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Small Towns, Big Christmas

Libby Wiersema Libby Wiersema
Libby Wiersema lived in California and Alabama before settling in South Carolina 38 years ago, where she's covered the state's best culinary offerings and tells the stories behind the food.
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Shop the Old-World holiday market at the Pendleton Christkindlmarkt.

The lights. The music. The decorations. The food and drink. The spirit of goodwill. These are some of the things a memorable Christmas is made of.

In South Carolina, the holiday season gets top billing, but not just in major destinations like Charleston or Greenville. In many of our more diminutive towns, the “Main Street” festivities often belie the size of their locales.

Ready to experience the warm fuzzies this holiday season? We think you’ll agree nobody does a big Christmas better than these small towns.

ChristmasVille, Rock Hill 
Old Town Rock Hill undergoes a transformation each winter to become its holiday alter-ago, ChristmasVille. A celebration of the artist Vernon Grant, who lived in Rock Hill and created the Snap, Crackle, Pop characters for Kellogg’s, this fest treats the Christmas crowd to more than 70 events and experiences, including carriage rides through the picturesque town, strolling carolers, tons of Santa sightings, a gingerbread house competition and ice skating at an outdoor rink—Christmas fun at its old-fashioned best.

Uptown Greenwood Holiday, Greenwood 
Jingle and mingle with the good folks of Greenwood when the town puts on an ongoing celebration with a holiday hunt and prizes, cookie crawl, “tricked out” trains, singing elves, Santa Claus and more. It all plays out against the backdrop of dazzling lights draping the uptown to create a charming, happy, holiday vibe.

A Very Berry Christmas, Newberry 
The holidays are bright in Newberry each Friday in December. Join in the fun during North Pole Nights, complete with faux snow, Christmas crafts, storytelling by Mrs. Claus and the spectacle of Santa touring the town via fire truck. Kids are invited to utilize a special Santa mailbox for posting their letters to the jolly old elf—a sure-proof way to guarantee he knows their most fervent Christmas wishes.

Rivertown Christmas, Conway 
Thursdays are special in December when downtown lights up to celebrate the holiday. Living window displays, visits with Santa, carriage rides, live music and “snow” in the park bring the holidays to life. There’s even a Christmas cruise-in for those who don’t have reindeer transportation at their disposal.

Anderson Christmas Lights, Anderson 
Anderson, South Carolina—aka the North Pole—puts on a spectacular show each Christmas with 2.5 miles of flashing, colorful, riveting holiday lights. Snowflakes, reindeer, Santa and more are all lit up for your viewing pleasure. Load up the car, grab your mugs of warm chocolate and take a delightful journey through this winter wonderland. Then drop in at the Christmas village for local crafts, candy galore and other jolly touches. 

Downtown Christmas Magic, Florence  
Downtown Florence embraces all the magic of the holidays on the first Friday in December with a marshmallow roast, decorated storefronts, ugly sweater competition, free hot cocoa, live entertainment and, for the kids, their own Jingle and Mingle area with games and Santa Claus, too. 

Pendleton Christkindlmarkt, Pendleton
If you’re dreaming of an Old-World Christmas, this is the event for you. On Friday and Saturday nights through mid-December, handmade ornaments, hot spiced wine, warm cider, delicious food, German beer, hot chocolate and a bustling, light-strung Christmas market will make you feel like you’ve traveled to a faraway land. Keep your eyes peeled for Kris Kringle.


Libby Wiersema
Libby Wiersema lived in California and Alabama before settling in South Carolina 38 years ago, where she's covered the state's best culinary offerings and tells the stories behind the food.