Throughout the year, visitors immerse themselves in the architectural and cultural character of historic Charleston by touring house museums, expertly preserved dwellings that showcase and interpret the plantation class lifestyle. During the holiday season, many of these museums harken back to their founding days with special displays of heirloom decorations.
Joseph Manigault House
The Garden Club of Charleston decks the halls of this magnificent house with creative arrangements made exclusively with live, historically accurate plant materials that would have cultivated in Charleston during the early 1800s. Learn about the holiday traditions enjoyed by the Joseph Manigault Family during special tours of the Adam-style dwelling.
November 26, December 3 & 10
For convivial spirits, the opportunity to see elaborate 18th century table settings is a real treat, and this historic house museum's cache of heirloom silver makes this one gleaming holiday experience. Tour the rest of the property, including the circa 1740 kitchen building and herb garden, to discover how the household prepared for the Christmas season.
December 2 & 9
Theatrical performers shed light on a turbulent time in Charleston just before the beginning of the Civil War. Adorned in period costumes, they reflect on the events of the day and how their lives would soon be forever changed. 6:30-8:30pm.
Nathaniel Russell House
At the Nathaniel Russell House, the dining room table is laden with sugared fruits, syllabubs, cakes and sweetmeats—popular fare of the early 1800s, when religious services and family meals were the crux of holiday celebrations.
By the mid 1800s, the Aiken-Rhett House was one of Charleston's most fashionable residences, and its owners embraced the budding popularity of decorated trees, a trend born of the Victorian Age, which is artfully recreated today.
Charleston Strolls Holiday Walking Tour
Do you know Charleston's unique tie to the flame-colored Christmas poinsettia? Want to enjoy Charleston's mild Christmastime climate with a stroll through the historic district? Take this seasonal guided tour that visits special landmarks and culminates with a photo opportunity in front of the Mills House Hotel's grand Christmas Tree.
Climb aboard the Charleston Explorer with Pegasus Charters to experience a holiday tour of historic downtown Charleston from the harbor. Named the Charleston Sleigh Ride, this one-and-a-half hour boat tour includes festive music, complimentary hot chocolate, and stories about Charleston’s Christmas traditions. December 12 – 31, 2014 at 5:30 p.m.
Charleston Harbor Tours
Come aboard the Carolina Queen for the Keep the Light Shinin' Holiday Dinner Cruise featuring The Plantation Singers. Enjoy a delicious buffet, 2 hour cruise, Gullah spirituals and holiday tunes.
Sandlapper Water Tours
'Tis the season for friends and family, so gather your merry bunch for a nautical holiday adventure with Sandlapper Water Tours. Relax in the glow of a golden sunset with a warm cup of hot chocolate in your hands. History and beauty abound on this spectacular ride, be sure to bring your camera.
Charleston Tea Party's Christmas Tour
Join expert guide and native Charlestonian Laura Wichmann Hipp on a festive behind-the-scenes Christmas tour of three private homes. The tour begins with a full breakfast and ends with high tea. Monday - Friday, 9 - 1:30, reservations required.