How to Host the Ultimate Southern Christmas Party

Add a Little Southern Charm and Hospitality to your Holiday Celebration. 

While the Southern United States may lack some of the aesthetics people envision when thinking about Christmas — snow, evergreen trees, winter jackets — it does not mean that there aren’t Christmas traditions. Hardly. The South, with its wide variety of people and cultures, has many different Christmas traditions that are celebrated annually. Below, we’ve pulled together some of the biggest or longest-standing traditions that are celebrated in the South, should you be looking to host your own Southern Christmas party this year.

What is Santa called?

This one is nice and easy — Santa is simply called Santa, although he is a bit more casual in the South.  

What is eaten?

As you may already know, Southerners take their food very seriously. A staple at most Christmas tables, deep-fried turkey is the start of the show. This is often served with oyster dressing (a mix of almost-stale bread, oysters, onions, peppers, and seasoning) — a delicacy that every grandma has her own special recipe for, of course. Desserts range widely but expect at least a pecan pie or derby pie (outside of tons of Christmas cookies, of course). 

What is drunk?

Depending on where you are in the South, this might vary, but if you’re sitting down at a Southern table for Christmas, you’ll find a nice, big pitcher of homemade sweet tea, heavy on the sweet, and maybe even some Southern Comfort egg nog with dessert!

What is gifted?

Citrus! While this may seem a little weird at first, a tradition that stretches back is gifting citrus in children’s stockings on Christmas day. This dates back to when citrus was really only available during one season, so if you were gifted citrus in an off-season, it was seen as a truly memorable (and expensive) gift.

Are there special decorations?

If you’re in the South, you’re just as likely to see a Douglas Fir as you will a palm tree. When it doesn’t dip into single digits, you might as well celebrate with the trees that cover the warmer climates. If you’re close to the coast, or on any sort of water, expect boat owners to go all on when decorating their vessels, too!

What’s on the Christmas playlist?

So much music has come out of the South that there are tons of options when it comes to Southern-influenced Christmas songs. From blues to country to pop and beyond, there’s a little bit of everything. Queue up Gene Autry’s “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “Angels Among Us” by Alabama, or anything off Dolly Parton’s A Holly Dolly Christmas to start.