9 charming South Carolina towns that could star in an iconic Christmas movie

South Carolina is rich in history, beautiful beaches, friendly locals, and much more, but snow isn’t one of them. However, the lack of white precipitation does nothing to dampen the Christmas spirit in South Carolina cities, nor does it make those towns less worthy of Hallmark Christmas’s movie town status.

Likewise, each city has its own unique look, feel and history; each also has its own Christmas vibe. With so many delicious destinations to choose from, it’s impossible to choose among them. But here is a small sample of brilliant South Carolina towns where all of your Hallmark Christmas movie dreams can come true.

Statue of Joel Michael BoylePoinsett on Main Street Greenville (Photo credit: Michael Boyle)

1. Greenville

America’s friendliest city, Greenville, boosts the welcoming warmth and hospitality over Christmas. Glittering tree-lined sidewalks on Main Street. Santa is sliding down the street in his motorized sleigh (a converted 1993 Ford Aerostar). Ice skaters sliding themselves in a mini replica of Rockefeller Center. These are some of Greenville’s favorite things, and Hallmark movie-style events keep happening.

Christmas carols in the streets, dozens of giant trees decorated in bright colors at local hotels for the annual Tree Festival competition, as well as a community Hanukkah celebration and Menorah lighting create a complete holiday experience . Of course, Greenville has a Holiday Kringle Parade and Market with craft vendors, rides, entertainment, tours with Santa, food, and a beer garden at Fluor Field baseball stadium.

Pro tip: Stay at the Westin 4 Diamond Poinsett Hotel. In front of the building stands a statue of South Carolina, Joel Poinsett, who brought a certain popular Christmas plant to America.

Christmas tree on Aiken Alley in Aiken, South Carolina.
Christmas tree on Aiken Alley (Photo credit: Mark Hudson)

2. Aiken

A visit to Aiken is a joy anytime of the year, but during the holidays this charming equestrian town becomes the perfect place to star in a Hallmark Christmas movie. Even the horses trot in the holiday spirit during the Hoofbeats And Christmas Carols Parade through the city center. Horses and carriages, as well as dogs walking their humans, create a festive atmosphere, with songs from the community after the parade.

Santa at the Depot gives toddlers the chance to tell him how good they have been at the Visitor Center and Aiken Train Museum with festive decorations, music and a special gift for each child .

The annual Aiken Jaycees Christmas Parade, the Night of 1000 Lights and a leisurely stroll through the well-lit garden paths at the annual Christmas in Hopelands event bring locals and visitors together to celebrate the warmth and joy of the holidays. Other such opportunities can be found at the Christmas Craft Show and Christmas Crafts at the Farmers Market, where shopping and camaraderie go hand in hand.

Christmas trees at the Old Grist Mill in McCormick, South Carolina.
Christmas trees at the Old Grist Mill (Photo credit: Nathan Elliott / Savannah Shoreline Magazine)

3. McCormick

For a pretty town of less than 3,000 people, McCormick makes the holiday season shine with big celebrations, just like in a Hallmark Christmas movie.

To help everyone get into Hallmark movie mode, the 2021 Holiday on Main (HOM) Christmas Parade is themed “Cultivating a Branded Christmas”. Of course, Santa Claus is ready to have fun and take pictures.

The Holiday Market at Cotton Gin, featuring local and regional artisans selling unique handcrafted creations, as well as the Festival of Trees at Grist Mill make excellent use of McCormick’s historic sites.

Father Christmas and his elves attend the tree lighting ceremony. And everyone is counting the days until the Chamber of Commerce Cookie Walk. A $ 10 advance ticket purchase purchases more than 25 individual cookies or baked goods from participating local businesses.

Pro tip: You can download a digital version of the HOM brochure and flyers.

Santa Claus with a dog in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Courtesy of Discover South Carolina

4. Myrtle Beach

Who says you can’t have a Hallmark Christmas at the beach? Certainly not Santa Claus, nor the locals of Myrtle Beach and the visitors who make Christmas merry in this coastal town.

Start with Winter Wonderland at The Beach, a vacation event that includes an indoor outdoor ice rink, a walk through the lights experience, and other vacation events at Burroughs and Chapin Pavilion Place. Then admire the magnificent spectacle of The Great Christmas Light Show, where you can walk through over 2 million twinkling lights at North Myrtle Beach Park and Sports Complex.

The Southern Christmas Show, a Myrtle Beach tradition, brings the warm Christmas spirit to life with music, comedy and dancing.

Night of a Thousand Candles at Brookgreen Gardens (Courtesy Discover South Carolina)

5. Murrells Inlet

One of the oldest and smallest towns on the Grand Strand, Murrells Inlet was once a peaceful fishing village. Today, it is a popular place for vacationers. But during the holidays, Murrells Inlet gives off a true Hallmark Christmas movie vibe.

