‘Tis the Season in Palm Beach

by Rhonda Fischer

Hark! The Palm Beach high season rings in an array of offerings that bring to life the magic of the winter holidays in this unique island setting. The island is a special place throughout the year, but I particularly love the holidays. Steeped in Christmas tradition and nostalgia, Palm Beach at this time of year makes you remember times gone by. The streets are buzzing with festive activity, happy smiles, and “Merry Christmas” wishes. Shops and restaurants are full of patrons. Cultural happenings are at their peak. Locals and visitors alike are in the giving spirit. 

During the holiday season, Palm Beach is all about charity, tradition and well-rounded living. It becomes a magical place where special moments turn into lasting memories. 

 Monogrammed Merriment

Interior designer Leta Austin Foster has filled her eponymous boutique with custom-made and expertly sourced homewares that draw upon her long-standing relationships with European artisans. From French linens by D. Porthault to exquisite Milanese handpainted tableware by Labatorio Paravicini, you can search the curated collection for that perfect item or request a custom order from Leta, who works with the very best monogrammers from Paris to New York.

Dining Al Fresco

Across the way from Leta Austin Foster’s boutique is Renato’s—an absolute favorite among Palm Beach residents. This upscale Italian eatery is known for its romantic courtyard seating and elegant, old-world feel.

Festive Florals

I have worked with event designer and florist extraordinaire Barbara Hamilton for more than 20 years. Together, we collaborate while decorating for the season, considering the fine details and color nuances of each space throughout the home. At Christmas, my style is more traditional (think: stunning displays of white lilies and staircases draped in magnolias), but when it comes to creating wreaths, I love to add inventive touches with natural elements such as berries, princess pine and eucalyptus.

World-Class Shopping

The spirit of the holiday season comes alive on Worth Avenue with its palm trees wrapped in lights, decorated storefronts and much-loved singing Christmas tree. The sparkling window display at Richters, showcasing its exquisite collection of one-of-a-kind estate and vintage jewelry, is always enchanting and takes my breath away.

Giving Back

Considered a highlight of the Palm Beach social season, the Annual Dinner Dance hosted by The Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach is a dazzling affair. A night of French wine, enchanting décor and dancing raises over a million dollars for the Foundation’s advocacy initiatives, educational programs, architectural resources, cultural events and preservation in Palm Beach.

Cultural Enrichment

The Norton Museum of Art is where I treat my soul to all things cultural. On view this season is an exhibition examining the life of the legendary artist Georgia O’Keeffe through her art, her clothing and the way she posed for the camera.

Staying Active

The Palm Beach lifestyle is synonymous with living a healthy, active life. From the tennis court to the golf course, there are no shortage of ways to get outside on the island and stay fit. One of my favorite ways to get physical is at Squeeze Pilates in Royal Poinciana Plaza.

Treasured Traditions

Buttermilk Pancakes—A classic family recipe passed down by my husband’s grandmother.

1 egg, 112 cups of buttermilk, 1 cup of flour, 1 tsp salt,

1 tsp baking powder, and 34 tsp of soda dissolved in a little water

Break egg in a bowl, add 3/4 of a cup of buttermilk and water. Sift in flour, salt, and

baking powder. Mix in the rest of the buttermilk.

Palm Beach Cheese Puffs—Never amiss are these cherished hors d’ouevres at any Palm Beach cocktail party.

2 cups mayonnaise, 2 cups grated Parmesan cheese, 12 cup finely

chopped yellow onion, and 10 slices white bread

Preheat oven to 350 °F. In a large bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, cheese, and onion.

Cut the bread into rounds using a 1-inch cutter. Arrange on a baking sheet. Place a heaping

teaspoon of the mayonnaise-cheese spread on top. Bake for 6-8 minutes, until the tops turn

golden. Transfer to a decorative plate and serve hot.


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