HISTORIC COLUMBIA HOLIDAY HOUSE TOURS: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays and 1-5 p.m. Sundays through Jan. 5. Houses will be decorated in a variety of holiday decorations and traditions. Guides will provide stories of holidays past and how families decorated and entertained in the early 19th and 20th centuries. $8; youth, $5; HC members, free. Tickets may be purchased from the Gift Shop at Robert Mills, 1616 Blanding St. (803) 252-1770, ext. 23
HOLIDAY LIGHTS ON THE RIVER: 6-10 p.m. through Dec. 31 at Saluda Shoals Park, 5605 Bush River Road. Traditional favorites of the holiday drive-through include the Dazzling Dancing Forest, the Good Sports area, Stars and Stripes, a tribute to the armed forces and the Twelve Days of Christmas in lights. Check out the Wetland Wonderland Walking Trail along the boardwalk with the addition of a laser light show. Nights of Wonder, Friday through Dec. 23, will feature the Red-Nose Express Hayride, the Saluda Shoals Choo-Choo, Winter Wonder Ride (downhill tubing), craft activity and a visit with Santa. Admission is $15 per car; $25 per 15-passenger van and $40 per bus. (803) 772-3903; www.icrc.net
FANTASY OF LIGHTS: Through Dec. 31 at Swan Lake Iris Gardens, 822 W. Liberty St., Sumter. More than a million lights, 150 lighted figures and the Floating Christmas Tree.
COUNTRY CHRISTMAS: Through Dec. 31 at 434 Fairfax Road, 10 miles west of Saluda (off U.S. 178). Free walk-through lights display featuring floats, wood art, miniature Christmas village, hot chocolate and treats. Open 6-9 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays; 6-10 p.m. Fridays-Sundays. Santa will visit on Fridays and Saturdays (schedule permitting). Buses welcome; driveway and roadside parking available. Power donations will be accepted. (864) 445-0009
CHRISTMAS ON THE CONGAREE: Lighted trees display, 5-10 p.m. through Dec. 31 at Coble Plaza at Riverfront Park, 211 Gervais St., behind EdVenture Children’s Museum. Free. Sponsored by the Columbia Parks and Recreation Foundation and the City of Columbia Parks and Recreation. (803) 546-1482
WEDNESDAYS IN ADVENT: 6 p.m. Wednesday and Dec. 18 at St. Martin’s-in-the-Fields Episcopal Church, 5220 Clemson Ave., Forest Acres. Choral Evensong offered by the church choir. www.stmartinsinthefields.com
CHRISTMAS AT KENSINGTON MANSION: 9:30, 11 a.m.; 1, 2:30 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays through Jan. 11 at 4101 McCords Ferry Road, Eastover. Experience the smells and sounds of a 19th century Christmas via guided tours. $7; active duty military and age 60 and older, $6; ages 6-12, $5; children younger than 6 are free. Special programs on Wednesday and Dec. 18 for students, free admission. (803) 353-0456; www.kensingtonmansion.org
TRAIN RIDES WITH SANTA: 9:30, 11:30 a.m. and 1:30, 3:30 p.m. Saturday at the S.C. Railroad Museum, 110 Industrial Park Drive, Winnsboro. Scenic 1-hour ride on the Rockton Rion & Western. Have your picture taken with Santa Claus; first class seats, $20 for age 3 and older, seating at tables for four and a light snack; coach, $12 for age 12 and older; age 2 and younger, free if seated on an adult ticketholder’s lap. Twilight Santa Express, 5:30 p.m. Saturday; photos with Santa, hot chcolate and cookies in the dining car, Christmas story in the passenger coach; all tickets $20. (803) 712-4135; www.scrm.org
CARILLON CAROLERS: 3-6 p.m. Friday; 1-4 p.m. Saturday and Dec. 18, 19, 20, 22; 2-5 p.m. Dec. 21 and 23. Free strolling performances at Columbiana Center, 100 Columbiana Circle. www.carilloncarolers.com
“YES, VIRGINIA — THE MUSICAL”: 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday; 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday at On Stage Performance Center, 680 Cherokee Lane, West Columbia. Tickets are $16; seniors, students and military, $14; youth, $12. (877) 238-5596; www.onstagesc.com
“A CHRISTMAS CAROL”: Through Dec. 21 at Trustus Theatre, 520 Lady St. Performances of the new adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic story will be 3 p.m. Sunday; 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and 2 p.m. Saturday and Dec. 21. $20; students, $15. (803) 254-9732; www.trustus.org
SANDHILL HOLIDAY MARKET: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Thursday at the Clemson University Sandhill Research and Education Center, 900 Clemson Road (across from Village at Sandhill). Vendors will offer fresh foods, produce, crafts, jewelry, baked goods and a visit from Santa.
