A festive welcome sign


Wreaths are as unique in decor as their historical symbolism is vast. Chronicled back to ancient Greece and Egypt, they were said to have been worn as headdresses by royalty, warriors, and poets.

Adorned in fine jewels, flowers and rare fabrics, this greenery signified power. Wreaths were also used to celebrate the winter solstice, and its promise of spring.

welcame2Often wreaths are recognized today for the connection to Christmas and Christianity, where the circular shape represents eternity and the unending presence of God.

Others see the holiday wreath as simply a way to add a decorative touch to the holiday festivities.

Any reason to deck the season with festive garlands will be met by Lowcountry merchants excited to assist.

Sarah Perry and sister Lauren McAvoy are the creative experts and second-generation owners of Branches in the Village at Wexford.

“We do exclusive custom wreath design,” Perry said. “We know our products well, which separates us from other businesses.”

Traditional round or long-hanging swags, often referred to as down-drops, are personalized creations, built to be visually impactful. A quick photo and door measurement before coming in can help their staff make thoughtful suggestions on size, placement and color options.

Branches works with dried and natural looking garlands, noting the heat of the Lowcountry make permanent wreaths a great choice.

“We’re insane where we source our products,” McAvoy said. “Our ribbon fabrics can take direct sun, and all outdoor items are water-proof.”

Beautiful synthetic embellishments like berries, and florals feel real to the touch. Fragrance is important and can be added closer to the time you entertain; pop in fresh trimmings from your backyard or local tree farm.

Nostalgia often prevails and people get traditional, very quickly. Says Perry: “Reds are great sellers, and can definitely make your wreath pop.”

Janet Fanning, of The Greenery’s garden center on Hilton Head Island, anticipates their fresh Fraser fir, boxwood, and white pine wreaths will be ready for sale Thanksgiving weekend.

welcame4“It’s a fast and furious season,” she says. “Once wreaths come in, they go out quickly.”

Keeping them fresh requires frequent spritzes of water, and avoiding full sunlight.

Garlands arrive ready for decoration and leave wearing a festive ribbon.

“We often recommend adding natural embellishments like pinecones and berries to bring an earthy feel,” Fanning said.

If you are looking for a forever wreath, customers can visit Lisa Kiggans in The Greenery’s gift and home shop. She’ll help create a welcoming entryway, personalizing one of their pre-made wreaths. 

welcame8“People tend to be more traditional this time of year,” Kiggans says.

Anne and Daniel Doe of A & A Christmas Trees in Okatie boasts a 40-year tradition of selling wreaths, swags, and mailbox toppers from their family farm.

“We try to make each piece as perfect as possible,” says Anne. “Typically, we tie a waterproof, red-brick colored ribbon and several pinecones.”

Annie Doe flattens the twigs on the back of each wreath and reminds others to examine any garland for smoothness to avoid scratching the hanging surface.