It’s Friday once again—and only a week until Christmas! That means it’s time for our Holly Jolly edition of the Friday Five, our weekly roundup of five fun events taking place in the Charleston area over the weekend. Explore an illuminated forest, go on a hunt for Santa’s lost reindeer, shop a local holiday market, and more. And as always, no matter what you choose to do, the staff and agents at Johnson & Wilson Real Estate Company wish you a very happy and safe weekend!

Dragon Boat Charleston and Explore Charleston have collaborated on the Festival of Trees to benefit cancer patients and survivors this holiday season. Together they’ve turned the Charleston ARea Visitor and Reception Center into a winter wonderland adorned with themed Christmas trees! Each tree has been adopted by an area business or philanthropist and decorated in honor or memory of someone who has battled cancer. The public may bid and vote on the trees in a silent-auction format. The first annual Festival of Trees begins this Friday and runs through January 5th, 2021. Head to the link above to register, bid, or view the trees before the event.

It looks like Santa’s reindeer have come down south to spread a little holiday cheer before the big night next week. They’re hiding out at Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, and it’s up to you and your family to find them at the Children’s Reindeer Walk and Holiday Fest this Saturday! Start in the Conservatory and make your way across the red bridge as you search for Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, and all the rest… Each reindeer you find will have a fun holiday activity ready and waiting for you. Finish you hunt in the Holiday Village in the Children’s Garden, where Santa, Mrs. Claus, and Rudolph will be waiting for your report on where their trusty reindeer are hiding. If that’s not enough, there will be juggling elves, candy cane stilt walkers, balloon twisters, live music, visits with Elsa and Anna, and more! The Reindeer Walk begins at 11am, and the festivities in the Holiday Village will take place between 11am and 3pm. This event is free with paid garden admission. Bring a canned food to donate to the Lowcountry Food Bank and receive a BOGO admission.

Head to Park Circle on Saturday for the 6th Annual Holy City Holiday Market, held outdoors on the lawn at Holy City Brewing. Fifty vendors will be on hand to help you find the perfect last-minute gifts for your loved ones. The market opens to the public at noon and closes at 5pm. This is a rain or shine event. Shoppers must wear masks and practice physical distancing while attending the holiday market. Vendor booths will be spaced with plenty of room for shoppers to feel comfortable. Shop small and local at this market, which features vendors such as SheSells Candles, Pet Wants Lowcountry, Charleston Map Jewelry, Rachel DuBose Art, Mabel Mae’s Bakery, Patch Whiskey, Chucktown Acres, and many more! 

For something a little different this holiday season, check out Illuminated at the Woodlands Nature Reserve this Saturday. Enter the forest of the reserve for a drive-up celebration of light. Park your vehicle and enjoy an optional stroll through illuminated majestic oaks and longleaf pines. Observation Lake is where the real magic will happen, with laser projection and dynamic lights on the trees and across the water. Cozy up around a campfire and enjoy live music while you feast on popcorn, s’mores, and hot chocolate available for purchase. Admission is available in advance for $15 or $20 at the gate. Admission is included if you book an overnight stay. 

Come out and SEA the Magic of the Holidays at the South Carolina Aquarium! From festive photo-ops and visits with Santa to holiday-themed animal enrichment and more, there’s something fun for everyone at the aquarium. Stop by Santa’s mailbox to drop off your letter to the big guy. Find fun, festive photo stations to take selfies and group pictures. Feed Santa’s “RAYndeer” (cownose rays) daily from 10:15am until 4pm by purchasing a ray-feeding voucher for $5 at the admission gate or information desk. Be on the lookout for other animals enjoying holiday decor in their environments, snacking on special holiday fish pops, or get a chance to meet a critter up close! Masks are required at the aquarium at all times, even for Santa in his specially designed safety sleigh.

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