Celebrate the Holidays – Charleston Style


Photo/Charleston County Parks

Photo/Charleston County Parks

It’s not too early to start making your holiday plans for Charleston. The season is packed with festivals, tree lightings, family activities and shopping. Here are a few of our favorites and be sure to visit our calendar for a full listing.

The 24th annual Holiday Festival of Lights is a favorite among visitors and locals alike. Located at James Island County Park, the festival boasts more than 2 million lights in 750 displays. Drive 3 miles through the park to take in the light displays then stop off at the winter wonderland for hot chocolate, shopping and Santa. The festival runs Nov. 8 through Dec. 31.

Middleton Place hosts several holiday events, including a Holiday Market Nov. 29-30 with live musicians performing carols, complimentary hot cider and treats and local artisan displays. Then on Dec. 14, the plantation hosts a holiday event for all ages – the Family Yuletide in the Stableyards. Enjoy storytelling around the fire, caroling and craftspeople working in their shops by candlelight as they prepare for Christmas at Middleton Place.

During the Grand Illumination at Middleton Place Dec. 19-20, visitors can stroll through the gardens illuminated by torchlight, candlelight and starlight and hear costumed interpreters along the way tell stories of the joyous holiday season when the British evacuated Charleston at the end of the Revolutionary War. See the house seasonally decorated and glowing in candlelight, and on the Greensward, enjoy a warm fire, live music and refreshments. The event concludes with a Southern Buffet dinner.

Photo/Middleton Place Grand Illumination at Middleton Place

Photo/Middleton Place
Grand Illumination at Middleton Place

Here’s a sampling of even more holiday fun in Charleston:

  • Nov. 30 – Charleston Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony – Gather in Marion Square at dusk as the tree of lights comes to life for the holiday season. charlestonarts.org | 843-724-7305
  • Dec. 1 Chanukah in the Square – 4-6 p.m. in Marion Square. charlestonarts.org | 843-724-7305
  • Dec. 3 Summerville Christmas Tree Lighting – Downtown Summerville. summervilledream.org
  • Dec. 6, 13 Christmas 1860 at the Edmondston-Alston House – The historic house will be decorated for the holidays much as it would have been in 1860. Living historians in period clothing tell the story of Charleston’s last opulent Christmas before the start of the Civil War and Christmas traditions of the day. Located at 21 East Battery in Charleston. edmondstonalston.com | 843-722-7171
  • Dec. 6-10, 12-15, 19-22 The Charleston Christmas Special – Family friendly variety show with holiday songs, dancing and skits at the Charleston Music Hall. bradandjennifermoranz.com | 843-416-8453
  • Dec. 7 Reindeer Run — Get into the holiday spirit with this family and pet-friendly 5K through downtown Charleston. The event concludes with an after-party. Proceeds benefit the Medical University of South Carolina Children’s Hospital and the Charitable Society of Charleston. reindeerrun.org
  • Dec. 7 Holiday Market & Craft Show – This annual event at the Mount Pleasant Farmers Market Pavilion showcases locally grown produce, baked goods and homemade preserves along with crafts from local artisans. comeonovermp.com | 843-884-8517
  • Dec. 7 Holiday Parade of Boats – Boats decorated in their holiday finest will make their way down the Cooper River, starting on the Mount Pleasant side and ending in the Ashley River. charlestonarts.org
  • Dec. 7, 8 Spirituals Concert – Drayton Hall presents African-American spiritual music with two concerts by Ann Caldwell and The Magnolia Singers. These concerts are a rare opportunity to gather in the atmospheric-raised English basement of Drayton Hall to hear music that could have been heard centuries ago in the surrounding fields and praise houses. draytonhall.org | 843-769-2600
  • Dec. 8 Christmas Light Parade & Tree Lighting – More than 100 floats will march down Coleman Boulevard in Mount Pleasant followed by a tree lighting and fireworks display at Moultrie Middle School. comeonovermp.com | 843-884-8517
  • Dec. 8 Summerville Christmas Parade – Downtown Summerville. summervilledream.org
  • Dec. 13-14 Holiday Pops: A Very Merry Sing-A-Long — The Charleston Symphony Orchestra presents holiday favorites at the Sottile Theatre in downtown Charleston. charlestonsymphony.com | 843-723-7528
  • Dec. 22 Classical Kids Concert: The Night Before Christmas – Sing along to favorite holiday songs and listen as well loved stories come to life with classical music at Sottile Theatre in Charleston. chambermusiccharleston.org | 843-763-4941
  • Dec. 26 Lighting of the Kwanzaa Kinari – Marion Square in downtown Charleston. charlestonarts.org | 843-724-7305