Ready or not ... the holidays have arrived. Here, a sampling of upcoming events this season.
“THE NUTCRACKER”: 3 p.m. Sunday at The Township Auditorium, 1703 Taylor St. Ann Brodie’s Carolina Ballet production will feature a company of more than 100 performers with full orchestra and chorus. Doors open one hour before each performance. Sunday’s tickets are $12.50, $15.50 and $20.50; age 6 and younger free, but they must have a ticket, available at the box office only. (803) 576-2356; http://ticketmaster.com
48th ANNUAL GOVERNOR’S CAROLIGHTING: 6:30 p.m. Monday on the north steps of the State House (Gervais Street side). Musical prelude followed by the program at 7 p.m. Sponsored by the Columbia Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau, Columbia Garden Club and the Garden Club of South Carolina. WYFF-4 anchor Nigel Robertson will serve as emcee.
SUSTAINABLE HOLIDAY CELEBRATION: 4:30-8:30 p.m. Monday at 701 Whaley. Unique artisan gifts in all price ranges, free food tastings by Whole Foods, Rosewood Market, Spotted Salamander, Oak Table and Tazza Kitchen. Cash bar by The Whig. $5 donation at the door supports programs that educate, advocate and celebrate balanced solutions for the community. (803) 381-8747; http://sustainablemidlands.org
SPRINGDALE CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTING CEREMONY: 6 p.m. Monday at 3022 Platt Springs Road. Performance by the Springdale Elementary School Choir, hot cocoa and treats; free. Bring your own seating.
TREE AND MENORAH LIGHTING CEREMONY: 5 p.m. Wednesday in front of the Post Headquarters building at Fort Jackson. Maj. Gen. Bryan Becker, Fort Jackson commanding general, will light the tree, the 282nd Army Band will provide music for the choir and an audience sing-along and Santa will arrive in a fire truck.
A STARRY NIGHT: 4-8 p.m. Thursday in Five Points. Family-friendly event will feature carriage rides 6-8 p.m., hot chocolate and holiday treats at the fountain, DJ, dance and choral groups, Salvation Army toy drive and a visit with Santa. Stores will be open for holiday shopping. http://fivepointscolumbia.com/event/astarrynight
CAYCE TREE LIGHTING CEREMONY: 6 p.m. Thursday at City Hall, 1800 12th St. Sponsored by the Woman’s Club of Cayce, proceeds from the sale of lights are used to fund the club’s scholarship program. They’re also holding a food drive, accepting canned goods and non-perishables; a reception will follow. The Lights of Cayce at City Hall will be on through Dec. 31 and some Cayce neighborhoods will line their streets with lighted trees and decorations, making for a ride through a fantasy winter wonderland. For information on the participating neighborhoods, call (803) 739-5385.
WEST COLUMBIA CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTING: 6:30 p.m. Friday at City Hall, 200 N. 12th St. Performances by the Northside Middle School mass choir and USC’s Carolina Alive. Joe Pinner will serve as master of ceremonies, the Christmas message will be delivered by the Rev. Shane Phillips and the Rev. Kenneth Taylor will deliver the invocation and closing prayer. Winners of the essay contest, “What Christmas Means to Me” will read their essays. Following the program, a reception will be held in the New Brookland room at City Hall. http://www.westcolumbiasc.gov
CAROLS ALONG THE RIVERWALK: 6:30 p.m. Friday at the Riverwalk Pavilion, N Avenue entrance. Area church choirs and local musicians will be located along the first half-mile of the Cayce Riverwalk, which will be decorated with luminaria; don’t forget to try the hot apple cider.
“GOD’S GREATEST GIFT, JESUS CHRIST”: Drive-through Nativity, 7-9 p.m. Dec. 5-7 at Pine Grove Baptist Church, 836 Pine Grove Road, Lugoff. Free event will feature live scenes with actors and animals; no buses due to limited space. (803) 438-2025
LEXINGTON COUNTY CHORAL SOCIETY’S MISTLETOE: Christmas concert, 7:30 p.m. Friday and Dec. 6 at Saxe Gotha Presbyterian Church, 5503 Sunset Blvd., Lexington. Guest performers will be the Children’s Choir from Saluda River Academy for the Arts. Tickets are $20; ages 65 and older, $15; students, $5. http://lexcochoralsoc.org
“THE NUTCRACKER”: Columbia Classical Ballet at the Koger Center for the Arts, 1051 Greene St. Performances are 7:30 p.m. Friday; 3 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 6; and 3 p.m. Dec. 7. Tickets are $5-$32. (803) 251-2222; http://capitoltickets.com
HOLIDAY LIGHTS ON THE RIVER: 6-10 p.m. nightly through Dec. 31 at Saluda Shoals Park, 5605 Bush River Road. Midlands’ largest drive-through light show features the Dazzling Dancing Forest, animated scenes, Wetland Wonderland Walking Trail, Winter Wonder Ride downhill tubing, Santa’s Claus’et Gift Shop and more. Admission is $15 per car, $25 per 15-passenger van and $40 per bus. (803) 772-3903; http://icrc.net
HISTORIC COLUMBIA HOLIDAY TOURS: Through Jan. 4 at the Historic Columbia homes (Robert Mills House, Hampton-Preston Mansion and the Mann-Simons Site). Guides will provide stories of holidays past in Columbia and discuss how families decorated and entertained during the 19th and early 20th centuries. $8; youth, $5; Historic Columbia members and age 5 and younger, free). The houses are open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays (last tour starts at 3 p.m.) and 1-5 p.m. Sundays (last tour starts at 4 p.m.). Closed Mondays and major holidays (Christmas and New Year’s Day). (803) 252-8842; http://historiccolumbia.org
LIGHTS BEFORE CHRISTMAS: 5-9 p.m. through Dec. 30 (except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day) at Riverbanks Zoo and Garden, 500 Wildlife Parkway. Music in Motion lights spectacular, Jingle Bell bonfire, nightly snowfall and you can visit with Santa from 6-9 p.m. through Dec. 23. Some of the zoo’s indoor exhibits will remain open – Gorilla Base Camp, Koala Knockabout and Riverbanks Farm. Tickets are $10, ages 2-12, $8. Riverbanks members are eligible to receive one free visit with their current membership card and picture ID; guest passes are not accepted. To avoid long lines, purchase your tickets in advance online at https://etickets.riverbanks.org/eTickets/ LightsBeforeChristmas/tabid/161/ Default.aspx