Holiday Events

A listing of 40 best holiday events happening in the Midlands (Columbia SC) of South Carolina! From performances, parades and festivals to candlelight tours and candy cane hunts… the Holidays are Happening!

Holiday Hop in Aiken SC

Thursday, November 8
Are you ready to get into the holiday spirit?! Join #DowntownAiken until 8pm for a chance to finish your holiday shopping lists early or….just get it started! Participating businesses will stay open late to give you a chance to come by after you get off work. Some businesses will be offering holiday specials/sales and layaway plans for you! Make sure to mark your calendars and check Facebook for updates on participating ADDA businesses or click here. 

A Fairy Tale Christmas Carol

Friday, November 16 – Sunday, November 18
Everyone’s favorite classic holiday tale gets the fractured fairy-tale treatment where all the famous characters take on the roles of Dickens’s A Christmas Carol. At the Irmo High School Center for the Arts. Tickets here. 


Palmetto Health Foundation’s Festival of Trees

Friday, November 16 – Sunday, November 18
Funds raised through the event create new and enhance existing programs and services that benefit Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital. The 29th Festival of Trees will be returning to the South Carolina State Museum. The event kicks off on Friday, Nov. 16 with the auction preview, and family-friendly holiday cheer continues through the weekend. More here. 

Christmas in Newberry

Friday, November 16 – Friday, December 21

Christmas in Newberry is a magical time of year! The season kicks off with Main Street Lights and the Community Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in front of Community Hall. During Newberry’s North Pole Nights on Fridays in December, kids get to delight in falling faux snow, get pictures taken with Santa in Memorial Park and attend Story Time with Mrs. Claus! More here.


Historic Holiday House Tours

Friday, November 16 – Sunday, December 30, 2018
Guests are invited to see a variety of holiday decorations and experience traditions in both historic homes between Friday, Nov. 16 and Sunday, Dec. 30. Tour guides will provide stories of holidays past in Columbia and discuss how families decorated and entertained during the 19th and early 20th centuries. More here. 

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Sleigh Bell Stroll & Trot

Monday, November 19 & Tuesday, November 20
Run or walk at night and enjoy the sparkle of the Holiday Lights on the River displays at Saluda Shoals Park! The Sleigh Bell Stroll will take place Nov. 19, with the Sleigh Bell Trot four-mile race on Nov. 20 at Saluda Shoals Park. More here. 

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Ann Brodie’s Carolina Ballet :: The Nutcracker

Tuesday, November 20 – Sunday, November 25
Ann Brodie’s Carolina Ballet presents The Nutcracker at The Township Auditorium! This is the only full length production of The Nutcracker in Columbia, SC that has a full live orchestra and chorus. Share the magic of the Sugar Plum Fairy and The Nutcracker Prince. More here.

Gingerbread Jamboree

Friday, November 23 – Monday, December 31
All families are invited to some holiday fun this season at EdVenture’s Gingerbread Jamboree, held each weekend through December 31. The holiday event series for children will feature photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus, mini gingerbread house decorating, special visitors and holiday arts and crafts. The Jamboree will conclude with Columbia’s only BALL DROP for kids complete with a juice box toast at noon and activities celebrating New Year’s Eve around the world on December 31 from 11 a.m.–2 p.m.! As the countdown to noon begins, a giant illuminated ball descends and lands at the foot of EDDIE®, kicking off the biggest mid-day celebration in town! More here.


Small Business Saturday in Aiken SC

Saturday, November 24
Small Business Saturday is a day to celebrate and support small businesses and all they do for their communities. Shop in the charming city of Aiken and support their local merchants this holiday season! More here.

North Augusta: Christmas in the Backcountry

Saturday, November 24
Learn how colonists observed Christmas in the backcountry! The buildings will be open for visitors to tour and there will be demonstrations, from 10am to 4pm. Bring the family to enjoy life in the 18th century! The Mercantile will be open with handmade gifts for sale. We will have bread and cookies from the bake oven. More here. 

