Evergreen envy at the Festival of Wreaths 

There are many traditions in the Lowcountry that signal the holiday season is upon us: the lighting of the Marion Square tree, the flock of beagles in the Christmas parade, and now, in its sixth year, the Festival of Wreaths at Charleston Place. The prominent downtown hotel typifies the holidays, with brightly lit evergreens flanking the lobby and the miniature holiday train set speeding under the staircase.

Attendees at Thursday's event were ushered past the merriment of the lobby into the Palmetto Cafe, which was equally festive. Guests decked out in everything from bedazzled Christmas sweaters to glittery cocktail dresses sipped champagne and searched out snacks. The room was filled with a wonderland of wreaths, and a woman next to me exclaimed, "I don't have any bare doors at home, but I must have this wreath! Perhaps the garage door?"

There were traditional offerings like the green and red "Kids Helping Kids" wreath constructed by former MUSC patients, and also more avant-garde arrangements like John Dunnan's futuristic wreath decorated with silver figurines. Bidders burned up the silent auction sheets one upping each other for the one-of-a-kind decorations.

But this wasn't just a quest to see whose door would be best adorned this holiday season — all proceeds went to MUSC Children's Hospital in memory of young Harper Drolet, who recently lost her battle with cancer. In fact, this year's poster promoting the event featured one of Harper's drawings that reminds us of some of the true sentiments of the holiday season: love, hope, and courage — a message she wanted to share with the community.

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