10 Charleston Holiday Must-Do Events, Tree Lightings, Parades and More

Our Charleston holiday calendar is filling up fast! The season is full with wonderful ways to celebrate the holiday season here in the Lowcountry. We’ve picked 10 favorites that are sure to have you humming “Jingle Bells” while making your list and checking it twice. We highlighted the 25th annual Holiday Festival of Lights but here are plenty of other favorite events.

Holiday Market at Middleton Place: From Nov. 28-29, the Garden Market & Nursery and Museum Shop kick-off the shopping season with an open-air market including local artisans and vendors, live musicians performing festive carols, complimentary hot cider and treats, and featured items in both shops.


Charleston Christmas Special photo/Damon Smith

The Charleston Christmas Special: From holiday classics to spiritual favorites and everything in between, this year’s Charleston Christmas Special has something for everyone. Highlights include a quartet of men singing II Divo’s version of “O Holy Night,” Julie Bell performing Christian artist Sandi Patty’s version of “Angels We Have Heard on High,” and Eddie Wilson playing Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus” on piano. Running Dec. 5-21 at the Charleston Music Hall.

Christmas 1860 – On Dec. 5 and 12, celebrate a Victorian holiday season by candlelight at the Edmondston-Alston House on East Bay Street – decorated for the holidays as it would have been in 1860 – as costumed interpreters present dramatic scenes.

Wine Under the Oaks – On Dec. 7, head to Boone Hall Plantation for fine Wine Under the Oaks wines, gourmet foods, a champagne and desserts tent, ice sculptures, wine and cooking demonstrations plus a concert by the band Spyro Gyra at Boone Hall Plantation in Mount Pleasant.

Mount Pleasant Christmas Parade & Tree Lighting: On Dec. 14, watch as more than 100 floats will parade down Coleman Boulevard for the annual Christmas parade. The tree lighting and fireworks display begins at about 5:30 p.m. at Moultrie Middle School, immediately followed by the parade beginning at about 5:45 p.m.


Charleston Caroling Co.

Charleston Caroling Co.

2nd Sunday on King Street: Stroll downtown Charleston on Dec. 14 as King Street is closed to vehicular traffic from Queen Street North to Calhoun Street. Enjoy decorations, carolers, holiday promotions, dining and a visit from Santa. While you’re out, be sure to stop by the Belmond Charleston Place to see the grand holiday train display and decorations in the main hotel lobby.

“A Christmas Carol” Walking Tour: On Dec. 18, local storyteller Tim Lowry recounts this time-honored holiday tale on a guided walking tour of historic Summerville. Tickets are $10 per person but availability is limited. Bonus: You can also catch a performance of “A Christmas Carol” Dec. 5-21 by Charleston Stage at the Dock Street Theatre in downtown Charleston. This all new production of Dickens’s classic features dazzling special effects, including ghosts that fly through the air, new scenery, new period costumes and orchestrations.

“A Sweet T. Christmas”: Enjoy some laughs this holiday season with the lovely story of a heavenly stranger, a hapless handyman, a hopeless hostess, a hopping-mad Santa, and their hysterical hunt for the holy grail of wish granting, a winning lottery ticket. Rated PG. Tickets sell out fast for this holiday mystery.

Holiday Magic in Charleston: Block off the weekend of Dec. 6-7 for plenty of holiday cheer and celebrations. Shop for gifts in the Holiday Market from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Marion Square followed by the Charleston tree lighting ceremony from 4:30-6 p.m. The next day, enjoy the 34th annual City of Charleston Holiday Parade. The parade is from 2-4 p.m., beginning at Colonial Lake, making its way up Broad Street, down King Street and ending at Marion Square.

Celebrate on the Charleston Harbor: Join Charleston Harbor Tours for Keep the Light Shinin’ Holiday Dinner Cruise on Nov. 29 and Dec. 12, 19, 26 and 27. Board The Carolina Queen for a gourmet buffet holiday dinner, two-hour harbor cruise plus entertainment from The Plantation Singers. Tickets are $49.95 per person. SpiritLine Cruises hosts its annual Breakfast with Santa on Dec. 6 on the Spirit of Carolina. Cost is $32 per person (one free child with paid adult) and includes a breakfast buffet, a personal visit with Santa Claus himself, a keepsake photo and a special holiday gift for each child from Santa’s favorite elf.

Let us know what holiday events are your favorites and share some photos with us on Facebook!