Holiday events: Christmas

SACRED HEART GIFT SHOP HOLIDAY OPEN HOUSE: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 15, Sacred Heart Cultural Center, 1301 Greene St.; Guild bake sale; book signing with authors of The Key of Elyon and Share the Bounty 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.; complimentary coffee bar 12:30 p.m.; cooking demonstration 1 p.m. $5; (706) 826-4701,


HOLIDAY GINGERBREAD VILLAGE: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Nov. 15-24, 1-5 p.m. Nov. 18, 25, Augusta Museum of History, 560 Reynolds St.; free; (706) 722-8454,

LIGHTS OF THE SOUTH: 6-10 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 20, through Sunday, Dec. 30, (closed Christmas Day), Lights Of The South, 633 Louisville Road, Grovetown; more than 5 million lights throughout 100-acre forest; food, sweets, beverages, hay rides, walking trails, Christmas train, Christmas tree maze, more; $8; ages 4-17 $5; ages 3 and younger free; (706) 825-6441,

CHRISTMAS IN THE BACKCOUNTRY: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 24, Living History Park, 299 W. Spring Grove Ave., North Augusta; Santa Claus dressed in Victorian coat and cap with candy canes for visitors and photos by parents; Kessie, the Colonial slave, will share stories and songs of life during Colonial Era; shops open to purchase gifts; free;

CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTING: Tuesday 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., Nov. 27, Calhoun Park, Georgia Avenue, North Augusta; lighting of city Christmas Tree (coming into North Augusta from Georgia on Georgia Avenue, park on left after third traffic light); performances, food

WAGENER HOMETOWN HOLIDAY CELEBRATION AND CHRISTMAS PARADE: Friday, Nov. 30 – 5:30-7 p.m. local businesses open house, refreshments, carriage rides, visits with Santa; 6 p.m. music by Edisto Singers, WSHS JROTC, Busbee Corbett Elementary Middle School Chorus, WSHS band at Pavilion; 7:30 p.m. tree lighting and fireworks; Saturday, Dec. 1 – 9 a.m. craft and yard sale, 11 a.m. parade, 11:30 a.m. barbecue sandwich plates by WSHS FFA $5, noon car show, trophies presented 2 p.m.;

AIKEN CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTING: 6:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30, Laurens Street and Richland Avenue, downtown Aiken; music and refreshments; sing carols, light candles, countdown to tree lighting; appearance by Santa and Mrs. Claus; all ages, must be accompanied by an adult; free

CHRISTMAS FOR THE BIRDS: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, Living History Park, 299 W. Spring Grove Ave., North Augusta; free; create decorations for birds to eat all winter; bring apples, oranges, peanut butter for the birds and food for dogs and cats to be given to local pet adoption centers; cider and cookies served;

CHRISTMAS LIGHT-UP SPECTACULAR: 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 1; Holiday Market 10 a.m., Augusta Common; Miss Augusta Christmas Fantasy Parade 2 p.m.; family fun 4 p.m., Augusta Common; Mayor Deke Copenhaver throws the switch lighting up downtown 5:55 p.m.; Lighted Boat Parade 6:30 p.m., Savannah River at Jessye Norman Amphtheater,

DECK THE HALLS – A GALLERY ON THE ROW CHRISTMAS OPEN HOUSE: 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, Gallery on the Row, 1016 Broad St.; door prizes, refreshments, clay ornaments for children to decorate, artisan demonstrations; (706) 724-4989,

HAMMOND HILL CARNIVAL/COOKIES WITH SANTA: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, Hammond Hill Elementary School, 901 W. Woodlawn Ave., North Augusta; inflatables, rock wall, train ride, games, prizes; crafts, business vendors, food, pictures with Santa; armband for unlimited games $10; for vendor applications

NUTCRACKER TEA, AIKEN COUNTY HISTORICAL MUSEUM: 1 p.m. Dec. 1, 433 Newberry St., Aiken; open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 2-5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday; (803) 642-2015

GRANITEVILLE CHRISTMAS PARADE: 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, Main Street; sponsored by Graniteville Fire Department; details, (803) 663-3795

CHRISTMAS TOUR OF HOMES AND FESTIVAL OFF MAIN: Dec. 1-2, Depot Dash, arts and crafts festival, entertainment, parade; 111 Railroad St., Thomson; (706) 597-1000,