The highlight of the season is the Nights of a Thousand Candles at Brookgreen Gardens, a wonderful extravaganza of over 2,800 hand-lit candles and countless twinkling lights illuminating the magnificent sculpture gardens. Visitors wander the trails, marveling at the seasonal lighting, decorations and an 80-foot tree dressed in 70,000 lights.

During the annual Santa Crawl on the MarshWalk, revelers walk the promenade along a natural saltwater estuary, enjoying drinks and special dinners at MarshWalk restaurants. MarshWalk is also the location of the annual Christmas Parade

Pro tip: Myrtle Beach is 20 minutes from Murrells Inlet, making a double dose of vacation fun a realistic goal.

Brooks Street Christmas lights in Manning, South Carolina.
Christmas lights on Brooks Street (Photo credit: Clarendon County Chamber of Commerce)

6. The workforce

The quiet streets lined with majestic oak trees and pre-war houses make the historic town of Manning a pleasure to visit. Located about 65 miles from Columbia, the capital of South Carolina, this quaint town could star in a Hallmark Christmas movie.

Manning might not necessarily be a beehive of organized vacation activities, but the city is brilliantly illuminated, lovingly decorated, and full of warmth and whimsy. It is the ideal place for a relaxed and peaceful vacation.

Each year, the people of Manning come together to enjoy the Parade of Lights, which runs through the city spreading joy just after Thanksgiving. The illuminated trees cast their merry glow on Manning until the start of the new year.

“Don’t Get Your Tinsel in a Tangle” is Carolina Dance Academy’s annual Christmas show. The festive evening begins with an energetic gymnastics program and ends with a lively dance performance.

Christmas tree in Abbeville, South Carolina, town square.
Simon Lock / MyEclecticImages

7. Abbeville

The charming little town of Abbeville knows how to think big. It is home to the Abbeville Opera House and Parson’s Mountain Recreation Area. Abbeville also knows how to throw together the kind of holiday celebration that would suit any Hallmark Christmas movie.

This city goes out of its way to support local businesses, especially during the holidays. Handmade for the Holidays is an arts and crafts festival featuring items produced by local vendors. The Christmas Market is a 2-day family event at Crate and Quill, featuring holiday shopping, live Christmas music in the courtyard, and goodies.

Annual Abbeville Christmas tree lighting involves more than flipping a switch. Holiday entertainment, hot chocolate and cookies, all provided by local businesses, infuse the event with warmth and joy.

The friendly Abbeville residents look forward to their annual Breakfast with Santa Claus, a traditional hometown Christmas parade, the Cookie Walk, and the Ugly Christmas Sweater Wine Walk. Is not it ?

Aerial view of the Christmas Market in Pendleton, South Carolina.
Aerial view of Pendleton Christmas Market (Photo Credit: Simon Lock / MyEclecticImages)

8. Pendleton

4 miles from the college town of Clemson, Pendleton feels like another world. Life moves more slowly, no one is a foreigner and the city’s history is fascinating. So the transformation into a Hallmark Christmas movie town for the holidays is, like Pendleton herself, sweet and sweet.

Every weekend from late November to mid-December, residents of Pendleton meet at Christkindlmarkt, a quaint European-style Christmas market on the city’s historic Village Green. Major holiday shopping becomes less stressful amid the bright and cheerful sights, sounds and smells of the marketplace. A 40-foot living Christmas tree watches shoppers as they shop for original, hand-crafted ornaments, feast on local goodies, and sip holiday drinks.

Many locals attend the annual Christmas parade and light the trees in the square. No sane cranky would even dream of trying to steal Christmas from Pendleton.

Pro tip: Head to Mama Rae’s Ice Cream Shoppe for a special Christmas hot chocolate topped with whipped cream and two candy canes arranged in a heart shape.

Illuminated Santa Claus sign in Rock Hill, South Carolina.
Courtesy of Discover South Carolina

9. The rocky hill

The town of Rock Hill can keep visitors busy for days, especially during the holidays. The old town magically transforms into ChristmasVille, an award-winning holiday village and outdoor art festival that makes great Hallmark Christmas film material.

Locals and visitors alike take part in over 70 Christmas-themed events that keep them in the Christmas spirit. Horse-drawn carriage rides, Christmas carols, a gingerbread house-making contest, children’s activities with Santa Claus and ice-skating are just a few of the many delicacies that individuals and families can enjoy.

The festival is held in honor of Vernon Grant, whose magical art has graced many children’s books. However, he is best known for his creation of SNAP! CRACKLE! and POP! characters for Kellogg’s Rice Krispies brand of cereal. Vernon Grant is still a prominent figure in his old Rock Hill home. His charming illustrations of gnomes, elves and Santa Claus make their cheerful appearances throughout the festival.

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