Country Christmas Celebration

Sunday, November 25
Come to the SC State Farmers Market and shop for your Christmas tree, enjoy Christmas music and festive treats, let your kids make holiday crafts and get their picture taken with Santa! Also featuring an antique tractor exhibit and tractor parade. Make sure you bring your camera to take pictures! This family event is free and a great way to kick off the holiday season. More here. 


52nd Annual Governor’s Carolighting

Monday, November 26
Kick off the holiday season with the official lighting of the South Carolina Christmas tree at the State House! Enjoy live music, words from the Governor, and a beautiful tree that’ll put you right in the holiday spirit! More here.


Lighting of the Cayce Christmas Tree

Thursday, November 29
This year the City has a brand new 25 ft. tall Christmas tree with magnificent lights and ornaments that will be the perfect kickoff for the Holiday season. Sponsored by The Woman’s Club of Cayce, this event will also include greetings from City officials, holiday thoughts, musical selections, a visit from Santa and the presenting of a new remarkable Christmas tree at City Hall. Christmas in Cayce is a wonderful month long holiday celebration including several annual events that have become a tradition. Beginning each December and continuing through the end of the year, visitors can take a ride through the Cayce City Hall complex and enjoy the magic of the Lights of Cayce including thousands of twinkling lights and music of the season. In addition to the Lights of Cayce, you are invited to the 41st Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony. More here. 

Go to The Crafty Cottage to find that special gift made by Local Artisans to meet your gift giving needs. Gift Certificates available for use throughout the store. They have something for everyone! Join The Crafty Cottage to stay up to date on wonderful specials and DIY Classes and Party Schedules!
831 Meeting Street, West Columbia SC
Open: Tuesday-Friday 11am-6pm; Saturday 10am-4pm

Chapin Theatre Company’s A Charlie Brown Christmas Musical

Thursday, November 29 – Sunday, December 9
The Peanuts gang discovers the true meaning of Christmas. This will be a holiday classic in Chapin! Directed by Tiffany Dinsmore and produced by Meesh Haysh. More here.

NEW Market in The Alley in Aiken!

Friday, November 30 | 5:45-8pm
Everyone loves the Downtown Christmas Tree Lighting! Keep the festivities going as you walk down through The Alley to the downtown shops and enjoy a holiday artisan market! More here.

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Town of Lexington Snowball Festival & Christmas Parade

Friday, November 30 – Sunday, December 2
This year’s Snowball Festival & Christmas Parade will take place Nov. 30 – Dec. 2, with events for the whole family! The Concert, Carnival and Tree Lighting will take place November 30 at Lexington Square Park from 6-8pm, and will include fun activities and entertainment. On December 1 at 5:30pm, catch two holiday Movies in the Park at Icehouse Amphitheater; “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” (rated G), followed by “A Christmas Story” (rated PG). Finally, on December 2, enjoy the annual Town of Lexington Christmas Parade on Main Street at 3:30pm! More here. 

Christmas Traditions at Cayce Historical Museum

Saturday, December 1
The sights, sounds, and tastes of Christmas will abound at the Museum’s annual Christmas Traditions Holiday Open House! Each room of the Museum will be decorated with Christmas trees and crafts from the 18th century to present. The Open House will also feature live entertainment, docents dressed in period attire, candle tours, singers, musicians, punch and food. The lantern tours are back this year! From 6pm to 10pm. More here.

Christmas for the Birds

Saturday, December 1
Please join the Living History Park as they remember the birds at Christmas time! They will host a party from 10am – 2pm to create decorations for the birds to eat throughout the winter! Please bring apples, oranges, peanut butter for the birds and food for our 4 legged friends (dog and cats) to be given to the local pet adoptions centers. Cider and cookies will be served and story time will be held! More here. 

Story Time with Santa

Saturday, December 1
Visit Seven Oaks Park as Santa reads his favorite holiday book to all the boys and girls onSanta and toddler his nice list. Participants will also decorate cookies, sip hot cocoa and create a holiday craft. To end Santa’s Storytime, there will be a candy cane hunt for all the good boys and girls. All families are invited to shop at the Santa’s Market Craft Show before or after the event. Pre-registration is required. More here. 

A Carolina Christmas

Saturday, December 1
A Christmas presentation from a Southern point of view at the Newberry Opera House. Featuring a wide variety of music from great singers, a fantastic pianist, and a string quartet. Bring along the kids and grandkids! More here.

