‘Tis the Season for Tradition

The holidays are a time for tradition, a time to reflect on the year and dream about the year ahead. We have big plans for 2018—building a community at Kiawah River that can foster new traditions! We’d be remiss, however, not to share some of our favorite traditions and events happening throughout the Sea Islands and Charleston that you can enjoy this holiday season.

Immerse yourself in the history and tradition of Charleston. See how Charleston’s most historic homes deck the halls, shop locally-crafted gifts, and join trained actors in period costume as they take you back to the Christmas of Lowcountry past.

With so many events to choose from, we’ve compiled some of our favorites:

Holiday Festival of Lights at James Island County Park
November 10-January 1
Already underway, you can take in the magic of the holidays with over 700 light displays at the Holiday Festival of Lights on James Island. This event is more than just a light display. Visitors can park their car and walk the enchanted walking trail, ride on the festival train, visit with Santa, or roast marshmallows and drink hot chocolate.  For more information, visit

Charleston Strolls Holiday Walking Tours
Enjoy the holiday decadence of historic downtown Charleston on the city’s walking tour. Explore past where the horse carriages can go, to hear storied traditions of Charleston’s holiday past. The tour will finish at the Mills House Hotel where participants can imbibe in some seasonal refreshments. For more information, visit

Homegrown Holiday Bazaar
December 2
Support local Johns Island businesses by shopping at the Homegrown Holiday Bazaar. Visit Kiawah River’s neighboring Johns Island County Park to shop all things local and festive. There will be live music from the V-Tones and members of Sol Driven Train, food trucks, a holiday tractor show, a Santa Claus appearance, holiday games, cookie and ornament decorating, carriage rides, pony rides, and a jump castle. For more information, visit

Christmas 1860 at Edmondston-Alston House
December 2 & 9
Experience a Charleston Christmas as it was in the antebellum years. Discover the Edmondston-Alston House splendidly decorated for the holidays as living historians in period clothing give candlelight tours while retelling the story of Charleston’s opulent Christmas of 1860. For more information, visit

34th Annual African American Spirituals Concerts at Drayton Hall
December 2, 3 & 9
Enjoy African American spirituals in concert with three memorable performances by Ann Caldwell & The Magnolia Singers. Guests enjoy a catered reception and informal tours of Drayton Hall’s main house from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. followed by concerts in the basement from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. For more information, visit

Holy City Messiah by the Charleston Symphony Orchestra
December 7, 9 & 10
Spend a refined evening on the town this holiday season and bask in the musical glow of “Hallelujah!” from the Charleston Symphony Orchestra and CSO Chamber Chorus. Presented in downtown Charleston, Mt. Pleasant, and Summerville, there are plenty of opportunities to hear the beautiful sounds of Charleston’s resident orchestra. For more information, visit

27th Annual Reindeer Run
December 2
This kid-friendly and pet-friendly 5K takes runners and walkers right through the heart of downtown Charleston. With over 3,500 runners and walkers last year, proceeds from the 5K are given to both the MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital and the Charitable Society of Charleston. For more information, visit

Charleston Holiday Parade of Boats
December 9
Partake in the Lowcountry’s traditional holiday boat parade. Festively decorated boats will cruise through the Charleston Harbor delighting onlookers. Watch the parade from any of Charleston’s waterfront locations or decorate your own boat and participate. Mount Pleasant Pier is hosting Shuckin’ on the Cooper that same evening, so attendees can delight in oysters and beverages while watching the parade. For more information on the parade, visit For more information on Shuckin’ on the Cooper, visit

Grand Illumination at Middleton Place
December 14, 15 & 16
Join trained actors in period costume as they take you back to the Christmas of 1782. This lively event celebrates the return of Arthur Middleton from Philadelphia, the end of the Revolutionary War in the South, and the departure from Charleston of the British troops. Guests will feast on early American cuisine and specialty cocktails from the colonial period in a graceful pavilion tent following the presentation. Torch lit gardens, warm fires, dramatic scenes and presentations, and a traditional buffet will make Grand Illumination a memorable part of your holiday season. For more information, visit

Still looking for more ideas? Visit for a full run-down.