At the Mackey House, the holiday season is a time for festive decor, natural design elements, lots of family and friends to celebrate with (before the pandemic, of course).
While 2020 is different, with smaller gatherings and more virtual festivities, we wanted to share a few of our favorite holiday traditions with you, especially if you’re planning a holiday wedding or event at the Mackey House.
While our pavilion is a blank slate, our home is bursting with holiday cheer and guests often love touring the home, twinkling with warm seasonal lights; decked with boughs of holly, cedar, and pine; draped in cheery ribbons, and adorned with special decorations displayed throughout the house.
The Official Start of the Holidays
It takes a full week to decorate the Mackey House inside and out. The Mackey family starts decorating after the last wedding of November–typically around the 30th of November–and has everything up by the first wedding in December.
A Warm Mackey Welcome
In December, when guests who first drive up the long and charming treelined driveway are first to welcome to the Mackey House by a festive wrap-around porch. It’s decked with greenery sourced onsite, cheery red bows, and warm twinkle lights.
Guests love to gather on the front porch to enjoy a quiet conversation or take in the verdant beauty of the surrounding gardens and woodlands.
On December 31st, the red bows are replaced with silver bows for the New Year.
Special Holiday Heirloom
You’ll find family heirlooms scattered throughout the house. A cherished heirloom is the family’s silver punch bowl, which is still used to serve homemade eggnog and holiday punch. The punch bowl originally belonged to Mama Mamie, Laura’s grandmother, who, along with her husband, Ed Martin, purchased Red Gate Farms in 1931.
The kitchen, with its Bay window, provides the perfect spot to display a Christmas Village. The 25 pieces that make up the village were acquired by the Mackey Family over the years. The village started with a few pieces given to Laura by her mother and grandmother. Over the years, Laura was given additional pieces as gifts, each piece reminding her fondly of family and friends.
Three Christmas Trees
With a home as beautiful and stately as The Mackey House, one Christmas tree just won’t do. You’ll find three trees that grace the Mackey House: one in the living room, one in the kitchen, and one in the dining room. Many hundreds of ornaments hang from these three trees.
Standing tall in the living room, you’ll find the largest tree, decorated in classic white and gold and adorned with traditional balls, harps, candles, and white doves.
In the kitchen, stands the family tree, with ornaments special to the Mackey family. There are so many ornaments, apples, pinecones, you barely see the green on the tree.
The dining room features a more design-forward tree deck in burgundy and red. Large burgundy feathers, big balls, and burgundy lace pull the look together while gold, and white details and twinkle lights add sparkle.
A World of Ornaments
One thing you’ll find on the Mackey family tree is ornaments from around the world. Many Mackey men served in the Navy while Mackey’s daughters married into the military. Each time a Mackey was deployed, they came home with an ornament from another country. Look for interesting pieces from Germany and Korea.
Mamma Mamie’s antique ornaments also mingle with children’s ornaments and gifts given from close friends and family throughout generations.
The Mackeys are proud to call Savannah home and believe incorporating Savannah history and culture into our holiday decor is a perfect way to celebrate the holidays and local heritage.
A favorite display is a porcelain collection of four Historic Downtown Homes, which are set up in the dining room. The collection is a 1st edition created by local artist, Dee Mullins and includes Saint Johns Cathedral, the Andrew Low House, the Owens Thomas House, and the Davenport House
Pine is also a natural part of life in Savannah. The Mackeys would always cut down a pine tree at the farm and use that as a Christmas Tree. All of the greenery you see at the Mackey House comes from the property, and includes pine, cedar and holly right on the farm and decorate with it.
Christmas for the Mackey family actually begins on Thanksgiving, when the forty-plus family members gather to give thanks and draw names for a Christmas gift exchange.
Christmas day starts with another Mackey family tradition: a steak and champagne brunch, complete with a homemade egg casserole, succulent steak, eggnog, and of course, champagne.
Gifts are exchanged in the afternoon and the evening is spent relaxing.
From Our Family to Yours
We welcome you to enjoy your holiday event or wedding at the Mackey House. Whether you want to revel in holiday joy with traditional decor, or would prefer a blank slate to make it your own, we can help.
Planning a December event? We would love to share our family’s steak and champagne brunch with couples having a small wedding, or who would like to offer a post-wedding brunch.
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