Spending the holidays on Hilton Head Island is a great way to ring in the year. The weather is mild, the beaches are often empty, and the golf course less crowded. You can enjoy the best of island life while enjoying the high spirits of holiday celebrations around the island. Concerts, parades, light displays, and festivities are all waiting for locals and visitors to experience and enjoy.
You could stay in and cook, or head out to one of many great restaurants celebrating Thanksgiving. The Sea Pines Resort has a Thanksgiving Dinner and there’s an annual community dinner at Hudson’s Seafood House. The community dinner is a family style event run by volunteers who serve up a big meal to more than 1,600 guests. This is no small-scale event, and everyone is welcome. Other local restaurants are open on a limited basis. Check with your favorite eateries and plan to celebrate Thanksgiving.
Weekends with Santa
Do you have kids or grandkids visiting? Or maybe you just want a picture with Santa. The Tanger Outlets have Santa’s workshop setup and ready with a photographer onsite. Come meet Santa Claus and take home a photo to hang on the wall. The Outlet also has a tree lighting to kick things off on December 7th.
South Beach Christmas Village
They don’t mess around at South Beach and the Christmas Lights go up the Friday after Thanksgiving. The light display is magnificent, and the entire scene is loaded with activities and entertainment. Try writing a letter to Santa Claus or just have your picture taken with the big guy. They have hot cocoa and tasty treats, and the entire event is family friendly. You can even bring the dog along on a leash.
Harbour Town Lights
Light displays are a big deal on Hilton Head Island and the Harbour Town setup at Sea Pines Resort is spectacular. Lights are strung all over and a big tree is the centerpiece. Harbour Town is often bustling around Christmas with live entertainment and events taking place and it’s a classic stop for anyone wanting some holiday cheer.
Shelter Cove Light Display
Shelter Cove has a park and walk light display that is well worth the visit. It runs through most of the holiday season on Friday and Saturday nights from 5-7 pm. They also have regular visits from Santa. The display does shut down just a few days before Christmas so go early in the season.
Each year, the community of Bluffton has a parade at Christmas time. The streets close at 10 am and spectators can come watch or participate in the fun. The town parade is a blast and Bluffton is a great community to spend some time around the holiday season.
Movies and Marshmallows
The Liberty Oak in Harbour Town hosts “A Christmas Story” movie with free admission for anyone donating canned food. The movie has a fire pit for roasting marshmallows and seating provided but you can always roll out a blanket or bring along camp chairs. The entire event is a fun way to enjoy a mellow evening and a classic movie in the community.
Other Events for Christmas
Christmas has so much action on Hilton Head Island, you can find something different for almost every day of December. The Hilton Head Island Hospital Jingle Jingle 5k run takes place on Christmas Eve and there are multiple Christmas concerts, bake sales and even a Little Elf Workshop with reindeer games, crafts, and treats.
New Year’s Celebrations
After Christmas, the fun isn’t over just yet. The Annual Polar Bear Swim takes place in the Harbour Town Pool on a cold morning before the new year turns over. There is also a New Year’s Eve party with a ball drop off the Harbour Town Lighthouse. They do an early drop at 7 pm and another at midnight to celebrate the new year. Join the fun and the countdown on the last day of the year. After the holiday season ends, take a day off and enjoy a round of golf to get the new year started off right, and work off some of those holiday treats.