We are headed into the final stretch of holiday cheer for 2022, but with so many busting their behinds at work or to keep up on the hamster wheel of daily life, this coming week might be the first chance you get to take a bit of a breather and take in the sights and sounds of a Lowcountry holiday. Fear not, there are tons of options to get you in the holiday spirit just in time.
Arborwood Lights, facebook.com/arborwoodlights: These lights are hard to miss as you drive down Buckwalter Parkway. They are specifically located on Arbormeade Circle, where the entire neighborhood goes all in on trying one-up each other’s light displays. The end result is a magnificently eclectic display in styles and colors. The Wiltse family runs a hot cocoa stand and there are ornaments you can select to purchase toys, gift cards and much-needed supplies to provide a Christmas boost for 15 families across the area. The lights are lit from 6 to 9 p.m. each night through New Year’s Eve.
Sharman Family Light Show: We love all the displays, but this one wins the prize for techno wizardry and the best mix of music to go with the lights. You can sit in your car, tune to 99.3 FM and watch an orchestra of lights at 43 Neligh Lane, choreographed to 18 songs over two hours (with shows in 10-minute increments). The Sharmans go equally all-out for Halloween, but their Christmas display is the perfect elixir for anyone needing a caffeine jolt of holiday excitement.
Across the street from Cypress Ridge, the Lemon Family Light Show is a new entry into the worth-the-trip lights game that rivals the Sharmans. It’s at 89 Isle of Palms East and runs Fridays and Saturdays from 6 to 10 p.m. and Tuesday through Thursday from 6 to 9 p.m. You’ll tune to 99.5 FM here. It offers slightly fewer lights (5,000 to Sharman’s 7,000-plus) and the show is 13 minutes long and resets every 15 minutes.
Light The Lowcountry: Lowcountry Community Church has a walking trail of lights that are elegant and whimsical and sure to delight kids of all ages. The shows runs daily through the end of the year from 5 to 9 p.m. beginning Dec. 23.
We have also head wonderful feedback from neighborhood displays on Red Cedar Street in Bluffton Park, Hidden Lakes Circle, Palmetto Pointe Townes and all throughout Cypress Ridge.
HILTON HEAD ISLAND
The sad news is that the grandiose display that long was the Dove Street Lights is officially no more. There are a few families still lighting their houses, so it’s still worth a drive down the street. (But don’t tell anyone that we told you.)
Fire Rescue Station 3 Drive-Through Display, facebook.com/hhilights: Located at 534 William Hilton Parkway, this is a perennial favorite for those looking for the quintessential lights display.
We have heard wonderful things about Shelter Cove this year – even more so than usual, and that’s saying a lot. Especially at Towne Center, but the marina is just as lit up. You will also find worth-your-drive displays Coligny Plaza and Harbour Town.
HEADING OUT S.C. ROUTE 170
Brendlen’s Lowcountry Light Display, 1570 Driggers Lane, Ridgeland: This is the 25th year the Brendlen family will be putting on their lights spectacular, and this year’s display is done in honor of the four Jasper County firefighters who have died over the last two years – Coleman Loadholt, Andy Orphanoudakis, Chad Atwood, and Brian Mixson. This is the most interactive family experience, as families can decorate their own Christmas ornament or holiday cookie, enjoy face painting, hot chocolate, desserts, hamburgers, hot dogs and BBQ sandwiches for sale. Nightly from 6 to 10 p.m.
Blue Heron Nature Trail, 321 Bailey Lane, Ridgeland: This honestly might be the unsung hero of the area Christmas displays, simply because it’s county-run and does not do much advertising. Locals know it’s worth the trip, with more than 15,000 lights spread across 57 displays shining bright nightly from 6 to 9 p.m. through Christmas Eve.
Cadd Family Light Show, 66 Springfield Road, Lady’s Island: Our blue ribbon panel raved about this display, now in its 11th year of wowing visitors. The Cadds have decorated their property with a seemingly endless array of lights, all synchronized to music. Plus, there’s a “snow” machine to give kids the feeling of a white Christmas. Visitors are asked to park roadside and walk through the displays, which are open 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 5:30 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday through the end of the year.
Mink Boulevard, Beaufort: There are two homes on one street directly across from each other that stage what feels like a good ol’ fashioned Christmas lights duel, as both show off their themed displays set to music. It’s hard to crown a neighbor winner, but you’re the winner if you make the ride out. You might want to take in a collection of the S.C. 170 displays to truly make this worth the trip, but even on its own, it will give you one big Christmas smile.
ONE WAY OR THE OTHER
So if you’re fixin’ to really take a drive, we can point you in two directions. Head to Georgia and I-16 toward Statesboro for the TMT Farms Christmas Lights Drive-Thru (16710 Old River Road North). The unique part of this 25-year-plus Bulloch County favorite: Farm owner Roy Thompson built a replica Western town with a saloon, livery stable, stores, an authentic moonshine still and a chapel (presumably, for the moonshiners to pray for forgiveness).
If you’re more in the mood for a ride toward Charleston, we highly recommend the James Island County Park’s Festival of Lights (871 Riverland Drive, Charleston, ccprc.com). This is not a free endeavor (it’s $25 in advance, $30 at the gate per vehicle) but there is plenty to make the price of admission worth it, including a Santa’s Village with a carousel, a portable climbing wall, pictures with Santa and festival fun foods and a build-a-reindeer stuffed toy workshop. The Winter Wonderland includes a 12-minute train ride, gift and sweets shops and a holiday sand sculpture.
Tim Wood is a veteran journalist based in Bluffton. firstname.lastname@example.org.