Holiday Celebrations and Christmas in Charleston

After Thanksgiving, the fall festivities transition to a myriad of merriment celebrations in Charleston. From theater shows, musical concerts, ballets, parades, and festivals, the Holy City never ceases to entertain in the most magnificent ways. The streets are decorated with sparkling lights, storefronts boast magnolia wreaths and poinsettias, and restaurants feature seasonal libations and dishes. So make your merry way downtown and enjoy the magical moments of Charleston’s holiday season.

James Island Festival of Lights (Nov. 11th - Dec. 31st)

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On the other side of the Ashley River in James Island, the Charleston County Parks hosts its annual festival of lights. The event is open nightly from 5:30 p.m. until 10 p.m. beginning November 11th through December 31st. After driving through the spectacular light displays, patrons can park and visit Santa’s Village and the Winter Wonderland. Here, guests can warm up with hot chocolate and smores, create a craft at the Reindeer Workshop, view the local artwork display, visit the gift shop, ride the carousel, dine at the on-site restaurant, or talk to Old St. Nick himself. Pictures with Santa are available for an additional fee.

Boone Hall Plantation’s Wine Under the Oaks (Dec 4th)

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Boone Hall Plantation, which was founded in 1681, is the home to majestic, grand oak trees that line the formal entrance. The expansive property hosts one of the locals most desirable events: Wine Under the Oaks. This magical evening takes place on the lawn under the lighted oaks and features a variety of wine samples, complimentary oysters and desserts, and live music by Motown Throwdown.

Historic Dock Street Theatre’s “A Christmas Carol” and “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever”

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Located in the historic French Quarter, at the corner of Church Street and Queen Street (formerly Dock Street), the Historic Dock Street Theatre is America’s first building to be used for theatrical performances. The first performance was held on February 12, 1736, and the intimate venue remains one of the most iconic sites in Charleston. This season, Dock Street Theater will present Charles Dickens’s classic production “A Christmas Carol” and the family-friendly favorite “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever,” which is adapted from Barabara Robinson’s famous book about the Herdman family’s quest to find the true meaning of Christmas. Tickets for both shows can be purchased through the box office or Charleston Stage website.

Charleston Music Hall Holiday Events and Shows

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Built in 1849 as the Tower Depot, the Charleston Music Hall originated aas a passenger station of the South Carolina Railroad. Following the Civil War, the building had a stint as a manufacturing facility, but closed during the Great Depression. The building sat vacant and derelict for sixty years until 1995, when the Hall transformed into an arts venue. With more than 900 seats across the floor and balcony levels, patrons are pleased with any seat in the house.

  • Charleston Jazz Orchestra Holiday Swing (Saturday, December 3rd)

    Swing out with the Charleston Jazz Orchestra under Maestro Robert Lewis and his 18-piece big band for their final, boisterous concert of the year, Holiday Swing: A Charleston Jazz Tradition. Wear your sparkly sweaters and bring your dancing shoes. Dancing in the aisles is encouraged during this popular Christmas musical event.

  • Charlton Singleton’s Holiday Spectacular (Sunday, December 4th)

    Charlton Singleton, a native of Awendaw, South Carolina, began his musical career when he was just three years old. A natural talent, he beautifully plays the piano, organ, trumpet, cello, and violin, and he masterfully composes complex works that marry modern melodies with Gullah roots. He is the one of the founders of the quintet, Ranky Tanky, an internationally-known Jazz band. For this event, Charlton returns to Charleston to perform holiday favorites from a variety of genres.

  • The Charleston Christmas Special (December 15th - 22nd)

    Former Broadway stars Brad and Jennifer Moranz direct “The Charleston Christmas Special” in a similar fashion to the famed Radio City Music Hall Christmas Show. The show, which has been a Charleston staple for more than 20 years, features holiday classics, hilarious comedy, and a chorus line of incredible dancers from around the country as well as local talent. This year, Wednesday, December 21st is the kids free show.

The Annual Christmas Light Parade (December 11th)

Slightly east of Shem Creek, Coleman Boulevard is lined with spectacular lighted floats and festive civic groups for its annual Christmas parade. Prior to the parade, Pyrotecnico blasts a dynamic firework show. After the parade, the city lights its massive Christmas tree. This local event attracts thoughts of residents and visitors alike as it reflects small town, all-American traditions.

Folly Beach Christmas Parade

Charleston’s Holiday & Farmer’s Market (Dec. 3rd, 4th, 10th, 11th, and 17th)

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In between shows and parades, stop by Charleton’s Holiday Market, which is held in conjunction with the local farmer’s market. Located at Marion Square, the holiday market features a plethora of local artists, crafts, gifts, and treats. Children enjoy playing in the kids’ zone, while parents shop for gifts, listen to live music, and nibble on handmade treats.

Be sure to visit the Charleston Vistor’s Beureau for more information and updates regarding holiday shows and festivities. While driving around town and viewing home Christmas lights, you may find a property for sale that peaks your interest. Contact a NV real estate professional for a tour of local properties and homes for sale.


North Charleston Performing Arts Center

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The North Charleston Performing Arts Center is a 2,300 seat proscenium theater. Since its opening in 1999, the PAC has hosted a variety of events and is home to the Lowcountry’s Best of Broadway series, as well as the North Charleston POPS! 

Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker

For many lowcountry families, seeing the Nutcracker is a beloved, annual tradition. This touring Russian troupe brings a vibrant rendition of the classic ballet favorite. In this version, the Clara-like character is named Masha and is guided by the Ballet’s exclusive Dove of Peace to the Land of Peace and Harmony.

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