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57 Columbia events to put you in the holiday spirit

VIDEO: Carolina Carillon Parade

Carolina Carillon Parade
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Carolina Carillon Parade

Columbia celebrates the yuletide season big, offering many activities that could easily fill each of the days between now and Christmas Day. Here are some of those activities.

Tree lightings and parades

1. BLYTHEWOOD CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTING: Hear local choirs and musicians, enjoy refreshments, and visit with St. Nick. 5 p.m. Nov. 26 at Blythewood Town Hall, 171 Langford Road, Blythewood.

2. GOVERNOR’S CAROLIGHTING: This event has been ushering in the Christmas season in Columbia for 51 years. Families gather on the S.C. State House grounds when the State House tree is lit for the first time of the season. Choirs and musicians from across the state perform and Gov. Henry McMaster will speak and then everyone will help with the countdown to light the tree. 6 p.m. Nov. 27 at the S.C. State House, 1100 Gervais St.

3. CAYCE TREE LIGHTING CEREMONY: Sponsored by the Woman’s Club of Cayce, this 40th annual event includes a community reception and is free. The Woman’s Club asks that you bring canned goods and nonperishable food for God’s Helping Hands. 6 p.m. Nov. 30 at Cayce City Hall, 1800 12th St., Cayce.

4. FORT JACKSON CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTING: The post will mark its official beginning of the holiday season as Maj. Gen. Pete Johnson, commanding officer of Fort Jackson, lights the tree. The 282nd Army Band will provide music for a choir and an audience sing-along. Santa will arrive in a fire truck. 4:30 p.m. Dec. 1 at Marion Avenue and Strom Thurmond Boulevard.

5. LEXINGTON CONCERT AND CARNIVAL IN THE SQUARE: As the Lexington Snowball Festival kicks off, enjoy s’mores and hot chocolate, plus a tree lighting at 8 p.m. 6-8 p.m. Dec. 1 at Lexington Square Park, East Main Street and South Lake Drive, Lexington.

6. WEST COLUMBIA TREE LIGHTING: Each year, West Columbia-area elementary schools hold a “What Christmas Means To Me” contest. The winners from each school are honored at the lighting and read their winning essays or poems. The program will include Christmas carols, greetings, and the lighting of the West Columbia Christmas Tree. 6:30 p.m. Dec. 1 at the West Columbia Municipal Complex, 200 12th St., West Columbia.

7. CAROLINA CARILLON PARADE: The 64th annual Carolina Carillon Holiday Parade, featuring “A Superhero’s Holiday” entries from all across the state of South Carolina, brings Santa to town each year. The parade will begin at Gervais and Bull streets and proceed west on Gervais. It will pass in front of the State House and continue into the Vista to Park Street. Expect South Carolina celebrities, high school marching bands, drill teams, local churches, dozens of beautiful floats, and of course, Santa Claus. 9:45 a.m. Dec. 2 in downtown Columbia. Free. www.carolinacarillon.com

8. LEXINGTON CHRISTMAS PARADE: The parade, presented by the town of Lexington and the Lexington Jaycees, closes the Lexington Snowball Festival. 3:30 p.m. along West Main Street, Lexington.

9. CHAPIN TREE LIGHTING: The town of Chapin’s annual Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony begins with a reception at 4 p.m. There will be holiday music, caroling, hot chocolate and cookies, and a reading of the holiday classic “Twas the Night before Christmas.” The town’s official Christmas tree will be lit at approximately 5:15 pm. 4 p.m. Dec. 3 at Chapin Town Hall, 157 NW Columbia Ave., Chapin. www.chapinsc.com

10. GREATER CAYCE-WEST COLUMBIA HOLIDAY PARADE OF LIGHTS: This nighttime parade is like no other, mostly because it’s at night. It begins at the Cayce Municipal Complex (1800 12th Street) and proceeds down 12th Street, ending at U.S. 1. 5:30 p.m. Dec. 9 in West Columbia. Free. www.cwcchamber.com/holiday-parade-of-lights.html

11. BLYTHEWOOD CHRISTMAS PARADE: The annual parade will go on rain or shine. Applications are due Dec. 1. 3 p.m. Dec. 10 along Oakhurst and Boney roads, Blythewood.

