Start hanging up your wreaths of holly, blasting festive tunes and stringing your best twinkle lights because the holiday season is officially in full swing. Collect brownie points with Santa at these 7 things to do listed below and browse our calendar of events for everything happening in "The New Southern Hot Spot!"


parades & ponies

"Keep Calm and Carillon" as the 61st Annual Carolina Carillon Holiday Parade marches festive floats down Main Street-- keep an eye out for Kris Kringle and his trusty reindeer! Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree...pick out your dream tree and take complimentary horse-drawn carriage rides through Five Points. 
61st Annual Carolina Carillon Holiday Parade at Gervais Street Saturday 9:45 a.m.; free admission
A Starry Night at Five Points Thursday 4 p.m. - 8 p.m.; free admission
First Thursdays on Main Street Thursday 6 p.m. - 10 p.m.; free admission

sweets & snow
Don your silliest ugly Christmas sweater and make the holidays happen for children in need by helping to "Stuff a Wagon" with 300 donated Christmas Stockings. Then, celebrate your good deed with free activities including trackless train rides and an old-fashioned oyster roast. Finally, take your little elves to Edventure for a blizzard of big fun with Frosty the Snowman, gingerbread cookies and a penguin observation station.
8th Annual Holiday Taste & Tour at Historic Village of Hopkins Saturday noon - 4 p.m.; free admission
Sweet Seasons 2014 at Richland Mall Thursday 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.; free admission
St. Nicholas Festival at Holy Apostles Orthodox Church Saturday 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.; free admission
Santa's Gingerbread Jamboree at EdVenture Children's Museum Saturday 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.; $18/person, includes general admission to museum and photo with Santa
Snowville at EdVenture Children's Museum Saturday 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. & Sunday noon - 5 p.m.; $11.50
Santa Claus at Mast General Store Saturday 1 p.m. - 3 p.m.; free admission
Home Alone at Cross Hill Market Saturday 6:30 p.m.; free admission

jingles jogs
Whether you're looking for a full marathon challenge, a team-based long distance run or a light-heighted 5K, there will be plenty of opportunities to get your blood pumping this weekend. You can even grab your pooch and sport your favorite holiday gear to run alongside the 61st Annual Carolina Carillon Holiday Parade.
Lexington Half Marathon & Patty Packs Warm a Heart 5K at First Baptist Church of Lexington Saturday 7:30 a.m.
Jingle All The Way 5K at Carolina Carillon Christmas Parade Saturday 9:30 a.m.; Free to watch, see web link for pricing


rockin' rudolf
Grab some friends and groove with American blues rock artist, Joe Bonamassa and contemporary jazz and R&B musician, Will Downing. Then, get in the spirit of the season with USC's premier choir and wind ensembles performing traditional Christmas carols and holiday tunes.
Joe Bonamassa at Township Auditorium Friday 8 p.m.; $69.00 - $99.00
Will Downing at Township Auditorium Saturday 8 p.m.; $37.50 - $67.50
Concert Choir Christmas Concert at First Presbyterian Church Friday 7:30 p.m.
USC Concert Choir Christmas Concert at Shandon United Methodist Church Sunday 7 p.m.; free admission
USC Wind Ensemble Concert at W. W. Hootie Johnson Performance Hall, Moore School of Business, Level 1 Thursday 7:30 p.m.; free admission

scrooge on stage
This weekend has several shows chock full of important lessons to share. Learn about the good in humanity with Ebeanezer Scrooge, explore the importance of expressing yourself with Jack Frost and receive a few reasons to be jolly with a stage adaptation of the beloved classic film, White Christmas. Be sure that these shows are on the top of your Christmas list!
A Christmas Carol at Trustus Theatre Thursday 7:30 p.m., Friday - Saturday 8 p.m., Sunday 3 p.m.; Adult $22, Senior $20, Military $20, Student $15
"Jack Frost" at Columbia Children's Theatre Friday 7 p.m., Saturday 10:30 a.m., 2 p.m. & 7 p.m., Sunday 3 p.m.; $10
Irving Berlin's White Christmas at Town Theatre Thursday- Saturday 8 p.m., Sunday 3 p.m.; Adults - $25, Senior/College/Military - $20, Youth (17 and under) - $15
USC Dance Company: Wideman/Davis Dance at Drayton Hall Theatre Thursday - Saturday 8 p.m.; Students: $12, USC Faculty/Staff, Military, Seniors (60+): $16, General Public: $18

winter wonderlands
Columbia, SC will come alive in a blaze of more than a million sparkling lights along the riverbanks and throughout the zoo. Enjoy them by driving in a car, strolling with your family or zooming through the trees on the Winter Wonder Ride zipline. Warm up with a few toasted marshmallows at the jingle bell bonfire and get one more chance to let Santa know whether you've been naughty or nice.
2014 Candlelight Tour of Homes at 1314 Broad St, Camden Saturday 3 p.m. - 8 p.m.; $15 Advanced Price, $20 Day of Tour, Special Military Price Available Day of with ID
Holiday Lights on the River at Saluda Shoals Park Thursday - Sunday 6 p.m. - 10 p.m.; Cars: $15; 15-Passenger Vans: $25; Buses: $40
Lights Before Christmas at Riverbanks Zoo and Garden Thursday - Sunday 6 p.m. - 9 p.m.; $10 Adults, $8 Children ages 2-12, & children younger than 2 free
Carols Along the Riverwalk at Cayce Riverwalk Park Friday 6:30 p.m. - 8 p.m.; free admission


holiday history
Celebrate the season 19th-century style with historic holiday tours, family-friendly games and a choir showcase.
Riverbanks Zoo and Garden Forty Years Wild Book Signing at Mast General Store Saturday 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.; free admission
Historic Columbia's Family Day & Choir Showcase at Robert Mills House & Gardens Saturday 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.; HC member youth: Free, Non-member youth: $6, All adults: Free
South Carolina State Museum has a variety of on-going exhibits Thursday - Saturday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., Sunday 1 - 5 p.m.; $5 - $7

For more things to do in Columbia, SC browse our calendar of events and listings of attractionsoutdoor things to dorestaurants and more. Book your hotel room and attractions tickets at