Charleston and North Charleston Christmas parades and festivals and events, oh my

Image by Ken Hawkins/TheDigitel Christmas lights in Marion Square are set to be lit on December 4.

Now that your belly has been stuffed with turkey and your toes trampled by deal seekers it's officially the Christmas season and there's more than a few events marking the occasion. 

We've split this one into two parts, Charleston and North Charleston.

Christmas in North Charleston

Breakfast with Santa on  Saturday, December 4 from 8 to 10 a.m. at Felix C. Davis Community Center (4800 Park Circle). Breakfast with Santa commences the Christmas Festival and gives area children the opportunity to visit with Mr. and Mrs. Claus. A hearty meal is provided. Tickets can be purchased Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm at the Felix C. Davis Community Center for $4.00 per person. To purchase tickets, contact the North Charleston Parks & Recreation Department at (843) 745-1028 or visit the Felix C. Davis Community Center.

Christmas Festival on Sunday, December 5 from 4 p.m. to 9 around Park Circle with the Christmas Parade beginning at 6. The Christmas Festival includes a Holiday Market with children activities craft vendors, food vendors, and live musical performances on three stages. The Christmas Parade begins at the corner of Montague and Mixson Avenues, proceeds down Montague, around Park Circle, and concludes at Armory Park. Immediately following the Christmas Parade, Mayor R. Keith Summey lights the City’s Christmas tree located outside the front entrance of the Felix C. Davis Community Center.

3:00 pm - Police will close traffic circle to vehicular traffic
4:00 - 5:30 pm - Children activities (jump castles, petting zoo, carriage rides)
4:00 - 6:00 pm - Performances prior to parade
6:00 - 7:00 pm - Parade / Mayor’s Tree Lighting
7:00 - 9:00 pm - Performances on all stages
9:00 pm - Road opens for traffic

Christmas in the City of Charleston 

For the month of December, the Marion Square will be lighted and decorated for the holidays, including the 60-foot Holiday Tree of Lights, a Chanukah Menorah and a Kwanzaa Kinari. 

"Holiday Magic" festivities officially kick off in Charleston on Saturday, December 4, during the 24th Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony. Santa Claus and many special guests will help light the official City of Charleston Tree, a 60-foot tree-of-lights in Marion Square.

The winners of the Annual Tree Decorating Contest, which will line the gravel paths of the square, will also be announced at the Tree Lighting Ceremony.    

24th Annual City of Charleston Tree Lighting Ceremony is on Saturday, December 4, at 4:30 until 6:30 p.m. Join the cast of holiday characters, including of course, Santa Claus himself in lighting the magnificent 60-foot Holiday Tree of Lights, the official City of Charleston Christmas tree in Marion Square.

30th Annual Holiday Parade of Boats on December 4 at the  Mt. Pleasant waterfront at 5 p.m. with viewing from the peninsula begins at 6:30 p.m. Get on board with a Lowcountry holiday tradition as this display of lighted and festive boats proceeds through the Charleston Harbor. View the procession along Charleston’s waterfront or decorate your own boat and join the parade. 

30th Annual Charleston Christmas Parade on December 5 from 2 to 5 p.m. This holiday tradition is better than ever as bands, floats, marchers and performers parade through downtown Charleston. The parade begins at the intersection of Calhoun and Meeting Streets, proceeds down King Street to Broad Street to Lockwood Blvd. Sponsored by the Tri-County Fire Chiefs Association. 

Chanukah in the Square on December 5 in Marion Square from 4 to 6 p.m. A festive party for everyone, featuring music, dancing, lighting of the nine-foot Menorah by Charleston’s Holocaust survivors, crafts and many treats, including latkes and other traditional Chanukah foods. Sponsored by Piggly Wiggly.

"Happy New Year, Charleston!" on December 31 in Marion Square and surrounding locations from 4 to 10:30 p.m. This high-energy arts celebration offers a non-alcoholic event featuring family-oriented concerts and presentations to mark the New Year in Charleston. More details later in the year.

The Holiday Farmers Market will run December 4 to 19 at Marion Square on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. You’ll find everything you need to deck the halls for the holidays and fill the pantry with baked goodies, all from local farmers and artisans, including natural wreaths, fresh greenery, special breads, cookies and fresh vegetables, as well as the best assortment of art, crafts and holiday gift items.

Holiday Entertainment and Visits with Santa will run December 5 to 19 in Marion Square on Fridays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Sunday, December 5: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.) Children’s choirs, bands and other entertainment will perform for audiences at Marion Square. Bring your Christmas wish lists to the North Pole mailbox and bring your camera for pictures with Santa.

Don't forget if you're planning to visit downtown to do some shopping there's a free two-hour parking voucher.