Shopping events

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The Governor’s Carolighting will be Monday, Nov. 27. Jeff Blake file photo

12. JUNIOR LEAGUE HOLIDAY MARKET: This annual holiday fundraiser for the Junior League of Columbia brings about 150 merchants from across the country to sell merchandise during a themed shopping extravaganza. The four-day shopping event includes Sundaes with Santa at 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Sunday. General admission tickets are $8 per person and include entry to all four days of the market during regular shopping hours. Children 12 and under are admitted free during regular shopping hours. Sundaes with Santa tickets are $8 per child. Children 12 months and under are admitted free. Tickets can be purchased online and at the door. 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Dec. 1-2; noon to 5 p.m. Dec. 3 in the Cantey and Goodman buildings at the South Carolina State Fairgrounds, 1200 Rosewood Drive. www.jlcolumbia.org/?nd=holiday_market_public

13. BLYTHEWOOD ARTISTS GUILD HOLIDAY MARKET: Purchase wares from members of the Blythewood Artists Guild. Noon to 8 p.m. Dec. 1 and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Dec. 2 next to the Blythewood IGA, 135 Blythewood Road, Blythewood.

14. A STARRY NIGHT: Five Points celebrates the season at its annual holiday event. Patrons can stroll through all of their favorite Five Points stores to enjoy sales and specials during a night full of holiday cheer. 4-8 p.m. Dec. 1 in Five Points. fivepointscolumbia.com

15. SANTA’S MARKET CRAFT SHOW: Enjoy the sights and delights of the holiday season at this annual event featuring unique gifts, charming decorations and one of a kind crafts. 8:30 a.m., Dec. 2 at Seven Oaks Park, 200 Leisure Lane. Admission is free. www.icrc.net

16. OLD McCASKILL’S FARM TRUNK SHOW: Enjoy concessions and shop from items including wool products, farm-fresh meats, homemade pies, baked goods, Becky’s Soaps, Pampered Chef, iron works, bird feeders, dog treats, etched glass, jewelry, Mary Kay, essential oils, Christmas decor, antler art, burlap decorations, Southern Sweet Cookies and Southern Charm Candle Co. 1-6 p.m. Dec. 3 at Old McCaskill’s Farm, 377 Cantey Lane, Rembert. www.oldmccaskillfarm.com

17. SUSTAINABLE HOLIDAY CELEBRATION: Celebrate “buy local” and “eat local” this holiday season. Join your friends to enjoy great food and wine all while shopping for exquisite gifts handcrafted by over 40 local artisans. Admission is $5 in honor of the celebration’s 10th anniversary. 4:30-8:30 p.m. Dec. 4 at 701 Whaley, 701 Whaley St. eventbrite.com

18. CRAFTY FEAST: A juried independent craft fair presents its ninth annual one-stop-shopping market for thousands of attendees. The event features nearly 100 artisans of handmade and repurposed goods and gifts from across the Southeast. Gifts available vary and may include hand-melded metal birdhouses, needle-felted fiber art, hand-sewn journals and notebooks, handcrafted dog treats and wood-carved jewelry. Admission is $3. Noon to 6 p.m. Dec. 10 at Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center, 1101 Lincoln St. www.craftyfeast.com

Music, drama and movies

19. CAROLS ALONG THE RIVERWALK: The sounds of Christmas can be heard throughout Cayce Riverwalk Park, where several area church choirs and local musicians will serenade visitors within the first half mile of the park. The Riverwalk will be lighted with luminaria and refreshments will be served free of charge. 6:30-8 p.m. Dec. 1 at the Cayce Riverwalk Pavilion. Park at Brookland-Cayce High School, 1300 State St., with free trolley rides to and from the Riverwalk entrance.

