South Carolina

Christmas in Charleston

There’s no place like Charleston for Christmas. Come see why as you enjoy Lowcountry traditions, witness the Festival of Lights on James Island and attend two holiday shows!
Rating (4.75)
Program No. 21206RJ
6 days
Starts at

At a Glance

Embark on a holiday learning adventure to experience the distinctive history and delectable flavors of Charleston and the Lowcountry amid customs and traditions of the season. Festive decorations, culinary wonders and delightful holiday rituals abound as you enjoy a cup of cocoa in historic homes decked in holiday finery and hear performances of music from every era of the city’s history. See as well how sweetgrass baskets are made from beginning to end and learn about the holiday traditions on a visit to the Nathaniel Russell Home.
Activity Level
On Your Feet
Walking up to two miles, some uneven terrain. Periods of standing for on-site lectures.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Marvel at historic sites on expert-led walks and interior explorations that take you to picturesque downtown and to the City Market Place.
  • Explore the gardens and stable yards as you learn about the people who lived at Middleton Plantation more than three centuries ago.
  • Experience the unique sounds that define Charleston's rich musical heritage: gospel, Gershwin, music of the Civil War, light classics and jazz.

General Notes

Program limited to 80 participants, divided into smaller groups for most activities.
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
Ruth Miller
Ruth Miller, a graduate of Duke University, has lived all over America and journeyed throughout the world. As a Charleston historian and excursion leader, she enjoys tying local history into the American story and worldwide events. Ruth is the author and co-author of numerous books, including “Charleston Charlie — A Family Activity Book for Kids of All Ages,” “Touring the Tombstones,” and “The Angel Oak Story.” She is a member of the South Carolina Historical Society and the National Trust.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image
Harlan Greene
View biography
<%= Bio %>
Profile Image
Ruth Miller
View biography
<%= Bio %>
Profile Image
Darryl Stoneworth
View biography
<%= Bio %>
Profile Image
Georgia Murphy
View biography
<%= Bio %>
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
A Witness to History: Charleston's Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon
by Ruth Miller and Ann Taylor Andrus
The Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon in Charleston, South Carolina, is one of the great buildings of Colonial America. Serving as city hall, customs house, post office and prison; as the British Headquarters during the occupation of Charles Towne and then host to a great ball honoring George Washington, the Exchange has been an eyewitness to America’s history. This stoic building-—designated a National Historic Landmark in 1975—-has been described as the best example of the dignity and ornament of the traditional English “exchange-town hall” design of the eighteenth century built in the United States. From within its Great Hall to deep below in the Provost Dungeon, the Exchange has played a vital role in American history. Andrus’ and Miller’s fast-paced and readable survey of the history and significance of the Old Exchange Building will appeal to visitor and serious historian alike.
Touring the Tombstones
by Ruth Miller
A series of guide books to Charleston's 18th century graveyards.
A Short History of Charleston
by Robert N. Rosen
A concise small history of Charleston that is easy to read and enjoyable.
Allegiance: Fort Sumter, Charleston, and the Beginning of the Civil War
by David Detzer
An original and deeply human portrait of soldiers and civilians caught in the vortex of war. So vividly does Allegiance re-create the events leading to the firing of the first shot of the Civil War on April 12, 1861, that we can feel the fabric of the Union tearing apart. It is a tense and surprising story, filled with indecisive bureaucrats, uninformed leaders, hotheaded politicians, and dedicated and honorable soldiers on both sides. The six-month-long agony that began with Lincoln's election in November sputtered from one crisis to the next until Lincoln's inauguration, and finally exploded as the soldiers at Sumter neared starvation. At the center of this dramatic narrative is the heroic figure of Major Robert Anderson, a soldier whose experience had taught him above all that war is the poorest form of policy. With little help from Washington, D.C., Anderson almost single-handedly forestalled the beginning of the war until he finally had no choice but to fight. David Detzer's decade-long research illuminates the passions that led to the fighting, the sober reflections of the man who restrained its outbreak, and individuals on both sides who changed American history. No other historian has given us a clearer or more intimate picture of the human drama of Fort Sumter.
Invention of Wings
by Sue Monk Kidd
The Invention of Wings, a powerful and sweeping historical novel by Sue Monk Kidd, begins, fittingly, with an image of flight: Hetty “Handful”, who has grown up as a slave in early nineteenth century Charleston, recalls the night her mother told her that her ancestors in Africa could fly over trees and clouds. That day, Handful’s mother, Charlotte, gave her daughter the gift of hope— the possibility that someday she might regain her wings and fly to freedom. Throughout Kidd’s exquisitely written story, Handful struggles, sometimes with quiet dissidence, sometimes with open rebellion, to cultivate a belief in the invincibility of her spirit and in the sacred truth that one does not need actual wings in order to rise.
The Secret Gardens of Charleston
by Louisa Cameron
A stunning tour with the owners of many of historic Charleston's most beautiful, but rarely seen, private gardens. Charleston gardeners--some working with noted designers, others relying on their own skills and creativity--are masters of fashioning intricate designs and plant selections to match the architectural beauty of this legendary city. This is a valuable resource for inner-city gardeners and an important tool for those involved in the restoration of older houses and gardens.

Click here to provide website feedback
Website Feedback