and its insides flavorfully juicy. Naturally, the deep-fried turkey tradition is catching on in other parts of the nation, but as we all know, the idea of oysters takes a little bit more convincing, but those of us who love them, can’t get enough.

Elf on the Shelf
Ah, yes, the tradition parents have a love/loathe relationship with – depending on how mischievous their children may be. The concept behind the Elf on the Shelf is that he/she is in charge of watching the behavior of the children throughout the holiday season and reports back to Santa to better help him with his naughty and nice lists. The “scout elf” moves around the house and is set up in various elaborate schemes that make for great amusement. The scenarios are meant to be configured by the parents, but as we have seen through social media, the kids’ creativity sometimes takes over the actions of the elf. The product started in 2004 involving a storybook accompanied by a pixie elf but the idea originated from a family tradition that dates back to the 1970s. The Aebersold family of Georgia decided to self-publish The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition to share their one-of-a-kind family fun. The family trio had no idea at the time that eleven million elves would be “adopted” making the Elf on the Shelf a global phenomenon.

The Christmas Regatta
This spectacular maritime parade happens for us locals every year starting at the waterfront of Little River heading south and ending in North Myrtle Beach. The Christmas Regatta allows family and friends to gather together to view the beautifully decorated boats that are brightly glowing over the water. This unique version of a parade is also a fundraiser and the donations are made to Yachts for Tots which provide Christmas presents and other needs for children in the area. Come out and celebrate our unique, dazzling tradition together.

The most iconic botanical of the holiday season is America’s “Christmas Flower.” Poinsettias originated from Mexico and called Cuetlaxochitl. The plant was first used medicinally to treat fevers and cosmetically to dye clothing but was later established as a decorative plant associated with Christmas traditions. These plants native to Central America were brought to the United States by our country’s first ambassador to Mexico, botanist Joel Roberts Poinsett. The flower was renamed after him because, in the winter of 1828, he transported the plants to his home, Charleston, South Carolina. Poinsett began sharing the plants with his friends and family around Christmas, just in time for when the upper leaves change to red. Poinsettias are the best-selling potted plant in the nation and are always a colorful delight surrounding us during the holiday season.

The Christmas Pickle
For those of you who have never heard of this quirky ornament tradition, no, I do not mean an edible pickle. The Christmas Pickle was made to be a fun game amongst the children of the household. The idea is that the parents hide the green pickle within the tree. The child who finds the pickle first on Christmas morning is awarded the pleasure of opening the first present. Some have a tradition where the winner gets a special gift. It is commonly believed that whoever finds the pickle will have good luck for the next year. The origins of this tradition vary, and it certainly adds some light-hearted, competitive fun to the holiday.

Christmas Luminaries
The simple golden glow from lit votive candles within folded brown bags is one of the most elegantly classic ways to illuminate the streets during the holidays. Dating back over 300 years, Christmas Luminaries have been placed strategically in rows to brightly line sidewalks, neighborhoods, homes, churches, and botanical gardens. My personal favorite example of this magnificent look takes place in our very own botanical gardens located in Murrells Inlet. Brookgreen Gardens, the floral jewel of South Carolina’s coastal community, holds the annual “Nights of a Thousand Candles” all season long. The events offer leisurely walks through the sparkling gardens while listening to live holiday music and sipping delicious cider, cocoa, and wine. We are so grateful to enjoy this stunning event year after year named the “Best Christmas Lights in South Carolina.”

Post a picture of Christmas morning and hashtag to let us know your tradition.
#SaseeSantaWrappedOrUnwrapped #MySaseeSantaWraps #MySaseeSantaDoesNotWrap

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