20. USC CONCERT CHOIR CHRISTMAS CONCERT: The university’s premier choral ensemble presents their final concert of the semester. The concert program features Morten Lauridsen’s “Mid-Winter Songs,” and J.S. Bach’s Motet, BWV 226 Der Geist hilt unsrer Schwachheit auf, in addition to canticles and carols for the Christmas season. Free. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 1 at First Presbyterian Church, 1314 Marion St. 7 p.m. Dec. 3 at Shandon United Methodist Church, 3407 Devine St.

21. ‘MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET: THE MUSICAL’: A holiday classic based on the movie of the same name, “Miracle on 34th Street” is the story of single mother Doris Walker, who doesn’t want her 6-year-old daughter Susan’s head filled with notions about Santa Claus. Their neighbor, Fred Gailey, tries to woo Doris by charming Susan and taking her to see Santa at Macy’s, where Doris works. Doris is not impressed, but when it turns out that the Macy’s Santa may, in fact, be the real Kris Kringle, a wave of love spreads across New York City that melts even the most cynical hearts. 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays Dec. 1-17 at Town Theatre, 1012 Sumter St. www.towntheatre.com/miracle-on-34th-street-the-musical

22. CHRISTMAS AT NEWBERRY OPERA HOUSE: The Newberry Opera House has several holiday performances scheduled, including: “Big Band Holiday with Wynton Marsalis on Dec. 1; “A Carolina Christmas” on Dec. 2; “Carol of the King,” on Dec. 8; “The Nutcracker” on Dec. 10 with a “Tea with the Sugar Plum Fairy” before; The Embers Christmas Show on Dec. 12; and The Platters Christmas Show on Dec. 15. 8 p.m. Dec. 1, 8, 12 and 15; 3 p.m. Dec. 2; 4 p.m. Dec. 10 at Newberry Opera House, 1201 McKibben St., Newberry. Ticket information: newberryoperahouse.com.

23. ‘A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE AT THE RICHLAND FASHION MALL’: Trustus Theatre’s resident sketch comedy and improv troupe’s original piece is about Columbia’s Richland Fashion Mall, which lies dormant during another holiday season when it should be bustling with shoppers and children jumping on Santa’s lap. In the play, this year is particularly hard, and the owner of the resident Christmas store is going to need a real miracle to keep her livelihood. Throw in visits from the owners of the glass figurine store next door (featuring Trustus Company member Gerald Floyd), uppity employees from the popular big chain book store down the way, and hijinks involving many other wild and lovable mallrats – let’s just say it’s beginning to look a lot like one crazy Christmas. 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, Dec. 1-14, Trustus Theatre, 520 Lady St. www.trustus.org/event/christmasmiracle

24. MOVIES IN THE PARK: As part of the Lexington Snowball Festival, watch “Frosty’s Winter Wonderland” (rated G) and “It’s a Wonderful Life” (rated PG), presented by the town of Lexington and Lexington County Recreation and Aging Commission. Movie starts at 5:30 p.m. 5-9 p.m. Dec. 2 at Icehouse Amphitheatre, 107 W. Main St., Lexington.

25. HOLIDAY MOVIES AT THE NICK: Nickelodeon will show four Christmas movies this holiday season, with a few extras. “Home Alone” gets the movies started on Dec. 4, with festivities including treats, a holiday sweater competition and trivia. Next is “Little Women” on Dec. 10, which includes baked goods inspired by “Little Women” beforehand. “It’s A Wonderful Life” will be shown on Dec. 17-18 and “Miracle on 34th Street” on Dec. 24, with holiday card making before. Get tickets online, or at the door if available. 7 p.m. Dec. 4, 2 p.m. Dec. 10, 2 p.m. Dec. 17, 7 p.m. Dec. 18, and 2 p.m. Dec. 24 at the Nickelodeon Theatre, 1607 Main St. www.nickelodeon.org