SANDLAPPER SINGERS’ “O HOLY NIGHT”: 7:30 p.m. Thursday at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, 3600 Devine St.; 7:30 p.m. Dec. 13 at Seven Oaks Presbyterian Church, 530 St. Andrews Road. Holiday program will reflect the diversity of cultural heritage as it is reflected in the seasonal music of our citizens. Highlights will include the Young Sandlapper Singers, with string quartet and harp. Tickets are $5-$15 and a reception will follow. www.sandlappersingers.org
SINGING CHRISTMAS TREE: 7 p.m. Friday; 4 and 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Shandon Baptist Church, 5250 Forest Drive. Community tradition will feature a 30-ft. tree with 55,000 lights, 130 singers accompanied by a 50-member orchestra and a dramatic presentation of the Christmas story accentuated by dance ensembles. Free, but tickets are required; available at www.christmasatshandon.com
COLUMBIA CHRISTMAS PAGEANT: 7 p.m. Friday, 2 and 5 p.m. Saturday and 4 p.m. Sunday at First Baptist Church, Columbia, 1306 Hampton St. A cast of 400 children and adults, including the First Baptist 200-voice choir and full orchestra will feature popular Christmas favorites, drama, dancing, elaborate costuming and sets, indoor snow, angels and a celebration of the birth of Christ with religious music. Free parking, ushers will assist any handicapped or disabled person and there will be a special section for the deaf and hearing impaired. Free, but you must have a ticket to enter. Call (803) 217-3250 for ticket information or visit www.columbiachristmaspageant.com
“DISNEY’S CINDERELLA KIDS”: 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Town Theatre, 1012 Sumter St. Saturday performance will feature a performance by the Greater Columbia Children’s Choir; Town Theatre’s musical theatre dancers will present the Proud Townie Christmas Spectacular on Sunday. $10 (includes free pictures with Santa). (803) 799-2510; www.towntheatre.com
SANTA’S GINGERBREAD JAMBOREE: 9-11 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Saturday and Dec. 21 at EdVenture Children’s Museum, 211 Gervais St. Event for children will feature photos with Santa, gingerbread cookie decorating, story time with Frosty the Snowman, face painting, holiday arts and crafts and the museum’s Snowville exhibit. Pre-registration is required. Tickets are $18; EdVenture membership discount is available at registration. Tickets include general admission to EdVenture. (803) 779-3100; www.edventure.org
SANTA’S HOTLINE: Let jolly old Saint Nick personally call your little ones ages 3-8 the week of Dec. 16-21. Registration forms are available at Crooked Creek Park, 1098 Old Lexington Highway, Chapin. Forms must be returned by Sunday; local calls only.
ELGIN LIGHTS: Lights, trains and tractor displays, 6-9 p.m. Sunday through Dec. 24 at 2433 Charlie Horse Circle, Elgin. More than 35,000 lights, three buildings of toys, antiques, model trains, tractors, motorcycles, hayrides, choirs. Free, but all donations will benefit Camp Kemo in memory of Cole Sawyer. www.elginlights.com
CANDLELIGHT TOURS & CARRIAGE RIDES: 5:30 p.m. Dec. 20 at the Historic Columbia houses. Guided candlelight tours, musical entertainment and children’s activities. House tours are $8; $5 for youth, free for HC members. Carriage rides through the Robert Mills historic district are $5 per person. (803) 252-1770, ext. 23
BREAKFAST WITH SANTA: 8 a.m. Dec. 21 at the Robert Mills Carriage House, 1616 Blanding St. Continental breakfast with seasonal music, followed by a tour through the Hampton-Preston Mansion, see a Victorian Christmas tree and make a holiday craft. Don’t forget to get a picture with Historic Columbia’s Victorian Santa Claus. Admission is $12; ages 4-12, $3; age 3 and younger, free. HC member adults, $10; HC member youth, $2. (803) 252-1770, ext. 23
CANDY CANE HUNT: 3:30-4 p.m. Dec. 21 at the Crooked Creek Park Disc Golf Trail. Santa and his elves will be hiding candy canes along the trail for kids ages 2-8 to find. Children should bring a basket or bag to hold the canes. Prize candy canes will be hidden along the trail as well; $2. Crooked Creek Park is at 1098 Old Lexington Highway, Chapin.
WINTER FEST: Dec. 21-23, 26-31 and Jan. 1-4 at the State Museum, 301 Gervais St. Holiday celebration will feature a Polar Express party, daily movie screenings, snow Day crafts and snacks, musical performances, Star Lab planetarium shows, seasonal and nature crafts and more. Included with museum general admission or membership (with the exception of the Polar Express party). (803) 898-4921