Holiday Traditions in the New South

No matter how these two storied cities change over time, the nostalgia of the holidays keeps bringing us back to the merry and bright traditions of years past. From charming Charleston to historic Asheville, explore a new way to do old things with a curated list of festivities.


Take Home a Tree From Boyd Mountain’s Christmas Tree Farm

No holiday visit to Asheville is complete without a visit to Boyd Mountain’s Christmas Tree Farm where you’ll pick a fresh tree, cut it down, and take it with you to enjoy decorating your home’s newest festive feature.

Get Into the Holiday Spirit at Biltmore Estate

The majestic Biltmore Estate opens its doors every holiday season to guests searching for extraordinary holiday cheer. As the largest home in America, the jaw-dropping residence welcomes Santa on his horse-drawn sleigh for an annual tree raising and other traditional festivities.

All Aboard the Gray Line Christmas Tour

Welcome to the Holly, Jolly Christmas Trolley, also known as the perfect holiday outing right in the heart of Biltmore Village. This family-friendly tradition treats guests to a festive trolley ride bundled with caroling and storytelling through the cherished Asheville neighborhood.

Decorate Your Own Tree at The Restoration

Enjoy a real Christmas Tree in your suite and create new memories at The Restoration Asheville. Experience the holidays to the fullest as you enjoy chocolate chips, hot cocoa and your very own The Restoration ornament for you to take home.

See The Nutcracker LIVE!

Get into the spirit of the season and enjoy the NUTCRACKER! Magic of Christmas Ballet! An international holiday classic for over one century, The Nutcracker ballet brings its talents to Harrah’s Cherokee Center with its life-like puppets, sensational acrobatics, and extraordinary costumes.

Take Home an Artisanal Ornament from RAD

After taking your tree home from Boyd’s Mountains Christmas Tree Farm, make your way to the North Carolina Glass Center in the River Arts District to watch glassblowers at work and find gorgeous glass ornaments to bedazzle your new sparkling centerpiece.    

Shop For Treasures at The Grove Arcade

Asheville’s original mall Grove Arcade is home to dozens of savory restaurants and bars, along with premier shopping for all of your holiday needs. Whether you’re searching for last-minute gift finds or festive decor to spruce up your home, this historic landmark has it all.

Walk Through The Winter Lights

Get lost in the winter wonderland of North Carolina Arboretum’s Winter Lights experience. The illuminated walk-through event displays over one million lights across the lush botanical gardens and offers guests a traditional holiday celebration with hot cocoa, live music, and more.


Drive Through The Festival of Lights

Drive along a 3-mile stretch of James Island illuminated by brilliant arrangements made of 2 million dazzling lights. You can keep the festivities going on foot with an impressive sculpture made from 50 tons of sand, a holiday train, an enchanted walking trail, a Victorian carousel, and more.

Meet Santa at The Restoration

Even Old Saint Nick can’t help but create new holiday traditions with us at The Restoration. On select December dates, guests can meet Santa in The Library for a wholesome interaction, holiday photos, and memories to last a lifetime.

Shop Marion Square’s Christmas Market

Marion Square’s weekend Holiday Market is an event anticipated by guests who travel from far and wide to discover new holiday treasures. The kid- and pet-friendly event also incorporates traditional festivities such as caroling and performances by local choirs.

Discover Drayton Hall by Candlelight

Noted on Condé Nast Traveler’s list of Best Places to See in South Carolina, 18th-century Drayton Hall, hosts a fascinating candlelit tour through the iconic estate every holiday season, offering an opportunity to learn about colonial America and the preservation’s rich history.

Wine and Dine at Middleton Place

Middleton Place offers an interactive seasonal treat for all ages with its Grand Illumination and Dinner experience, featuring live depictions of monumental events that shaped our country during the Revolutionary War.

Southern Traditions Unwrapped

Poinsettias For Picking

The nation’s holiday flower was introduced right here in Charleston by respected South Carolina native Joel Robert Poinsett, who found the beautiful bloom while traveling to Mexico in 1925. Poinsett brought the flowers back to Charleston where they were celebrated as a new seasonal favorite.

How to Celebrate

Browse Charleston’s largest selection of poinsettia at Boone Hall Farm’s Christmas Tree Festival.         This 3-day celebration of festivities also includes cheerful holiday tunes, carnival rides, holiday crafts, letters to Saint Nick, bow and wreath-making demonstrations, and marshmallow roasting aplenty.

Citrus for the Season

As decor or a stocking stuffer, the unlikely sweet scent of citrus fills Charleston’s cozy streets and architecturally stunning homes during the holidays. The juicy fruits were once recognized as a luxury to have during the frosty winter season.

How to Celebrate

Both cozy diners and elevated eateries will likely serve some variation of Lowcountry’s traditional Ambrosia salad during the holidays. This citrusy sweet treat is made with fresh oranges, pineapples, and shredded coconut, making it a festive appetizer or dessert.

Oysters on Display

A southern holiday feast isn’t complete without an enticing display of fresh oysters. According to the centuries-old adage, these coastal delicacies are best served during the months that have an “R” in them—perfect timing for seasonal festivities.

How To Celebrate

Oyster lovers have the perfect opportunity to indulge in Charleston’s finest all-you-can-eat oyster event at Drayton Hall’s Annual Deck the Hall Oyster Roast. This successful low-country gathering sells out every year so be sure to get your tickets early.