26. ‘THE BEST CHRISTMAS PAGEANT EVER’: See the outrageous shenanigans of the Herdman siblings, or “the worst kids in the history of the world.” The siblings take over the annual Christmas pageant in a hilarious yet heartwarming tale involving the Three Wise Men, a ham, scared shepherds, and six rowdy kids. Various times Fridays through Sundays, Dec. 8-17 at Village Square Theatre, 105 Caughman Ave., Lexington. www.villagequaretheatre.com

27. MARK RAPP’S JINGLE BELL JAZZ: Celebrated jazz trumpeter Mark Rapp and his quartet present a grooving, swinging, funky fun Christmas concert that will leave you toasty, warm and happy for the holidays. Rapp has prepared unique jazz arrangements of Christmas classics including: “Angels We Have Heard on High,” “Jolly Old St. Nicholas,” “O Come All Ye Faithful,” “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer,” “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” and “Last Christmas.” 7:30 p.m. Dec. 12 at Trustus Theatre, 520 Lady St. www.trustus.org/event/mark-rapps-jingle-bell-jazz-2

28. SOULFUL SOUNDS OF CHRISTMAS: Will Downing, with Avery Sunshine and Alex Bugnon, takes the stage with a mix of favorites from his Christmas album and hits like “Nothing Has Ever Felt Like This,” “A Million Ways,” and “Wishing on a Star.” 8 p.m. Dec. 15 at Township Auditorium, 1703 Taylor St. $51-$101. www.thetownship.org

29. COLUMBIA BAROQUE WINTER HOLIDAYS CELEBRATION: Soprano Serena Hill-LaRoche joins Columbia Baroque mezzo-soprano Brittnee Siemon for delightful duets and arias in a program featuring seasonal music of Handel, Telemann, Corelli and more. Sarah F. Williams presents “Concert Conversations” prior to the concert. $15 in advance; $20 at the door; students free with ID. 7 p.m. Dec. 19 at the University of South Carolina School of Music Recital Hall, 813 Assembly St. www.columbiabaroque.com.

30. BROADWAY IN COLUMBIA PRESENTS ‘A CHRISTMAS STORY’: Based on the 1983 movie, “A Christmas Story The Musical” was nominated for three 2013 Tony Awards including Best Musical. Set in 1940s Indiana, a young bespectacled Ralphie Parker schemes his way toward the holiday gift of his dreams: an official Red Ryder Carbine-Action 200-Shot Range Model Air Rifle. An infamous leg lamp, outrageous pink pajamas, a maniacal department store Santa, and a triple-dog dare to lick a freezing flagpole are just a few of the memorable moments of this story. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 19-20 at Koger Center for the Arts, 1051 Greene St. www.broadwayincolumbia.com

Nativity and religious events

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Members of the First Baptist Church perform during a past Columbia Christmas Pageant. Tracy Glantz file photo

31. LIVING CHRISTMAS STORY: For the 24th year, Union United Methodist Church will gift the community with its annual drive-through nativity scene. Drive through Bethlehem on the night Jesus was born and experience the sights and sounds of life as it might have been over 2,000 years ago. See folks mingling at the synagogue, the market, and the village well, and watch people searching for a room while Roman soldiers stand guard. Live animals, 200 cast members, authentic costumes, and handcrafted scenery make this a memorable Christmas experience for all ages. You will ride through 18 traditional scenes from the Bible such as Gabriel’s visit to Mary, the angels’ message to the shepherds, the Wise Men’s visit with King Herod, and the stable where Jesus was born. 6:30 -9 p.m. Dec.1-3 at Union United Methodist Church, 7582 Woodrow St., Irmo. www.thelivingchristmasstory.com

32. THE SINGING CHRISTMAS TREE: The cast includes a full orchestra, and a 30-foot tree holding more than 100 singers and over 50,000 lights. The Singing Christmas Tree is a free event, but tickets are required. 7 p.m. Dec. 8 and 2:30 and 5:30 p.m. Dec. 9-10 at Shandon Baptist Church, 5250 Forest Drive. www.shandon.org/christmas

