Glowing, sparkling, cheerful Christmas trees are such a big part of the holiday season.
People decorate every way, from tacky chic to designer glamour. Some sparkle with white lights, and some glisten with blinking, colorful lights.
Regardless of the theme, trees are a major way to celebrate Christmas, and many people have created traditions around them.
Two popular traditions: cutting down a Christmas tree at a local farm, and attending tree lighting ceremonies.
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“There are families who have been coming here since the 1980s,” said Mary Wessinger of Old Barn Christmas Tree Farm in Chapin. “Parents started bringing their kids, and now those kids are bringing their kids. We even have some grandkids.
“It’s a family tradition.”
Taking the family to community tree lighting ceremonies is another way to embody the season. Perhaps the biggest of those in the Palmetto State is the Governor’s Carolighting. This year is the 50th annual ceremony.
“Each year, Michael, Rena, Nalin and I look forward to this special night when we can invite family and friends from every part of South Carolina to celebrate the holiday season,” Gov. Nikki Haley said in a statement. This year’s Carolighting is Thursday, Dec. 1.
Most communities around Columbia have ceremonies as well.
Cayce’s tree lighting ceremony kicks off three days of community holiday events.
“Cayce is always a wonderful place to be but especially during the holiday season when so many volunteers help to make the season bright,” said Cayce mayor Elise Partin. “We look forward to seeing residents and business owners to add to the cheer, joy and festivities.”
Here are some places to start some of your own holiday memories for 2016.
For many people, meandering through a tree farm looking for the perfect Christmas tree is as much of the tradition as hanging tinsel and favorite ornaments.
There are several tree farms in Lexington and Richland counties. Most offer free shaking service, baling and will tie it to your car. Most also have saws, and workers available to cut the tree if you can’t. Call the farm before you go to verify hours, costs and services.
Bear Creek Tree Farm: Also poinsettias, wreaths, garlands, Thanksgiving cactus. 564 Amicks Ferry Road, Chapin. (803) 345-5607
Browns Christmas Tree Farm: 430 Pat Road, Lexington. (803) 622-0686, (803) 622-5245, firstname.lastname@example.org
Fox Tree Farm and Nursery: 133 Virginia Pine Lane, Lexington. (803) 356-4052
Hollow Creek Tree Farm: Christmas wreaths, garlands, hay rides, free hot coffee, free hot chocolate. 228 Windmill Road, Gilbert. (803) 892-3662, RealTreesMakeScents@gmail.com
Old Barn Christmas Tree Farm: Old Lexington Highway, Chapin. (803) 345-9119, (803) 345-5607
Price’s Tree Farm: Fresh, handmade wreaths, a variety of bows, great crafts, and a Christmas cabin to visit. 228 Maple Road, Lexington. (803) 356-4005
Taylor’s Christmas Tree Farm: 1129 Windy Road, Gilbert. (803) 892-3311, email@example.com
Old Congaree Run Tree Farm: Free hayrides. Lower Richland (Old Congaree Run). (803) 787-2783
Many local communities kick off the holiday season with a tree lighting ceremony. Some are isolated events, and others part of a holiday festival.
Most include music and hot chocolate. Here are a few:
The 50th annual Governor’s Carolighting: The biggest of these events in the area is this one, held on the north steps of the State House. Entertainment leading up to the lighting of the State Christmas tree will include performances from a variety of choirs and musical talent across the state. Festivities will begin at 6 p.m. and the program at 7 on Thursday, Dec. 1. Free
Sweet Seasons: Forest Acres’ tree lighting is a community celebration on the rooftop of Richland Mall. Live music, food and drink vendors, drawings for door prizes and an appearance from Santa helps celebrate the lighting of the community’s holiday decorations. 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 1. Free
Cayce treelighting: The annual tree lighting in this Lexington County town kicks off the Christmas in Cayce celebration. 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 1, Cayce Town Hall.
Town of Lexington Snowball Festival: Lexington kicks off the three-day Snowball Festival with its tree lighting at Lexington Square Park. There will be s’mores and hot chocolate. Festivities begin at 6 p.m., with the tree lighting at 8.