A South Carolina holiday tradition continues for another year at the Governor’s Mansion on Monday.
The annual First Lady’s Christmas Open House becomes free to the public for December 3 from 5:30-7:30 pm. Tours are offered on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
“Everybody expects it,” First Lady Peggy McMaster said. “They’ve been doing it for so many years and this is the best place to do it and it doesn’t cost anything to come. It’s a happy time.”
Mrs. McMaster wants the entire state of South Carolina to see the beauty of the Governor’s Mansion.
“This place would look good in a tornado,” she said. “There’s so much color. There’s so much pretty furniture. There are paintings everywhere.”
When the Columbia Garden Club decorates the mansion for Christmas, McMaster said it looks even more beautiful. She enjoys seeing people’s reactions when they enter the home for the first time.
“For people who never have seen it, that’s what’s so much fun because it’s just like they’ve won the lottery and they get to see what we live in all the time,” she said. “It’s just really a good feeling. I don’t mind people coming in and looking. This is not my house. So to open the door and share all this, that makes me happy.”
McMaster said her husband is constantly inviting people to come see the mansion in his speeches.
“He says, ‘People, please come. This is your house.’ We want all the children. We really want school children to come so they can say they’ve been here,” she said.
Monday night’s festivities include hot chocolate, cookies and even a visit from Santa Claus.
Poinsettias are provided by the Lexington High School Future Farmers of America. They have been growing the poinsettias at the Lexington Technology Center for their annual fundraiser since the summer. Guests can purchase poinsettias at the open house.
“In August, we came before the school year started and we took seedlings and we planted them in these pots and we watched them grow,” Lexington High School FFA member Loni McKenzie said. “We set them up on a drip line in our greenhouse.”
“This is wonderful,” McMaster said. “The more trees the better.”