Carolina Carillon Holiday Parade

Saturday, December 1
The 65th Annual Carolina Carillon Holiday Parade will feature magical entries from all across the state of South Carolina! This year there will be some very special SC celebrities, new marching bands, drill teams, local churches, dozens of beautiful floats, and of course, the most exciting part of the parade, Santa Claus! More here. 


St. Nicholas Festival

Saturday, December 1
The Greater Columbia Area’s 15th Annual St. Nicholas Festival will take place Dec. 1, from 10am to 4pm at Holy Apostles Orthodox Church. Join them for some great food, crafts, fun, and amazing choral performances by the ChoRuss Vocal Ensemble from Russia. Children can visit with the “real St. Nicholas”, see the Sarah Dippity Magic Show with St. Nicholas, take a church tour and learn about St. Nicholas, shop Holiday Crafts, Handmade Beeswax Candles, Artwork and collectibles, and enjoy Russian and Authentic Ethiopian Food. Come and hear Russian Bell Ringing with the wonderful bronze Pyatkov Bells made in Russia. More here. 

42nd Annual Candlelight Tour Of Homes

Saturday, December 1
The Camden Junior Welfare League proudly presents the 42nd Annual Candlelight Tour of Homes, a rare opportunity to see some of Camden’s finest private homes adorned in holiday splendor! Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 the day of the Tour. More here. 

Christmas Parade for South Congaree and Pine Ridge

Saturday, December 1
This Christmas, the towns of Pine Ridge and South Congaree will join together on December 1 for a Christmas Parade and Festival. The festivities will begin in South Congaree with a parade lineup at the Arena. More here.

Lancaster’s Christmas In The City

Saturday, December 1 & Saturday, December 8

Annual holiday celebration in Lancaster will feature costumed characters, shopping, arts and crafts, winter block party, Santa and much more. Dec. 1 – Christmas Tree Lighting at Springs House at 7pm. A Sweet Candy Christmas is the theme for this popular community event that features live entertainment, refreshments, Santa’s arrival to the Red Rose City, Downtown Trolley Rides, Gingerbread House Contest and tree lighting. Dec. 8 – Annual Christmas Parade will begin at 6pm in the Cultural Arts District. The theme is “A Sweet Candy Christmas” and participants will compete for prizes with their “best-dressed” floats, trailers, trucks, vehicles and parade banners. More here.

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Train Rides with Santa

Saturdays: December 1, 8, and 15
Come join the folks at the South Carolina Railroad Museum in Winnsboro for their annual Train Rides with Jolly Old St. Nick! Santa will be happy to take your children’s Christmas wish lists back to the North Pole with him so bring them along! Owned and operated by the SC Railroad Museum, on this fun trip you’ll enjoy train rides in a historical passenger or open air car! The Santa Train is also a great opportunity to meet Santa without standing in a long line. Santa Train runs Saturday, Dec. 1, Saturday, Dec. 8, and Saturday, Dec. 15. Purchase tickets ahead of time to guarantee your seat! Call 803.712.4135.More here. 

Hanging of the Greens

Sunday, December 2                   

You’re invited to Shandon United Methodist Church for a moving service filled with Christian symbolism, glorious decorations and inspiring music, at 8:45am and 11am in the Sanctuary. Hanging of the Greens marks the beginning the Advent Season – commemorating the coming birth of Jesus through placing ivy, cedar, mistletoe and holly. More here. 


Homes for the Holidays Tour

Sunday, December 2
Spend an afternoon visiting seven unique homes artfully decorated for the holidays in the Shandon and Hollywood-Rose Hill neighborhoods, along with historic Shandon Presbyterian Church. Sample food from local restaurants and specialty shops, and listen to music of the season while enjoying the architecture and history of two of Columbia’s oldest neighborhoods. More here. 

Governor’s Mansion Christmas Open House

Monday, December 3
From 5:30-7:30pm, Governor McMaster invites you to attend this years Governors Mansion Christmas Open House! Open to the public at no charge, and no reservation necessary. Regular Christmas tours will be held Tuesday-Thursday, Dec. 4-6 and 11-13 at 10am, 10:30am, and 11:00am. They are also free of charge, but reservations are needed. Call 803-737-1710 or email More here.