33. THE COLUMBIA CHRISTMAS PAGEANT: With state-of-the-art lighting (including thousands of Christmas lights), music, and a cast and crew of hundreds, the Columbia Christmas Pageant has become a 30-year tradition. Admission is free, but you need a ticket to enter. 7 p.m. Dec. 8, 2 and 5 p.m. Dec. 9 and 4 p.m. Dec. 10 at First Baptist Church in Columbia, 1306 Hampton St. http://fbccola.com/christmaspageant

34. NATIVITY EXHIBITION: See more than 300 nativity displays from around the world. Santa’s gift shop will be open for shopping. Enjoy a cup of coffee or cocoa. Free. 5- 8 p.m. Dec. 15, 2-5 p.m. Dec. 16 and 3-6 p.m. Dec. 17 at Calvary United Methodist Church, 1130 Calvary Church Road, Swansea. 803-568-9712

35. SING-ALONG ‘MESSIAH’: Be a part of a joyous night of worship, instrumental music, and singing, as a professional orchestra, accomplished soloists, and a choir of 800 voices perform Part One of Handel’s Messiah, perhaps the best known and most popular oratorio ever written. For this 15th anniversary community celebration, soloists are professional singers, four native South Carolinians with national and international performance acclaim. 7 p.m. Dec. 18 at Washington Street United Methodist Church, 1401 Washington St. www.singalongmessiah.org

For the kids

36. STORY TIME WITH SANTA: Santa will read one of his favorite holiday books, Participants will also decorate cookies, sip hot cocoa and create a holiday craft. To end Santa’s Storytime, there will be a candy cane hunt. It’s for kids ages 2-8, tickets are $6 and pre-registration is required. Noon Dec. 2 at Seven Oaks Park, 200 Leisure Lane. www.icrc.net/story-time-with-santa-2017-12-02-1

37. EDVENTURE’S FESTIVALS OF SHARING: Celebrate winter holidays around the world. Children will learn the values of the season of giving by celebrating their own and others’ holiday traditions. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 9 at EdVenture Children’s Museum, 211 Gervais St. www.edventure.org

38. CANDY CANE HUNT: Santa and his elves will be hiding candy canes along the disc golf trail at Crooked Creek Park, and kids are invited to bring a basket or bag to collect candy canes they find. There will also be prize candy canes hidden along the trail. Kids who donate a new unwrapped toy will get to decorate a cupcake. The candy cane hunt is for kids ages 2-8. Cost is $2. 3:30 p.m. Dec. 16 at Crooked Creek Park, 1098 Old Lexington Highway, Chapin. www.icrc.net/candy-cane-hunt-2017-12-16

39. CHRISTMAS PARTY MARIONETTE: Santa’s head elf, Spangler, decides to throw Santa a holiday surprise party in celebration of the season. But Santa is on vacation and is nowhere to be found. This show has dancing snowmen, figure skating, and Jack Frost’s own puppet show within-a-puppet-show. Cost: $5 per person. 11 a.m. Dec. 16 at Columbia Marionette Theatre, 401 Laurel St. cmtpuppet.org

Open houses and special events

40. HOLIDAY WREATH MAKING CLASS: Have you ever wanted to make your own holiday wreath? This is your chance to learn how. Frames, fresh greenery, bows and pine cones will be provided. So will wine and cheese. 6:30 p.m. Nov. 28 at City Roots Farm, 1005 Airport Blvd. $75 per person. www.f2tproductions.com/new-events/2017/11/29/holiday-wreath-making-class

41. CAYCE HISTORICAL MUSEUM’S ANNUAL CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS: Experience the sights, sounds, and tastes of Christmas at the Cayce Museum’s 28th annual Christmas Traditions Holiday Open House. Each room in the museum will be decorated with trees and crafts from the 18th to the 21st century. This open house will also feature live entertainment, docents dressed in period attire, and light refreshments. 6 p.m. Dec. 2 at the Cayce Museum, 1800 12th St., Cayce.

