A sampler of Savannah’s characteristic Christmas confections

Three locally founded sweet shops offering limited-time-only holiday delights

click to enlarge A scene of tasteful merriment at Savannah's own River Street Sweets. - NICK ROBERTSON/CONNECT SAVANNAH
Nick Robertson/Connect Savannah
A scene of tasteful merriment at Savannah's own River Street Sweets.
For anyone with a sweet tooth, the Christmas season really is the most wonderful time of the year, especially when considering the tempting array of confections that are only available for a few weeks around Yuletide, like candy canes, gingerbread men, and fruitcake (well, let’s forget about that last one).

Here in Savannah, these Santa-approved treats are even more unique when they’re crafted by local confectioners who add a dash of distinctive flair when whipping up every batch of their holiday-season offerings. The fact that these sugary delicacies can only be enjoyed for a short while every year makes them eagerly anticipated highlights of Savannah’s Christmas scene.

The following trio of Savannah-based confectioneries were all founded locally and quickly earned a place in the hearts of area residents and beyond, leading to the opening of new locations near and far. Get into the Christmas spirit by discovering their limited-time-only holiday treats that are sure to hit the spot as a tasteful gift or as a delightful self-indulgence.

click to enlarge The ever-popular sample bar at Byrd's Famous Cookies. - NICK ROBERTSON/CONNECT SAVANNAH
Nick Robertson/Connect Savannah
The ever-popular sample bar at Byrd's Famous Cookies.
Byrd’s Famous Cookies

Founded nearly a century ago in a Savannah shanty near City Market, this iconic cookie company remains a mainstay for locally made crumbly treats. Benjamin Tillman “Pop” Byrd, Sr. was only 28 years old when he launched his namesake business in 1924, and he earned instant popularity with his Scotch Oatmeal cookies that are still a bestseller at the company’s contemporary City Market shop. Nowadays, Byrd’s provides a variety of holiday-season specialties that are appreciated by all ages, from colorfully frosted Christmas cookies to huge gingerbread men – and with a wide variety of decorative tins that can be packed with whatever cookie varieties are most desired, this can be an easily customized gift item good for shipping almost anywhere. Check out Byrd’s cool cookie jars as well, ranging from their classic glass variety to a ceramic model shaped like a pickup truck bringing a Christmas tree home. Downtown Savannah locations: 213 W. Julian St. and 423 E. River St.; visit byrdcookiecompany.com for more details.

click to enlarge The Christmassy treats at Marché de Macarons. - NICK ROBERTSON/CONNECT SAVANNAH
Nick Robertson/Connect Savannah
The Christmassy treats at Marché de Macarons.
Marché de Macarons

To enjoy a holiday treat that is truly très magnifique, stop by the shops of Laura Hale and Amy Shippy, Savannah’s most renowned macaron mavens. After first perfecting their delicate macaron recipes in their own kitchens, the ladies have created some 50 gluten-free flavors all made with light almond flour, and spread their success from a downtown Savannah store to a Southside bakery site and a Hilton Head Island location. Patrons will find a wide variety of these artfully made cake-like French cookies year-round, including blackberry lavender, coconut dark chocolate, and bourbon pecan. However, during December the store offers distinctively Christmassy macaron variations like gingerbread, eggnog, and candy cane, the latter option comprised of soft white-chocolate ganache, peppermint ganache filling, and a crunchy coating of crushed peppermint. A selection of charming gift boxes makes this an easy way to provide presents to friends and family that will almost certainly be deeply appreciated and quickly devoured. Downtown Savannah location: 42 Abercorn St.; visit marchedemacarons.com for more details.

click to enlarge Fudge comes in flavors of candy cane and eggnog at River Street Sweets in December. - NICK ROBERTSON/CONNECT SAVANNAH
Nick Robertson/Connect Savannah
Fudge comes in flavors of candy cane and eggnog at River Street Sweets in December.
River Street Sweets

For almost 50 years, this local institution owned by Savannah’s Strickland family has drawn countless customers to step inside from strolls along the historic riverfront to delight in pecan pralines, freshly made fudge, and caramel-covered apples all made on-site. Originally the Stricklands sold knickknacks and Christmas ornaments at their River Street shop, but after Tim Strickland (then aged 11) convinced his parents to start selling fudge in 1973, the business model became candy-centered soon afterwards. Not surprisingly, the shop is still filled with ornaments every Christmastime – along with varied treats proffered in myriad gift boxes and tins – while special seasonal sweets include blocks of fudge flavored with candy-cane pieces and the essence of eggnog. Even old Scrooge would feel his Yuletide spirit soar when seeing the bustling store festooned with firry boughs and red ribbons, and the confectionery’s holiday catalog enables anyone to ship enviable edible presents near and far with ease. Downtown Savannah location: 13 E. River St.; visit riverstreetsweets.com for more details.

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