Holiday happenings: 15+ parades and tree lightings in Charleston this December

If you make one more "It'll be lit" joke...

Everyone knows that you can’t really get into the Christmas spirit without a lit tree gracing every street corner — and maybe even parading down every street corner.

Attend a local tree lighting ceremony or parade for free hot drinks, fun family-friendly activities, and a whole lotta Christmas carols.

Dec. 1-4

Charleston Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting Ceremony
Sun. Dec. 1, 3-6:30 p.m.

Head downtown for the annual Xmas parade, starting on Broad Street at 3 p.m. The tree lighting ceremony starts in Marion Square immediately after. The Charleston Jazz Orchestra kicks off the tree lighting with classic Christmas favorites. Following a number of musical performances, the officially-recognized City of Charleston Christmas tree will be lit up.

Tree Lighting at Folly River Park
Sun. Dec. 1, 7-8 p.m.

The 30th annual tree lighting at Folly River Park kicks off at 7 p.m.

Summerville Christmas Tree Lighting
Tues. Dec. 3 at 6:15 p.m.

This tree lighting event is being sponsored by the Flowertown Garden Club and Summerville Dream group and takes place on Summerville’s Main Street.

Holiday Tree Lighting
Wed. Dec. 4, 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Joint Base Charleston’s tree lighting ceremony also includes Santa’s parade, leaving from the Hunt Community Centre at 5 p.m. on a fire truck. Following the parade different activities will be held such as performances from a youth choir, a letter-writing station, and carol singing.

Dec. 5-8

Daniel Island Night Market Christmas Tree Lighting
Thurs. Dec. 5, 5:30-8:30 p.m.

This poppin’ event will be set to the sounds of a jazz band and carolers as a fire juggling elf, food trucks, and holiday vendors provide a plentiful amount of entertainment. Gifts for the MUSC Children’s Hospital and Lowcountry Orphan Relief will be collected at the event, attendees are encouraged to donate unwrapped presents.

James Island Tree Lighting
Thurs. Dec. 5, 7-9 p.m.

The Town of James Island presents their annual tree lighting. Enjoy hot chocolate, s’mores, a visit from Santa, and a performance from the JICHS Jazz Choir. Bring new, unwrapped toys to donate to Sea Island Habitat for Humanity.

Light the Lake
Fri. Dec. 6, 5-7:30 p.m.
Bring the whole family out to light Colonial Lake at this special evening of holiday festivities. Enjoy cookie decorating, a festive photo booth, and letters to Santa at a special station. There will be food trucks onsite and a carriage ready to be filled with toys for tots.

Hanahan Christmas Tree Lighting
& Parade
Fri. Dec. 6, 6-11 p.m.

Head to the Hanahan Amphitheater for a tree lighting followed by a movie in the park. Local choir and band performances will be featured.

Sat. Dec. 7, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.
The day after the Hanahan tree lighting, The Hanahan Exchange Club is hosting a Christmas Parade that will start at Hanahan High School.

North Charleston Christmas Tree Lighting & Parade
Fri. Dec. 6, 6-7 p.m.

Come see the 40 foot Christmas tree be lit by Mayor Summey. Free hot chocolate and cider will be given out at the lighting and there will be a performance by the Royal Missionary Baptist Church Sunbeam Choir.

Sat. Dec. 7, 4-8 p.m.
This festive parade will begin at the corner of East Montague and Mixson Avenue and travel around Park Circle before circling back. The parade will be followed by a Christmas festival that is free to attend featuring marshmallow roasting, a petting zoo, an artist market, and more. Parking is available.

Moncks Corner Tree Lighting & Parade
Fri. Dec. 6, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

This 26th annual lighting taking place at the Market Pavilion in Moncks Corner. Celebrate the season with a Holiday Fair that will be taking place that night at the Regional Recreation Complex as well.
418 E Main Street, Moncks Corner.

Sat. Dec. 7, 6 p.m.
This parade will be starting along Main Street before traveling through Downtown Moncks Corner.

Holiday Street Festival
Sat. Dec. 7, 2-7 p.m.

Isle of Palms’ Front Beach will have live music, carnival rides, food and craft vendors, and a tree lighting at 5:30 p.m.

Summerville Christmas Parade
Sun. Dec. 8 at 2 p.m.

The 2019 parade theme is “All Aboard,” taking everyone to wherever “your imagination can take you.” Check out the parade map online.

Mt. Pleasant Christmas Light Parade
Sun. Dec. 8, 5:30-8 p.m.

The Mt. Pleasant Recreation Department is holding their 24th annual parade, with a fireworks show kicking things off. The parade starts on Mill St. and end at the intersection of Patriots Point Rd and W. Coleman Blvd.

Dec. 13-15

Holiday Parade of Boats
Sat. Dec. 14 in the evening

View thousands of boats beaming in festive decor light up the Charleston Harbor for this one-of-a-kind event. Certain viewing locations for the parade charge, visit their page for a list of locations and route information.

Folly Beach Christmas Parade
Sat. Dec. 14, 1 p.m.

Santa leads the march down Center Street for this beachside parade. Following the parade head to Folly River Park to peruse locally made goods at an arts and crafts show. Enjoy hot chocolate, roasted marshmallows, and visits from Santa and Mrs. Claus. 

Support the Charleston City Paper

We’ve been covering Charleston since 1997 and plan to be here with the latest and Best of Charleston for many years to come. In a time where local journalism is struggling, the City Paper is investing in the future of Charleston as a place where diverse, engaging views can flourish. We can't do it without our readers. If you'd like to support local, independent journalism:



Leepson: Charleston artists ‘seriously not thriving’ in pandemic

Cara Leepson

When most people think of the art scene in Charleston, they think of Lowcountry landscapes, artists whose online releases sell out instantly and the galleries in the historic corridor. While these landscapes, artists, and galleries are all certainly representative of the art scene in the Holy City, they offer only a narrow glimpse of the […]


Leepson: Charleston artists ‘seriously not thriving’ in pandemic

When most people think of the art scene in Charleston, they think of Lowcountry landscapes, artists whose online releases sell out instantly and the galleries in the historic corridor. While these landscapes, artists, and galleries are all certainly representative of the art scene in the Holy City, they offer only a narrow glimpse of the […]

Before You Go: DHEC launches major testing initiative in Columbia; USPS delays are hurting small businesses

SCDHEC reported 740 cases of coronavirus this Thursday, with 27 additional confirmed deaths. The percent-positive rate dropped to 11.8 percent.

Sperry suspends sponsorship of Charleston Race Week over flag with Confederate ‘motif’

The shoe company Sperry has suspended its sponsorship of the annual Charleston Race Week over a Confederate flag “motif” on the flag of the sailing event’s parent group. The leaders of Race Week and Charleston Ocean Racing Association (CORA), which runs the event, say they will work with association members and Sperry to reach a […]

Briggman: I could have been a kid in that Market Street altercation

As a Black male from Pelion — a small South Carolina town with a 97 percent white population — I began working at 15 to assist with family household expenses. Wednesday evening, when I saw a video of Charleston’s beloved Quintin Washington in an altercation, I saw someone who could have been me at that […]