While much of the rest of the country is worrying about shoveling snow and waking up early to scrape ice off their windshields, we Charlestonians are enjoying moderate temperatures in our light jackets and relishing a couple months without humidity. The weather outside might not be frightful, but that doesn't mean we can't still get into the Christmas spirit! Whether you live here full time or are just visiting for the season, here are 9 events in the Holy City that are sure to put a little extra jingle into your holiday season.

Holiday Festival of Lights

11/9 - 1/1

Back for its 29th year, the award-winning James Island County Park Holiday Festival of Lights is one of the most hotly anticipated holiday events in Charleston. Featuring an estimated 2 million (yes, million) lights, pictures with Santa, fire pits for roasting marshmallows, photo opportunities, winter village, and more, this is a great event for kids and adults of all ages.

Cost: $20 per vehicle ($15 Monday - Thursday with a donation to the Lowcountry Food Bank)

1940s Radio Hour

12/7 - 12/22

The Footlight Players always put on a great show, and this year's holiday show is shaping up to be another hit! The 1940s Radio Hour evokes a simpler time, and combines comedy, holiday cheer, and 1940s biggest musical hits for a show that kids and adults of all ages will enjoy.

Cost: See website for Ticket Prices

Candlelight Tours at the Nathaniel Russell House

12/7 - 12/22, Friday and Saturday nights only

One of Charleston's most popular historic home tours, the Nathaniel Russell House really gets into the spirit of the holidays every year with their candlelight holiday tours. You'll feel as if you've stepped back in time to experience the holidays during 19th century Charleston.

Cost: $25

Holiday Parade of Boats

12/8, 5 - 8 pm

When you live near the water, houses aren't the only things that get decorated for the holidays! Enjoy a parade of decked out boats as they travel along the Charleston Harbor, an annual Charleston tradition for the past 37 years. While you can watch the parade for free anywhere along the harbor, you can also choose to attend the Rotary Club viewing party, which includes a catered dinner, cash bar, and live entertainment, along with fabulous views of the parade.

Cost: Free to watch the parade; $35 - $40 for the rotary watch party

Chanukah in the Square


The 11th annual event celebrates the beginning of Chanukah and is the biggest annual Jewish event in the state. There will be lots of food and drink (come hungry for latkes) and live entertainment. There will also be a lighting of menorah candles by Charleston local Holocaust survivors.

Cost: free to attend

Grand Illumination and Dinner

12/13 - 12/15

Take a step back to the year 1782 to experience the holidays in colonial Charleston. The Grand Illumination is a reenactment event, where you'll be attending as a guest of Arthur Middleton as he returns back from Philadelphia to celebrate the end of the Revolutionary War. Your ticket price includes a buffet of traditional early American cuisine, cocktails, reenactment events, and a chance to experience Middleton Place at night in a way few have experienced it.

Cost: $64 for adults

Vienna Boys Choir

12/21 at 7 pm

Formally established at Vienna's Imperial Chapel in 1498, the Vienna Boys Choir is comprised of the best singers, aged 10 - 14, from all over the world. They'll be stopped at Charleston's Gaillard Auditorium for one night of impressive harmonies right before Christmas this year, so you won't want to miss out!

Cost: $22 - $87

NYE on the Yorktown


While there are no shortage of ways to celebrate New Years Eve in Charleston, there are few places with a better view and more festive atmosphere for ringing in the new year than on the Yorktown. The event includes a variety of heavy hors d'eouvres, an all-inclusive bar, heated tent space on the flight deck, 3 stages of live entertainment, and more!

Cost: $175

Leave a Comment