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Sweet Seasons 2018

Sweet Seasons 2018 presented by the City of Forest Acres and The Joint Chiropractic! The festivities will kick off at 5:30pm! There will be FREE pictures with Santa, the lighting of the Forest Acres Christmas Tree, dancing by Palmetto Performing Arts, and LIVE MUSIC from The Root Doctors! Food and beverages will be available for purchase! Free parking available on site and there will be off site parking at Crayton Middle with free shuttles to the event! More on Facebook.

Senior Goodwill Holiday Brunch

Thursday, December 6
The Irmo Chapin Recreation Commission and Irmo High School are partnering together to offer a Holiday brunch for seniors in our community. Please bring a dessert or fresh fruit to share. There is no charge for the event, but please register by November 27. More here. 

Holidays on the Ridge

Friday, December 7
Holidays on the Ridge is a Christmas event that takes place the first Friday in December. The Town is decorated in holiday splendor, downtown merchants open their doors to music, food and great sales and churches hold holiday concerts.  More here. 

Jingle All the Way

Friday, December 7
Inspired by the Rockettes, local dance company Carolina Freestyle performs a special holiday performance at the Newberry Opera House. Carolina Freestyle of Dance Station in Chapin, SC has appeared on The Today Show, in parades, and at “Broadway at the Beach.” More here. 


Newberry Christmas Tour of Homes

Saturday, December 8
The Newberry County Chamber of Commerce hosts this annual event from from 4-8pm. Tour beautiful private homes and local businesses of Newberry, fully decorated for the holidays! For more information call 803-276-4274

Cayce-West Columbia Holiday Parade of Lights

Saturday, December 15 (changed from Dec 8)
The Greater Cayce – West Columbia Holiday Parade of Lights is one of the most anticipated holiday parades in the Midlands of South Carolina! This beloved night time parade begins at 5:30 pm in front of the Cayce Municipal Complex, located at 1800 12th Street, and will proceed down 12th to 12th Street & Hwy 1 in West Columbia. ​We have great crowds so come grab yourself a viewing spot early! More here. 

Christmas Benefit Concert

Sunday, December 9

Join Shandon United Methodist Church for a night of Christmas music by Eddie Huss & Friends! Free admission. Donations accepted to benefit a local charity. More here.

Carl Payne Big Band :: JAZZ CONCERT & DINNER

Dec. 14, 2018  :: 7-9 PM
Enjoy an evening with the of music inspired by the jazz greats of the Swing Era (1930’s -1940’s) and a catered dinner. Held at Levi Chavous Sr Life Center :: 5335 Ridgeway St. Columbia, SC (Monticello Road area)  $30 pp/$50 per couple  CALL:  803-730-9748 to reserve your tickets!  The earlier the better!  Event on Facebook

Lake Murray Holiday Open House

Saturday, December 8 & Sunday, December 9
This year the theme is “Murray Christmas.” Holiday Open House activities include gift shopping at The Lake Murray Souvenir Shoppe, kids crafts with EdVenture Children’s Museum, Baked Goodies from Golden Fork Bakery, Scott Benny’s Food Truck, and pictures with Santa on Saturday. Admission is FREE! More here. 

Candlelight Tours & Carriage Rides

Friday, December 14
Visit the decorated, candlelit halls of the Hampton-Preston Mansion and the Robert Mills House and on a guided tour during their annual Candlelight Tours & Carriage Rides. There is limited space on the carriage rides and guests are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance. More here. 

Candy Cane Hunt

Saturday, December 15
A one-of-a-kind candy cane adventure! Santa and his elves will be hiding candy canes along the trail at Crooked Creek Park for kids to find. Children should bring a basket or bag for their candy canes. There will also be prize candy canes hidden along the trail. Bring a new unwrapped toy to donate and decorate a cupcake! More here. 

Ugly Sweater Crawl

Saturday, December 15
It’s about to get ugly in Downtown Aiken. Businesses and citizens alike gather Downtown Aiken in their ugly Christmas sweaters. Participating stores will be taking on this theme and some will provide sales to those who come dressed in their ugliest sweaters. More here. 

