Dec 06 2011

A Holly Jolly Folly Beach Christmas

Spending the holidays on Folly Beach gives visitors a chance to get away from it all and enjoy a beach vacation with family, but it’s also just a short ride away from the hustle and bustle of Charleston and all it has to offer.

This guide will give visitors a chance to see what’s going on in Charleston if they want to come in off the beach and really get in to the Christmas spirit in town. There are activities for everyone from families to couples.

The Nutcracker…

To begin with, traditionalists will love the Charleston Ballet’s performance of The Nutcracker. This year is the 25th anniversary for the Charleston Ballet Theatre. The CBT performance of the holiday favorite is done with a lowcountry flair and incorporates famous names and landmarks found in Charleston.

In addition, the adoptable dogs from the Charleston Animal Society will make appearances in the show and are available for adoring fans to meet before and after the performance.

The show can be seen at the Galliard Auditorium Dec. 10 at 7:30 pm and Dec. 11 at 3 pm. It’ll play again at the North Charleston Performing Arts Center Dec. 16 at 7:30 pm and Dec. 17 at 3pm. Buy tickets online by visiting

Dashing through the Snow… or Water

Sleigh rides are another holiday favorite, but here in Charleston, snow is a rarity. So instead of hitting the snow-covered fields while sipping hot chocolate on a sleigh ride singing carols, tour the Charleston Harbor on the Thriller. This one-hour tour aboard the high-speed boat popular for its Charleston cruises takes it down a notch and slowly travels through the harbor while tales of Charleston are told.

Tours depart from the dock next to Vickery’s on Shem Creek. The tours will operate daily from Dec. 15-31. Contact (843) 276-4203 for more information.

If your holiday isn’t complete without Christmas music then check out the Charleston Christmas Special at the Charleston Music Hall located at 37 John Street.

The show will be presented by Brad and Jennifer Moranz, Broadway veterans, and will feature two hours of traditional and contemporary holiday music along with Christmas-themed comedy acts. The show is appropriate for the entire family. For tickets contact 1-800-514-3849.

The beloved “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens is another Christmas tradition that many people enjoy, but here in Charleston it’s done a little differently. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the “Dickens-Dinner” as told by Tim Lowry. Guests visit Circa 1186, the restaurant located in the old Wentworth Mansion, where they will hear the story while dining on a four-course meal inspired by the Dickens’ novel.

This step back into time takes place at 6:30 pm on December 14. The cost is $70 per person and does not include tax, gratuity, and beverages. The attire for this event is business casual.

For a more all-encompassing version of “A Christmas Carol” check out Charleston Stage’s performance at Dock Street Theatre. This show plays daily until Dec. 18 and is suitable for all ages. For more information about tickets contact the Dock Street Theatre at (843) 577-7183. Tickets range in price from $22 to $52 and the show is suitable for all ages.

Kill two birds with one stone with any of the following walking tours that highlight the history of the decorated homes and gardens throughout the city. The “Christmas in Charleston Tea Party” is hosted by Laura Wichmann Hipp who takes visitors to the private homes and gardens of her friends so that visitors get a taste of downtown Charleston living. These aren’t ordinary houses either; these homes include some of the most beautiful historical homes in the city.

The tours are daily from 9:30 am to 12:30 and end with a home-cooked Lowcountry meal in Hipp’s home overlooking the Ashley River.

Another tour that offers an authentic Charleston flare is the Christmas in Charleston Tea Party. This tour leads guests through the oldest sections of downtown Charleston and explores hidden gardens and passageways. This tour culminates with a Christmas-themed mid-morning tea in a garden in the elite South of Broad region of town.

Contact (843) 722-1779 for more information.

Another popular walking tour is offered by Charleston Strolls. This tour leads visitors through St. Michaels Church, private neighborhoods decorated to the nines with holiday flair, and many other historic places. Call (843) 766-2080 for more information.

Lastly, no Christmas vacation is complete without cruising around viewing Christmas decorations, which is what the James Island County Park hosts the annual Holiday Festival of Lights. This is festival offers a three-mile drive through stunning light displays, but that’s not all. In addition there are train rides, walking trails, gingerbread houses, sand sculptures, carousel rides, climbing walls, a candy shop, marshmallow roasts, and more. This event provides the Charleston area with the closest thing the city will ever get to a winter wonderland.

The cost is $12 per car and additional events cost extra. Entry is free with eight Greenbax. Contact (843) 795-4386 for more information.





Bob Hart Author

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