42. WAR BETWEEN THE STATES LANTERN TOURS: As darkness falls, scenes from the Civil War come to life. History and comedy make this event a memorable and popular activity. Presented by the 20th SC Volunteer Infantry.For more information, call the Cayce Historical Museum at (803) 739-5385. 6- 9 p.m., Dec. 2, Cayce Historical Museum,

43. LAKE MURRAY COUNTRY OPEN HOUSE: The theme for the 2017 Holiday Open House is “Happy Holiday Sails,” in honor of Lake Murray Visitor’s Center’s new Souvenir Shoppe. Enjoy light refreshments and holiday music, and see the Lorick Plantation decorated for the holidays. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Dec. 9 and noon to 4 p.m. Dec.10 at Capital City and Lake Murray Country Visitor Center, 2184 N. Lake Drive. Free. www.lakemurraycountry.com

44. NEWBERRY CHRISTMAS TOUR OF HOMES: The Newberry County Chamber of Commerce hosts this annual event. Tour three beautiful private Newberry homes, fully decorated for the holidays, as well as a local business and church. 4-8 p.m. Dec. 9. Call 803-276-4274 for tickets and information.

45. LEXINGTON COUNTY MUSEUM CHRISTMAS OPEN HOUSE: Experience Christmas traditions of the past. Many of the 30 historic structures in the museum complex will be open with period Christmas decorations. Light refreshments that would have been eaten by Lexington residents in the 19th century, including hot apple cider and gingerbread, will be served. See a blacksmith practicing his craft, as well as a cooking demonstration in the circa-1830 kitchen. 1-4 p.m. Dec. 10 at Lexington County Museum, 231 Fox St., Lexington. www.lexingtoncountymuseum.org

‘Nutcracker’ ballets

46. ANN BRODIE’S CAROLINA BALLET PRESENTS ‘THE NUTCRACKER’: This spectacular holiday classic features international guest artists and a company of more than 150 performers. It’s also the only “Nutcracker” production in town to feature a full orchestra and chorus. Backed by the Columbia Festival Orchestra, conducted by Neil Casey, and St. Peter’s Catholic School’s choir, Capella Pueri, this “Nutcracker” production is based closely on the linear notes created by 19th-century choreographers Lev Ivanov and Ivan Petipa, who worked in collaboration with composer Tchaikovsky. 10 a.m. Nov. 22, 7:30 p.m. Nov. 24-25 and 3 p.m. Nov. 26 at Township Auditorium, 1703 Taylor St. $35 at ticketmaster.com. www.carolinaballet.net

47. COLUMBIA CLASSICAL BALLET PRESENTS ‘THE NUTCRACKER’: See the traditional European “Nutcracker” with a combination of professional dancers and around 60 students from the Pavlovich Dance School. Tickets range from $5 to $35. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 1-2 and 3 p.m. Dec. 2-3 at Koger Center for the Arts, 1051 Greene St. www.kogercenterforthearts.com

48. COLUMBIA CITY BALLET PRESENTS ‘NUTCRACKER’: The Nutcracker Ballet is based on the story “The Nutcracker and the King of Mice” written by E.T.A. Hoffman. It’s the story of Clara, a young German girl who dreams of a Nutcracker Prince and a fierce battle against a Mouse King. Tickets range from $20 to $48. 3 p.m. Dec. 9-10 and Dec. 16-17 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 9 and Dec. 16 at Koger Center for the Arts, 1051 Greene St. http://columbiacityballet.com/production/nutcracker/

Ongoing events

49. HOLIDAY LIGHTS ON THE RIVER: Drive through more than 400 animated light displays at Saluda Shoals Park. Visitors can also take a hayride to the Wetland Walking trail and see the laser light show there, take a ride on the Saluda Shoals train, roast marshmallows or shop at Santa Claus’ Gift Shop. Kids can go down a tube slide, make crafts and visit Santa (Dec. 8-23). 6-10 p.m. through Dec. 31, Saluda Shoals Park, 6071 St. Andrews Road. www.icrc.net/holiday-lights

