MYRTLE BEACH — Christmas week is here. While fewer family members may be driving into town to celebrate, the holiday can still be a stressful time for many.
Some may choose to channel this stress by cooking, completing the puzzle their aunt gifted them or making a gingerbread house. But for those less proactive and possibly even jaded toward innocent celebrations of the holidays, drinking hard liquor and plenty of it may become a crutch to overcome Christmastime stress.
For many new residents or visitors accustomed to buying liquor by the bottle at a retail store on Christmas Day back in their home states, that will not be an option here in South Carolina.
The Palmetto State bans alcohol on Christmas Day — so stock up now.
“It is unlawful to sell alcoholic liquors on Sunday except as authorized by law, on Christmas Day, or during periods proclaimed by the Governor in the interest of law and order or public morals and decorum,” the state’s law states.
South Carolina certainly isn’t alone in not allowing liquor sales on Christmas. According to the Competitive Enterprise Institute in 2018, more than 20 states ban alcohol sales in some fashion on Christmas. Some states go even further, banning all retail alcohol or even banning retail sales on New Year's too.
Notably, according to the editors notes on state law, the alcohol sales for Christmas Day is a relatively new prohibition. In 2014, the state allowed liquor to be sold on Election Day — reversing a tradition of requiring voters abstain from the hard stuff before voting.
During that 2014 vote, however, instead of simply repealing the whole sentence, state lawmakers changed “election day” to “Christmas Day.” And ever since, liquor stores were required to close for the holiday regardless of if the store owner wants to be open or not.
Beer and wine will still be sold at stores open for Christmas Day. But for those worried about a dry Christmas devoid of egg nog or straight tequila, stock up in advance.
Liquor stores will close at 7 p.m. on Christmas Eve.