“I love Christmas, not just because of the presents but because of all the decorations and lights and the warmth of the season.” ~ Ashley Tisdale
Christmas in the South
It is no secret how much I love the South. From South Carolina to the Georgia Islands, it is my happy place. (Yes, there IS a place aside from New York that I love) Nothing can beat the warm weather, Southern hospitality, the beaches, the food, the culture and the Christmas decor.
I know you are all thinking what? You love Santa in a bathing suit? Take a deep breath chillens, while I might be a mermaid, I also do like Elsa for some things and there will not be any mele kalikimaka Christmases for me. While I might have hated growing up on the Northern East Coast, where feet of snow and negative degree temps were the norm until May, I also grew up with Christmas not being Christmas unless it was truly a white Christmas. I remember some years, opening presents and then going to shovel the driveway because it was snowing so hard. To me it was sacrilegious for Santa to be in anything BUT a his (hopefully) faux fur red suit.
Imagine my surprise, when I was happily proved wrong that not only does the South go all out despite the lack of snow, they do it in the absolute classiest of ways. Honestly, visiting during the holiday season might just be the reason why I love it so much.
Falling in Love
My first taste of a Southern Christmas, was a few years ago, when I desperately needed to escape the cold and craved some much needed rest and relaxation before the Christmas season really kicked off. I travelled down to Jekyll Island for a pre-holiday girls trip with my best friend. Unbeknownst to me, but Jekyll Island is well known for their gorgeous Christmas light displays. Dangling from the Spanish moss draped trees that are at once as beautiful as they can be creepy, this was a magical experience. I felt like I had stepped onto a Hallmark set as I walked amongst the lit trees lining the paths.
A year later, after multiple trips to Charleston, I visited the first week of December and I just might have handed my heart over. While New York will always have a special place in my heart, especially at Christmas time, their was something absolutely magnetic and elegant about Christmas in Charleston.
When I realized I was traveling to my favorite US city, right before Christmas, I knew that I NEEDED to go to Belmond Place which is know for their festive, yet classy decorations. Belmond Place is a hotel, with a spa, shops, business center and so much more. It is right off of King Street and is spectacular in its own right, with a gorgeous crystal chandelier hanging between an imperial staircase, it is a must see year round, but especially during the holidays.
The Imperial staircase and landing are lined with garland which is woven with red and green balls as well as red ribbon. A huge train display lays between the stairs with snow capped mountains and buildings set amongst the rail road tracks. Behind the display, sits a magnificent tree decorated to perfection. It is pure Christmas magic and a must see if you are in Charleston.
The Mills House
It seems like every building in Charleston decorates inside and out, and that applied to the hotel we stayed at, The Mills House. I don’t think the Grinch dared enter the hotel nor would he want too. Christmas lights were elegantly strung around the topiaries and there were several Christmas trees, with a large one decorated just outside the bar area.
Even the outside was decorated, with boughs garland and red ribbon wrapped around the lampposts and fountain. Wreaths hung between every window. I loved staying in such a festive hotel and walking into the lobby each morning to so much Christmas cheer.
Walking the Streets
Admittedly, the streets, especially in the historical section of Charleston are magical regardless of what season you visit. The window boxes are always decked out and ‘Gram worthy. But during the Christmas Season it is especially vibrant. The oldness of the city mixed with the elegant, yet festive decorations brings the city to life and let the imagination run wild. Their were no tacky decorations, it was pure refinement, with lots of garland and red ribbon hanging from doorways and window boxes mixed with older traditions of fruit artfully set in old troughs, keeping Charleston history alive.
I loved walking the streets, stopping so many times to take pictures that I lost count. Imagining what it was like centuries ago and losing myself not just in the stunning architecture of the historical houses, but in the elegance of the decorations, that was at once festive, without being over the top. Each time I think Charleston is done wooing me, it surprises me in the best possible ways, and Charleston at Christmas time is an experience everyone should have at least once.
Where is your favorite place to go to see Christmas Decorations?
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