When people talk about their favorite times of year in Charleston, the immediate answer is usually March-April and/or October. I absolutely cherish every moment in Charleston during those months but I have to make a case for December! Edwin and I could not love December in Charleston more. The weather is amazing (you can wear coats and boots but you’re not freezing), there is so much to do, and the city decorates so well! I love wandering around on walks or bike rides to see how everyone decorates their homes and I thoroughly enjoy holiday shopping up and down King Street as the storefronts are all amazing.
Truly, if you’re thinking about visiting Charleston (one lucky one of you will when you win my Charleston giveaway from yesterday!), then consider coming in December. It’s magic!Since there is so much to do here this month, I wanted to share the best things to do in Charleston this holiday season. A few of them have already passed like a few Christmas pop-ups and The Charleston’s Jazz Orchestra’s Holiday Swing show (one of our favorite events last year!) but there is so much more so keep reading! I hope you enjoy (p.s. I wrote a similar post last year and y’all seemed to enjoy it so here’s this year’s version!). xx
All around Charleston, people are hanging their wreaths, stringing their lights, and placing their Christmas trees in their front windows. It officially feels like Christmas has arrived! Edwin and I picked up our tree right after Thanksgiving so we could soak in the holiday spirit at home as long as possible! Growing up, there was always a great debate when selecting a Christmas tree – shorter and bushy or taller and thinner. I always vote for a short, bushy, full tree and, luckily, Edwin agrees! Our tree isn’t actually that short – we got a six footer. To pick out our tree, I wore a soft plaid button-down, festive jeweled sweater, and a cozy teddy coat all of which are on sale right now! Speaking of teddy coats, this is my first real one and I’m obsessed with it. It’s so darn comfortable. I also love these similar three: one two, three.
The Best Things to do in Charleston this Holiday Season
HOLIDAY FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS
The famous Holiday Festival of Lights is a three-mile driving tour of two million sparkling holiday lights. It’s such a festive way to celebrate the holiday season with all ages! November 9th – January 1st.
With so much celebrating this time of year, it’s nice to have an excuse to get outside and walk or run at the annual 5k Reindeer Run through downtown Charleston. All the proceeds go to the MUSC Children’s Hospital. December 8th.
CHARLESTON HOLIDAY PARADE
The Charleston Holiday Parade is a staple on the Charleston holiday calendar. It runs through downtown Charleston and is so fun to observe with a cup of cocoa in hand! December 16th.
HOLIDAY PARADE OF BOATS
Held in Charleston Harbor, the Holiday Parade of Boats boasts boats adorned with colorful lights promenading through the water! You can view it from downtown Charleston at the Battery or from Mount Pleasant. December 8th.
VISIT THE CHRISTMAS TREES
Marion Square, The Belmond Charleston Place, Colonial Lake, The Market Pavilion Hotel are known for having the best, brightest, and biggest trees in town!
COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON HOLIDAY LIGHT SHOW
C of C’s historic Cistern Yard and Randolph Hall get transformed into a spectacular light and sound show for the College of Charleston Holiday Light Show! On the weekends, there’s a nightly hot chocolate stand too. Dec. 14th– January 1st.
MARION SQUARE HOLIDAY MARKET
This event isn’t quite daily but it is frequent this month so I’m including it here. The Charleston Farmer’s Market is in full swing with the addition of holiday vendors, live music, and visits from Santa & Mrs. Claus to make the Marion Square Holiday Market. December 1st, 2nd, 8th, 9th, 15th, and 16th.
CHRISTMAS AT BOONE HALL PLANTATION
Boone Hall comes alive for Christmas at Boone Hall Plantation with holiday decorations, Christmas trees, and southern holiday hospitality. December 3rd – Jan. 1st.
CANDLELIGHT TOURS AT THE NATHANIEL RUSSEL HOUSE MUSEUM
Just like the Marion Square Holiday Market, this event isn’t technically daily but it is a frequent event this month. Travel back in time as you take an evening/night candlelight tour of the historic house-turned-museum decorated for Christmas. December 7th, 8th, 14th, 15th, 21st, and 22nd.
One Time Events
CANNONBOROGH – ELLIOTBOROUGH HOLIDAY SIP & STROLL
Join one of the cutest neighborhoods in Downtown Charleston for an evening of holiday sips and shopping with their Cannonborough-Elliotborough Holiday Sip & Stroll. Enjoy treats like spiked peppermint mocha hot chocolate while you browse local favorites Indigo & Cotton, Candy Shop Vintage, J. Stark, Cannonborough Collective, Mac & Murphy, The George Gallery, Babas on Cannon, 86 Cannon, Flowershop, and Sugar Bakeshop. December 7th.
CIGAR BAZAAR HOLIDAY MARKET
The Cigar Factory is hosting a day of holiday shopping and celebration of local artisans, regional vendors, and retailers with their Cigar Bazaar Holiday Market! There will be live music, drink specials, and more. I went last year and picked up a beautiful one-of-a-kind wreath! December 15th.
CHRISTMAS MOVIES IN THE THEATER
How can you pass up on a chance to see some of the all-time best Christmas movies!? The Charleston Music Hall is showing four of the best holiday movies in their theater and hosting live caroling beforehand. See National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (Dec. 10th), It’s A Wonderful Life (Dec. 11th– my favorite movie in the world!), Die Hard (Dec. 12th), and Elf (Dec. 17th). P.S. It’s a Wonderful Life is also playing at the Terrace Theatre on Dec. 5th.
CHARLESTON LIBRARY SOCIETY HOLIDAY BAZAAR
An unique shopping experience – the Library Society has designed this Holiday Bazaar to feel like you are being transported to a magical European marketplace where you can find one-of-a-kind gifts from the best Charleston-based vendors. Specialty cocktails, festive treats, music, and more too! December 4th.
HOTEL BELLA GRACE HOLIDAY BOUTIQE
Charleston’s newest hotel, Bella Grace, is hosting a holiday boutique with some amazing local talents, including my fave gal Hart Hagerty (you see me wear her earrings all the time on R&R). Dec. 11th and 12th.
Edmondston-Alston House puts on a theatrical performance, Christmas 1860, one evening a year that sheds light on a turbulent time in Charleston just before the beginning of the Civil War. You’ll love the period costumes and love seeing the way the house would have been decorated then for Christmas. December 7th.
A CHRISTMAS CAROL
The historic Dock Street Theater is putting on Charles Dickens holiday classic, A Christmas Carol. It isn’t Christmas without a little dose of Ebenezer Scrooge, Tiny Tim and the spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Future! November 28th– December 19th.
THE SOUND OF CHARLESTON… FROM GOSPEL TO GERSHWIN HOLIDAY SPECIAL
Experience the music that defines Charleston’s rich heritage in The Sound of Charleston… gospel, George Gershwin, Civil War ballads, and jazz with a special emphasis on holiday tunes! December 7th, 14th, 21st, 26th, and 30th.
THE CHARLESTON CHRISTMAS SPECIAL
I haven’t been to this event, The Charleston Christmas Special, before so I’m super curious how it is. It’s a whole show of musical performances, comedy sketches, and more with a holiday theme. December 8th– 23rd.
Happy holidays! I hope this post got you excited for Christmas around Charleston. Don’t forget to enter my huge Charleston getaway giveaway! xx
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Photography by Edwin Eversole