Start celebrating now. Grab the family and see what Columbia has to offer!
By Katie McElveen
Starting with the first whiff of pumpkin spice and ending with Champagne corks on New Year’s Eve, Columbia’s holiday season is packed with fun activities for friends, foodies, families, children and history buffs. We can’t cover them all, but here are a few of our favorites.
Get your Pie On
Register for Let’s Cook’s November 21 pie making class and you’ll learn to roll a crust like a pro, learn a trick or two about baking and leave with three delicious, home-baked pies. Bonus: all activities are supervised by Chef John Militello, chef and baker-in-chief. (lets-cook.com)
Holiday Décor…and more
Governor Henry McMaster and First Lady Peggy McMaster will greet guests at the South Carolina Governor’s Mansion on Monday, December 5 from 5:30 until 7:30 pm for this year’s Holiday Tour, which will feature decorations and arrangements highlighting the natural beauty of South Carolina. On Saturday, December 9, at Wingard’s Market, kids can get some face time with Mrs. Claus and a ride on the Santa Train, then pick out this year’s Christmas tree from the hundreds of fresh Fraser Firs that fill the lot. (wingardsmarket.com) Rather channel Paul Bunyan and cut your own tree? Head to Hollow Creek Tree Farm in Gilbert, where you can choose from nearly a dozen varieties in every shape and size. (Hollowcreektreefarm.com) Put a little DIY in your décor (or under the tree) with handmade holiday ornaments from Mad Platter. Colorful glazes that you apply yourself will, after firing, transform festive figures like snowmen, angels and jolly Santas (or impressions of a foot, hand or pawprints) into unique works of art. Expect to pick up finished ornaments about a week after painting. (mymadplatter.com)
Step Back in Time
Learn how Columbia’s families celebrated the holidays in the 19th and early 20th centuries as you stroll the elegant candlelit halls and twinkly ornament-strewn rooms of historic Robert Mills House and the Hampton-Preston Mansion. On December 15, stay for a horse and carriage ride and clip-clop through the estate. Candlelight tours run from November 17 through December 31. (historiccolumbia.org)
Stock your gift closet and support local shops and charities with these local shopping events. From Thursday, November 2 through Sunday, November 5, more than a dozen Lexington merchants participating in Lexington’s Merchant’s Holiday Open House will welcome shoppers with refreshments, door prizes, special discounts and lots of holiday cheer. For a list of participating shops, visit Facebook.com/lexingtonsholidayopenhouse. Beginning November 30 and running through December 3, the Junior League of Columbia’s Holiday Market will bring more than 150 vendors to the Cantey and Goodman buildings at the State Fairgrounds. The event raises more than $250,000 for League-supported initiatives. (Jlcolumbia.org)
Laugh out loud at the antics of the Herdmans, the “worst kids in the world” who take over the local Christmas pageant in Columbia Children’s Theatre’s production of “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. This musical version is adapted from Barbara Robinson’s award-winning children’s book and can be enjoyed by all ages. Opening performance is December 2, Visit columbiachildrenstheatre.com for a full schedule. It’s not Christmas without the Columbia City Ballet’s production of the Nutcracker, Peter Tchaikovsky’s timeless tale of Clara, who falls asleep under the Christmas tree dreaming of fairies, sleigh rides, epic battles, princes and her beloved nutcracker. Performances begin December 9. Visit columbiacityballet.com for a full schedule and to purchase tickets for both the show and magical Nutcracker teas, which precede some of the matinees.
Work it Off
Work off those extra helpings of turkey and eggnog at a holiday-themed run: The Shandon Turkey Trot (November 18, 7:30am; 8K, 4K and a kids run); Deck the Hall and Reindeer Fun Run (December 2, 8:30 am; 5K and 2K trail runs) and, for night owls, the Sleigh Bell Family Stroll and Trot (stroll November 20 at 6:30pm; 5K trot November 21 at 7pm), which winds through the holiday lights at Saluda Shoals Park. (Strictlyrunning.com)
Celebrate the Spirit of the Season
Nonmembers are always welcome at holiday services, events and performances held at local churches throughout the region. In Lexington, Northside Baptist Church welcomes guests to their live nativity, children’s program and other seasonal events. (Northsidebaptist.org)