Charleston interior designer and style maven Elizabeth Damrich shares what makes the historic city so enchanting at Christmas, plus her go-to pieces for dazzling holiday style.

By Rachael Burrow and Betsy Cribb
December 17, 2018
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Ben Jack of Fuzzco

"There’s nothing like Charleston during the holidays," says Elizabeth Damrich, who moved to Charleston four years ago after a stint in New York. "From an interior designer's point of view, the way all the historic homes look decorated for Christmas is one of the best parts. It feels so quaint."

More than the decked-out homes, though, Damrich loves how her holiday agenda has changed since she and her husband moved to the Lowcountry. "We can still go on the boat in December, or we can go to the beach," she says. "It’s a way to celebrate Christmas that expands beyond your living room. It’s about being outside and being together."

This year, the Alabama-raised designer and her husband will bring her family’s holiday tradition—a pre–Christmas Eve porch party—to their downtown Charleston home.

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“We like to call it 'Eve Before the Eve,'" Damrich says. "We invite our closest friends and family, and it's usually a pretty rambunctious night." Years of partying on her parents’ porch means the designer has her entertaining staples down pat: A steady flow of bubbly and a stack of Christmas vinyls from old-school favorites like Nat King Cole and Billie Holiday usually do the trick. "Keep the Champagne going!" she says. "I like to walk around with it and top people's glasses off all party long."

In addition to the porch party, Damrich says she and her husband may try on a local tradition for their first official Lowcountry Christmas: "There’s a holiday boat parade in the harbor, and everyone decorates their boats. We have a wooden boat named Josephine, and we’re thinking it’s the year for her parade debut."

Elizabeth’s Holiday Outfit Staples

When the halls are decked, Damrich turns to these festive fashion picks.

Courtesy of Rodin/Jason Jamal Nakleh

Rodin olio lusso Luxury Lipstick

When to Wear It: “To make any look more festive.”
Why I Love It: “It’s the perfect shade of red with a hint of orange.”
Buy it: RODIN olio lusso Luxury Lipstick in Tough Tomato, $38;

Photo courtesy of STAUD

STAUD Mini Shirley Bag

When to Wear It: “Whenever you’re out and about around town.”
Why I Love It: “It’s an interesting texture to offset heavy winter clothing, and it can double as a small beach tote in the warmer months.”
Buy it: STAUD Mini Shirley Bag in Croc, $195;

Photo courtesy of Tura

Tura Lita Sunglasses

When to Wear Them: “The holiday parade.”
Why I Love Them: “The cat-eye shape is classic with a little quirk.”
Buy it: Tura Inc. K536 Lita in Amber, $275;

Photo courtesy of Little Barn Apothecary

Little Barn Apothecary Honeysuckle + Grapefruit Body Oil

When to Use It: “After a bubble bath to recover from the brisk winter weather.”
Why I Love It: “It’s vegan and made from natural ingredients.”
Buy it: Little Barn Apothecary Honeysuckle + Grapefruit Body Oil, $38;

Photo courtesy of Lizzie Fortunato

Lizzie Fortunato Drop Mobile Earrings

When to Wear Them: “To holiday parties, or to dress up a simple sweater.”
Why I Love Them: “The artistic shape.”
Buy it: Lizzie Fortunato Drop Mobile Earrings in Midnight, $230;

Photo courtesy of & Other Stories

& Other Stories Coat

When to Wear It: “Every day, or for holiday shopping.”
Why I Love It: “It offers a touch of classic menswear, while still remaining relaxed and cozy.”
Buy it: & Other Stories Coat in Beige, $255;

Hector Sanchez

Simon Miller XL Lunchbag Clutch

When to Wear It: “Around town.”
Why I Love It: “We all need a little more color in winter!”
Buy it: Simon Miller XL Lunchbag in Blue Paradise, $485;

Hector Sanchez

Tibi Mendini Twill Pleated Dress

When to Wear It: “Holiday parties.”
Why I Love It: “It's the perfect red for the holidays, with a vibe that is polished but comfortable.”
Buy it: Tibi Mendini Twill Pleated Dress in Tomato Red, $850;