How to have a Carolina Christmas

Southerners looking for last minute gifts to wow Northern friends and family this Christmas, look no further. Below are actual gifts I’ve given to my Yankee relatives and friends over the years so they could get a taste of South Carolina. All were huge hits.

Carolina GoldMustard-based BBQ sauce. Northerners have no idea this even exists. I was seven months pregnant when I moved here and had to drive past Maurice’s Piggie Park for my prenatal doctor appointments. I hadn’t suffered any morning sickness but the idea of mustard on BBQ nauseated me. However, on the ride home with our new baby, I insisted on stopping so I could chow down on some. I much prefer it over vinegar or tomato-based sauces. Maurice’s and Shealy’s are my recommendations, or make your own!

Pepper PotionsFamously Hot Sauce. South Carolina is famously hot, and we actually boast our own line of hot sauces: Palmetto Pepper Potions. My oldest son loves these and asked me to send more for his birthday this year.

Pecan anything. Yankees call them peh-cahns Pecan_Lovers_Favs-400x400and think Southerners are referring to toilets when they hear anyone talking about pee-cans. Nevertheless, you can’t go wrong with pecans in any form. I heartily suggest pralines, unless you’re buying for a diabetic, and nobody makes them better than River Street Sweets. (You get free samples when you visit the stores!) Their mixed nut tins are another favorite of mine. If your giftee doesn’t have a sweet tooth, then simply sending a bag of shelled pecans is a great alternative.

Magnolias, pineapples and palmetto trees. You can’t go five feet in South Carolina magnolia dinnerwarewithout spotting one of these emblazoned, engraved, stitched, or tattooed on something or someone. We love our magnolia blossopineapple earringsms and devote entire dining rooms to them. Pineapples are another home décor favorite, but they’re popular jewelry motifs, too. And then there’s the palmetto tree that South Carolinians all but worship. Click here for suggestions from my friend Evelyn.

Gamecock gear. It’s bad enough that the University of South Carolina is known as “the other USC.” But making things worse is that our USC’s mascot is a chicken. I realize a fighting gago-cocksmecock is a tough bird, but it’s scrawny. And a chicken.  (And politically incorrect… uhh, remember Michael Vick?) But, since we’re 2x back-to-back College World Series champions, everybody should have “cocks” printed on something. The best place to shop is Addams University Bookstore.

panthers_nike_716Carolina Panthers gear. I buy Panther hats and sweatshirts as gag gifts since the Panthers actually play in North Carolina.

You still have time to shop online and have your gifts wrapped and Fedexed over the Mason-Dixon Line by Christmas. Or just buy something for yourself, and have a truly Merry and Mild Carolina Christmas!

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