Rudolph’s Winter Revue

Saturday, December 15 – Saturday, December 22
Get ready to ring in the holidays with Rudolph! Columbia Marionette Theatre’s brand new variety show will feature musical numbers and showcase different puppetry styles. More here. 

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Christmas in Hopelands

December 15 – 23 and Wednesday, December 26
The Annual Christmas in Hopelands is an enchanting walk-through exhibit that features over 2 miles of lighted pathways and holiday displays. Over 100,000 twinkling lights are a must-see during the Christmas season. There is no admission charge. More here. 

A Festival of Carols: Choir & Orchestra

Sunday, December 16
A Christmas celebration filled with candlelight and magnificent music by choir and orchestra! Takes place at Shandon United Methodist Church, at 6pm in the Sanctuary. More here.

Greatest Christmas Party

Sunday, December 16

This free family event will take place from 4-5:30 p.m., at Shandon United Methodist Church’s Dunn-Smith Center Gym. A fun, meaningful event filled with Bible stories, songs, dinner, and crafts & games. Ideal for ages 5-12, but all ages are welcome. Parents must attend. No reservation needed. More here.


Sing-Along Messiah

Monday, December 17                                            
Experience and enjoy one of the musical highlights of the Christmas season, Sing-Along Messiah, December 17, 7pm, at beautiful, historic Washington Street United Methodist Church in downtown Columbia!  Celebrate the Christmas story proclaimed with joyous and thrilling music, as a professional orchestra, accomplished soloists, and a choir of 800 present Part One of Handel’s Messiah.  Sing or listen, the choice is yours. Sing-Along Messiah is the only annual sing-along presentation of Messiah in South Carolina, and is presented to the public without an admission charge. No Christmas season is ever truly complete without it!  Inquire and donate online at, or email  Seating is first-come, first-seated, no tickets issued, no reservations. Free, nearby parking readily available. Infant and toddler childcare provided.  Early arrival suggested. More here.

Jane Lynch: A Swingin’ Little Christmas Live in Concert

Thursday, December 20
A fabulous new Christmas album from Jane Lynch featuring Kate Flannery & Tim Davis with The Tony Guerrero Quintet at the Newberry Opera House! With 10 classic Christmas carols, 5 new original songs, full big band and lush strings! Don’t forget to wear your ugly Christmas sweater for a chance to win a prize. Judging in the lobby before the show. More here. 

Carol of the King: The Irish Dance Christmas Spectacular

Saturday, December 22
Carol of the King: The Irish Dance Christmas Spectacular is led by Justin Boros, former lead dancer of Michael Flatley’s “Lord of the Dance”. Carol of the King combines two of your favorite things- Irish Dance and Christmas. Featuring 20 of the world’s most skilled Irish dancers and musicians. With live dancers, singers, and musicians this Celtic Christmas Spectacular will warm the heat of the whole family! More here.

Christmas Eve at Shandon United Methodist Church

Monday, December 24                              
Join your friends at Shandon United Methodist Church for inspiring services filled with beautiful greenery, wonderful music, glowing candlelight and warm fellowship. Traditional Communion Service will be held at 2 p.m. in the Sanctuary. Family Service will take place at 5 p.m. in the Sanctuary, and will feature a sharing of the Christmas story with narration, costumes, and music. Features a live nativity with animals and the lighting of “glow sticks.” Communion and Candlelight Service will take place at 9 p.m. in the Sanctuary, and will include sharing the Christmas message with candle lighting and music by the Chancel, and a live nativity. More here. 

Famously Hot New Year

Monday, December 31
Celebrate the New Year on Main Street with a free outdoor concert and the biggest NYE fireworks in SC! Famously Hot New Year is South Carolina’s largest New Year’s Eve celebration, with a free, full-length concert by a national headliner and the biggest NYE fireworks display in SC. Adjacent to the historic SC State House in downtown Columbia, Famously Hot New Year also features regional food vendors, plentiful cash bars with beer, wine and bubbly, a vibrant, festival atmosphere and more! More here. 

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