How to Celebrate Christmas and the Holidays in Charleston

Charleston commemorates Christmas and the holidays with brilliant lights, festive markets, and honored traditions. It is the most magical time of the year, so we’ve compiled a list of three dazzling ways to celebrate. Afterward, if you are looking for more ways to spend the holiday season in the Lowcountry, simply download our free Kiawah Island and Seabrook Island Vacation Guides. Our guides are full of recommendations on Charleston’s top attractions, events, shopping, dining, and more. 

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Celebrate Christmas and the Holidays in Charleston

1. The Festival of Lights | November through January

The Holiday Festival of Lights is the most spectacular light display in Charleston, however, you will find much more than lights at this holiday event! You can also enjoy hot chocolate and marshmallow roasting, an enchanted walking trail, carousel rides, and even meeting the one and only Saint Nicolas! Even Santa knows that there isn’t a better place to celebrate the holiday season than in Charleston.

2. Holiday Productions | December

In the Holy City, theater, music, and the holidays go together like peanut butter and jelly! Some of Charleston’s most cherished holiday productions include A Christmas Carol at Dock Street Theatre and The Nutcracker at the Charleston Gaillard Center. Another special Christmas production is Christmas 1860 at the Edmondston-Alston House, in which visitors delve into history and experience the last opulent Christmas in Charleston before the Civil War.

If you plan to attend a holiday production, pair it with dinner at one of Charleston’s award-winning restaurants. You will find many of downtown’s restaurants decorated with vibrant poinsettias and flickering candles, all accompanied by special holiday menus. Because the holidays are a popular time for dining and theater in the Holy City, we recommend securing your tickets and restaurant reservation well in advance.

3. Chanukah in the Square | December

Chanukah in the Square is the largest Chanukah celebration in South Carolina. This one-of-a-kind event is free to the public and features dozens of beloved traditions. Here, you will find delicious and classic holiday foods like latkes and applesauce and deep fried, jelly-filled donuts!

Children are invited to enjoy countless arts and crafts activities and collect chocolate coins. The festival kicks off with a giant menorah lighting ceremony followed by free food, live music, dancing, and fun for the entire family!

Where to Stay for Christmas & the Holidays

Just 30 minutes away from the bustling Holy City, Kiawah Island and Seabrook Island have their fair share of exciting things to do, too! Throughout the Christmas season, your family can decorate cookies and holiday s’mores at The Sanctuary, enjoy elegant holiday menus at Jasmine Porch, The Ocean Room, and The Atlantic Room, and experience festive events and shopping opportunities at Freshfields Village!

With over 100 handpicked properties on Seabrook and Kiawah, our timeless rentals feature everything from oceanfront vistas to golf fairways. Visitors to Charleston’s most beloved sea islands enjoy miles of private beaches, award-winning golf courses, championship tennis, boutique shops, fine dining, and endless family-fun activities. Check our current packages and specials today! We can’t wait to help you find your home away from home this holiday season.

From mid-November through the New Year, Charleston is abuzz with fun things to do. If you are looking for more Christmas and holiday festivities in the area, check out our events page!