50. LIGHTS BEFORE CHRISTMAS: Walk through nearly one million lights, with stops for hot cocoa, s’mores and a visit with Santa. 5-9 p.m., through Dec. 30 (closed Christmas Eve and Christmas), Riverbanks Zoo, 500 Wildlife Parkway. www.riverbanks.org/events/lights-before-christmas

51. MAIN STREET ICE: The city of Columbia’s outdoor ice skating rink, located at the corner of Main and Hampton streets, returns for its sixth year of fun for the whole family. 4-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 4-10 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m.-to 10 p.m. Saturday; 1 p.m.- 9 p.m. Sunday, through Jan. 15, at Boyd Plaza, 1515 Main St. Special operating hours Dec. 18 through Jan. 1. Closed Christmas Day. Fees range from $5-8 for kids and $8-10 for adults. More details and a complete schedule here.

52. HISTORIC HOLIDAY TOURS: Historic Columbia offers its annual holiday tours at the Robert Mills House and Hampton-Preston Mansion, where a variety of holiday decorations and traditions will be on display. Guides will provide stories of holidays past in Columbia and discuss how families decorated and entertained during the 19th and early 20th centuries. 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and 1 and 4 p.m. Sundays at the Robert Mills House and Gardens, 1616 Blanding St. 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and 2:30 p.m. Sundays at the Hampton-Preston Mansion and Gardens, 1615 Blanding St. Through Dec. 31. Tickets and information, www.historiccolumbia.org.

53. ‘POLAR EXPRESS 4-D’: Don’t just watch this holiday classic; experience it. The 4-D theater provides a 3-D visual experience with the fourth dimension of environmental experiences like blasts of air, vibrating seats and water spray. The Polar Express takes you, along with a doubting young boy, on a train ride to the North Pole in a 15-minute version. Through Jan. 5, at South Carolina State Museum, 301 Gervais St. Times and tickets at www.scmuseum.org/explore/4-d-theater/.

54. LASER HOLIDAYS: This is an exciting and unique way to celebrate the season through a display of colorful and dramatic laser lights choreographed to a mix of holiday music favorites, including “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “Deck the Halls” and “White Christmas.” Through Jan. 5 in the planetarium at the S.C. State Museum. Times and tickets at www.scmuseum.org/explore/planetarium.

55. ‘STAR OF BETHLEHEM’: Take a journey into the past as this full-dome planetarium experience takes you to the ancient cities of Jerusalem and Bethlehem to investigate the story of the “Christmas Star.” The show uses historical and scientific facts to unravel this 2,000-year old mystery through an immersive audiovisual display feature popular Christmas carols. Through Jan. 5 in the planetarium at S.C. State Museum. Times and tickets at www.scmuseum.org/explore/planetarium.

56. NORTH POLE NIGHTS: The wonders of the North Pole can be found in Newberry on Friday nights in December. Experience faux snow and pictures with Santa in Memorial Park and Storytime with Mrs. Claus at the Newberry County Chamber of Commerce office in Community Hall. Events are free, but photos with Santa are $5 each (visitors may take their own photos). 6-8 p.m. Dec. 1, 8, 15 and 22 at Memorial Park, 1000 Boyce St., Newberry, and Newberry County Chamber of Commerce, 1209 Caldwell St., Newberry. www.newberrychristmas.com

57. GINGERBREAD JAMBOREE: Kids can visit with Mrs. Claus while they wait their turn to sit with Santa to tell him all their Christmas wishes. Don’t forget your camera. Santa’s helpers will be there to help make ornaments or do some holiday crafting. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on weekends Dec. 16 through Jan. 14 at EdVenture Children’s Museum, 211 Gervais St. Go to www.edventure.org for Santa’s schedule and more information.

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