Consider a day trip in South Carolina to enjoy these holiday traditions:
Edisto Island: The 19th annual Christmas parade, "Christmas in Paradise," is set for 2 p.m. Dec. 12. Sponsored by the Edisto Chamber of Commerce, it begins at the 400 Block of Palmetto Boulevard on Edisto Beach and ends at the Pavilion.
After the on-land parade, find a spot along Big Bay Creek to take in the annual boat parade, which starts at 5 p.m. The boat parade features a festive lineup of boats decorated with lights and a holiday theme. Stay later for the oyster roast, entertainment and shrimp boil.
Details: (888) 333-2781 or www.edistochamber.com
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Charleston: Historic Edmondston-Alston House will be dressed for the holidays much as it was in the 1860s. Take the candlelight tour as historians in period clothing tell the story of the last opulent Christmas before the start of the Civil War. Enjoy holiday carols, spirituals and Gullah songs in the courtyard.
The Edmondston-Alston House is at 21 East Battery. Tours are Fridays, Dec. 4 and 11, and continuous from 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Details: (843) 722-7171
Murrells Inlet: Brookgreen Gardens lights up with festive displays, and paths are marked with candles at The Nights of a Thousand Candles on Fridays and Saturdays beginning Friday. (843) 235-6000.
Greenville: The Poinsettia Christmas Parade along Main Street Saturday is an old-fashioned holiday good time. And it's all for a good cause. The Blue Star Mothers collect donations for troops serving our country.
Details: (864) 467-6667 or greenvillesc.gov
Hilton Head Island: Dove Street's annual drive-through Christmas extravaganza is a little like entering a holiday twilight zone. For a few minutes, it's easy to forget you're just steps from the beach and that it's not really that cold outside. Thousands of lights weave beside and above you as houses built on postage stamp-sized lots present one cohesive display of Hilton Head Island's holiday spirit.
This year's festival is Friday-Saturday and Dec. 11-26 on the Dove Street area of North Forest Beach. Proceeds benefit the Deep Well Project,
Details: (843) 785-2849 or dovestreetlights.com
Sumter: Did you know Joel Roberts Poinsett, for whom the Poinsettia is named, is buried in Sumter County? The avid botanist, thus, also is the namesake of the Sumter Poinsettia Festival, which features stage performances, home tours, a drive-through Nativity and the Swan Lake Fantasy of Lights.
Many festival activities are on Fridays and Saturdays, but the free lights show at Swan Lake Iris Gardens is open nightly through New Year's Eve, dusk until 9 p.m. (10 p.m. on weekends).
Orangeburg: The Children's Garden Christmas lights up Edisto Memorial Garden through New Year's Day. You can stay in your vehicle for the one-mile drive through the lights, or you can get out and take the kids along a walk, which features 14 more displays.
Wellford: Hollywild Animal Park turns on the lights for its Holiday Lights Safari Benefit through Jan. 2. Visitors drive through nearly 100 acres of twinkling lights, a live Nativity and live animals.
The lights display at the park near Spartanburg is open 6-9 nightly, with extended hours on weekends.
Details: (864) 472-2038 or hollywild.com