HOLIDAY ON THE HILL: Dec. 1-30, Hickory Hill, 502 Hickory Hill Drive, Thomson, Ga.; experience the magic of the holidays on an evening tour of Sen. Thomas E. Watson’s beloved home; (706) 595-7777,

MERCHANTS ASSOCIATION OF COLUMBIA COUNTY CHRISTMAS PARADE: 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2, Evans; applications to participate online; deadline to enter parade Nov. 19; staging area closed to traffic 10 a.m.; parade route: Evans Town Center Boulevard to Washington Road to North Belair Road, ending at Cox/Owens Road near Evans High School, columbia

25TH ANNUAL NORTH AUGUSTA CHRISTMAS TOUR OF HOMES: 5:30-9:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8; sponsored by Beta Sigma Phi Sorority; tickets: Jim Bush Flower Shop, Communigraphics, Parks Pharmacy; day of tour tickets at any stop; $20 until 3 p.m. Dec. 3, $25 after; (803) 279-4844, (803) 279-6036, (803) 279-5074

A HOLLY DAY: All day, Saturday, Dec. 8, downtown Aiken; shops offer holiday specials; Aiken Downtown Development Association, (803) 649-2221,

CITY OF NEW ELLENTON CHRISTMAS PARADE: Noon Saturday, Dec. 8, Main Street, New Ellenton; (803) 652-2214,; free

MIDLAND VALLEY CHAMBER CHRISTMAS PARADE: 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8, Midland Valley; (803) 292-2769

NORTH AUGUSTA LIONS PARADE: 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9; parade forms available at North Augusta Chamber of Commerce; entry deadline Nov. 29, no exceptions; parade begins at Kmart shopping center, goes down Martintown Road, then left onto Georgia Avenue to Buena Vista Avenue; (803) 279-2323

AIKEN JAYCEES CHRISTMAS PARADE: 2-3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9, downtown Aiken; Cartoon Christmas theme; register entries by Dec. 1; (803) 644-3008,

STORYTIME WITH MRS. CLAUS: 4 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 11, Odell Weeks Center, Rooms 6 and 7, 1700 Whiskey Road, Aiken; Mrs. Claus reading holiday books; refreshments; door prizes; each child given a free book; ages 8 and younger, accompanied by adult; (803) 642-7631; free

CHRISTMAS IN HOPELANDS: 6-9:30 p.m., Dec. 13-27 (closed Dec. 24 and 25), Hopelands Gardens, 1700 Whiskey Road, Aiken; lights, lights and more lights; refreshments offered; ride shuttle 6-9 p.m. from/to Citizens Park, 1060 Banks Mill Road; children must be accompanied by an adult; free, donations appreciated; (803) 642-7631

NIGHT OF 1,000 LIGHTS: 6-10 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 13, downtown Aiken; held by Aiken Downtown Development Association; food, festivities and Santa in town; (803) 649-2221,

CHRISTMAS CANCELLED: A SPECIAL CIVIL WAR HOLIDAY EXPERIENCE: 4-6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15, Redcliffe Plantation State Historic Site, 181 Redcliffe Road, Beech Island; musicians, actors bring alive the holiday experience of free and enslaved families during the Civil War; includes tours of historic slave quarters and decorated historic mansion, games for the whole family; (803) 827-1473

A BLUEGRASS CHRISTMAS: 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 21, The Stables Restaurant at Rose Hill Estate, 221 Greenville St. NW, Aiken; holiday music and a special guest from The North Pole; reservations recommended; (803) 648-1181, www.rose

AIKEN COUNTY HISTORICAL MUSEUM CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION: Saturday-Wednesday, Dec. 1-5; several trees on display throughout the museum, 433 Newberry St, Aiken; (803) 642-2015



Pop Rocks: Augusta, my Christmas wish list has one thing

My family often accuses me of being a difficult person to Christmas shop for. While it is true that my tastes run toward the particular and tend to lean heavily on easy-to-wrap standards such as books and records, I believe that as I get older, I’m less concerned with the item than the idea. Give me something I believe you have thought about and carefully considered, and I’m happy. The present clearly purchased at the drug store the day before is met with considerably less enthusiasm.

Read more