Get ready to gather, give thanks, spread joy, be merry and everything in between, because the most wonderful time of the year is *officially* here. We have the rundown on all the holiday cheer you can get your hands on between now and New Year’s Eve. So take a look, plan ahead and prepare to get downright jolly in Columbia SC this holiday season. 

Start the Season

Dive right in district by district over the next few weeks as different neighborhoods kick things off with their own unique celebrations. First, Devine Night Out offers specials and shopping along Devine Street, Vista Lights promises food, drinks, live entertainment and an annual tree lighting, the inaugural Light Up NOMA event complete with a cookie crawl(!) and tree lighting is sure to delight, A Starry Night invites you to mix and mingle as the shops stay open late in Five Points, and Christmas at the Mill 2019 in Lexington showcases vendors and crafters on Small Business Saturday and pictures with Santa for the kids. 


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Razzle Dazzle

Let the glitz of light displays, tree lightings and parades get you into the holiday spirit. Lights Before Christmas at Riverbanks Zoo and Garden, Holiday Lights on the River at Saluda Shoals Park and the brand-new Carolina Lights at the South Carolina State Fairgrounds go all out with millions of twinkling lights arranged into festive images and scenes. 

Head to Cayce and West Columbia as the two cities work together on the annual Holiday Parade of Lights that illuminates the night. If it’s a daytime parade you seek, look no further than the Carolina Carillon Holiday Parade or the Town of Lexington’s Snowball Festival Christmas Parade. 

Stick around Lexington for the rest of the weekend as the Snowball Festival also includes a Christmas Tree Lighting & Carnival in the Square. You won’t want to miss the lighting of the official State Christmas Tree, so congregate at the South Carolina State House for a program full of live musical entertainment, a visit from Santa and more at the 53rd Annual Governor’s Carolighting. 


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Holiday Happenings

Fill your days with as many community celebrations as you can. 

Make good use of your tacky sweater this season at Tin Roof’s 2nd Annual Ugly Sweater Crawl, Ugly Sweater Beer Yoga at Columbia Craft and Tacos, Tequila & Tacky Sweaters. 

Tired of turkey? Mix it up at Swamp Cabbage for the 2nd Annual After Thanksgiving Crabfest.

Why not learn a little something about Christmases past? Join Historic Columbia for Historic Holiday Tours  and Candlelight Tours & Carriage Rides or pop by Cayce Historical Museum for a Christmas Traditions Open House. Or educate yourself on the season itself with Nature of Winter with Rudy Mancke. 

Make new family memories during Historic Columbia’s Breakfast with Santa or bring the kids to EdVenture for Santa’s Holiday Village Grand Opening or The Night Before Christmas. 

Plan for a night out! Go full-on glam at Festival of Trees or keep it casual during First Thursday on Main, featuring a special nighttime holiday market by Soda City Market


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Shows and Specials

Sing along with your favorite carols, revisit your favorite holiday movies and shows or see beloved classics reimagined in a new way at various venues around town. Take the kids to see Disney’s Frozen Jr. at Town Theatre, Columbia Children’s Theatre Presents Santa Claus The Musical at Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College, a screening of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer at Icehouse Amphitheater or the Polar Express 4D Experience at the South Carolina State Museum.

Get swept up in the March of the Toy Soldiers and the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy over and over again with Ann Brodie’s Carolina Ballet: The Nutcracker at Township Auditorium and Columbia City Ballet Presents The Nutcracker at Koger Center for the Arts.

Give the gift of music this season and enjoy Thanksgiving Eve Bash with AJ Lang & Friends and DJ Payne, Patrick Davis & His Midnight Choir, Jim Brickman – A Christmas Celebration 2019, Jingle Bell Jazz: Boogaloo Christmas!, SC Philharmonic Holiday POPS, Dysfunctional Family Christmas, Christmas Wonderland Holiday Spectacular or Mannheim Steamroller Christmas by Chip Davis.

Don’t miss a moment of Nickelodeon Theatre’s Holly Jolly Hollywood Series, featuring screenings of White Christmas, This Christmas, It’s a Wonderful Life, Friday After Next, Home Alone and Miracle on 34th Street.

Get in some pre-holiday laughs at The Mothers Sketchgiving Show, which promises silly, PG-13-rated sketches at Trustus Theatre.

Have you ever wondered what happened after the events of Pride and Prejudice took place? Well now you don’t have to! Pay a visit to Trustus Theatre to see a live production of Miss Bennet, Christmas at Pemberley.


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Gift Guide

Ditch the list and stumble upon something that speaks to you at the Craftsmen’s Christmas Classic Art & Craft Festival, Junior League Holiday Market, Holiday Art Sale, Sustainable Holiday Market, 35th Annual Jamil Christmas Craft Fair, 10th Annual Blythewood Artists Guild Holiday Market or the Town of Lexington Snowball Festival’s Christmas Craft Fair. 


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Exercise, But Make it Festive

Carve out some time to stay active and have fun doing it! The 15th Annual Turkey Day Run and Shannon Turkey Trot and Burn 5K will have you hungry for more Thanksgiving treats. Walk or run amongst the holiday lights at Saluda Shoals Park during the Sleigh Bell Stroll or Sleigh Bell Trot. Bundle up and show off your tackiest duds at the Ugly Sweater 5K or keep things brisk at the  Cold Winter’s Day 5K. 

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Happy New Year! Ring in 2020 with fireworks and a free concert featuring Salt N Peppa at Famously Hot New Year or with Gin and Jazz: A Swinging New Year’s Eve at Arcade Mall.  

(Be sure to check back in as additional New Year’s Eve celebrations are announced!)


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