Magic of Christmas in Charleston (Christmas Through the Eyes of Charleston)

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By Minta Pavliscsak

I took to some of the known local hangouts around Charleston to mix and mingle with the people who make up the core of our fair city in hopes find out what they love about the holidays here in the Lowcountry. At any given time of the year, there is no shortage of activity in and around the Holy City. Somehow we pack in additional events, concerts, plays, specialty markets, home tours, and more on top of the traditional parades, last minute shopping, visits with Santa, decking the halls, card writing, baking cookies, and wrapping presents into the wee hours of the morning.

Having grown up in a small town in Georgia where we did not have all of these awesome extra things to do, you can imagine that I was, well like a kid at Christmastime when I spent my first holiday season here in Charleston! This year makes my thirteenth Christmas in Charleston, and each is just a little bit more magical than the last. A couple of weeks ago, as I listened to two wide-eyed children excitedly recount the details of the previous night’s Holiday Festival of Lights Run, I tried to imagine what it might be like had every Christmas been a Charleston Christmas. These boys are 5 and 7 years old and have been attending this special preview of the light display at James Island County Park with their mom and dad for the past few years, and each year on the following morning I get that same wide-eye, enthusiastic view through their eyes.

This led me to wanting to get to know our wonderful Charlestonians a little better. I wanted to see Christmas through the eyes of those who got to experience it here from childhood. So off I went with pen and paper in hand, and to no surprise, met some really nice folks! (Bear in mind that while each response had a unique story with it, a few of them were repeated, thus making the list on the shorter side.)

The question I asked went as follows:
What is your favorite thing to do during your Charleston Christmas that never loses its magic?

-“The downtown Christmas parade.”

-“The Sound of Charleston Holiday Concert at the Circular Church.”

-“Taking the whole family to Boone Hall Farms to pick out the perfect Christmas tree.”

-“Waiting for the coldest night to go see the Holiday Festival of Lights.”

-“Baking lots of cookies, and trying a new recipe every year.”

-“Every year growing up in Mt. Pleasant, my brother and I would get together with all of the other neighbor kids and go house to house singing carols.”

-“My family would take this time of year to finally get around to visiting a historical church downtown.”

-“The Parade of Boats.”

-“Go and see The Nutcracker. We particularly enjoy the Russian ballet.”

-“It was always important to my parents that we bought extra toys for the Toys for Tots drive. Now my kids pick out the extra toys.”

-“Hot chocolate and attend the tree lighting in Marion Square.”

-“My dad and I still go check out the trainset in Charleston Place.”

-“Finding an Angel Tree and playing Santa for someone else.”

-“Starting the season off by visiting the house at Boone Hall Plantation and arguing with my sister about whose house would look more like it when we got older.”

My conclusion is that if there is such thing as “Christmas Magic” we definitely have lots of it right here in Charleston, South Carolina. Your traditions may be exactly the same from year to year, or perhaps it is your tradition to do something different every year. Regardless of what you do there is no doubt that you will always have plenty to choose from right here where we call home, and the following day you will meet your friends with wide eyes and excitedly tell them all about it.

Happy Christmas Charleston!
Merry Everything!

A Folly Starfish Christmas Story


By Minta Pavliscsak

It was Christmas Eve in our little slice of Folly Under the Sea. This year things around me seemed more calm than usual. Everyfish seemed to be ahead of the typical hustle and bustle of the season. That is, every fish except for me. I like to live in the here and now, which means I am really good when it comes to what others view as procrastinating. I like to think of it more as I work well under pressure. That aside, I was bobbing from store to store as quickly as I could but a starfish can only go as fast as the current takes him and today the current was in no rush.

Somehow I managed to squeak in grocery shopping, picking up my famous last minute –but always perfect– gifts, visiting a few friends, and even getting a relaxing arm massage at Sacred Arm Massage & Healing Arts. Floating home, I looked around at all the happy fish. It was such a beautiful day. The sun was glistening brightly through the waves. There were even surfboards overhead, and not a shark sighting all day. The small fish were playing with each other and singing carols in anticipation of what tonight would bring. The bigger fish were holding hands and sneaking kisses, just as giddy as the little ones.


Finally making it home, I put on my favorite Michael Bubble Christmas album and started wrapping presents. Later that evening, I enjoyed the sunset in my back sand where I could see the human’s Folly Christmas tree off in the distance. Those humans are so creative! Who would think to put a Christmas tree on the beach anyway? ?After Christmas Eve dinner and appeasing carol singers who literally would not leave until I gave them figgy pudding –good thing I picked up dates at the store– I finally settled in to rest until Christmas day.

However, it was a restless sleep, and when I did drift off I had crazy dreams. One was of a psychedelic octopus. He just kind of joyfully floated in one spot, smiling and waving almost glowing in the surf. And then I woke up. Then there was the dream of a sandcastle Santa Claus. Had I seen the humans building one on the beach? Had Santa visited me and I sleepily caught him? Was Santa Claus really made out of sand? The psychedelic octopus seemed to make more sense than that! Maybe I was just as excited as every fish else that I had seen the day before. After all, Christmas is my most favorite of all the holidays. And even after all these years, I have never stopped believing. I gave into my excitement and floated out of bed, cranked up the Bubble, and got ready for the day.


As I put on my funny Santa attire, the smile that would remain ever present for the day crept across my face. How silly of me to think there would be sleep on the eve of today of all days! The doorbell rang. My friends and family had arrived. It was the beginning of another perfect Christmas Under the Folly Sea.

From our family to yours,
Happy Christmas, Merry Everything!

Never Stop Believing

GALLERY: Christmas in Charleston

Marion Square

The weather may be on the warmer side, but the feeling of Christmas is certainly in the air.? stroll with us through our Southern version of the holiday spirit and enjoy some of the festive yuletide.

Naughty or Nice Lego Present at SC Aquarium
Naughty or Nice Lego Present at SC Aquarium


Citadel BullDog all dolled up
Citadel bull dog all dolled up


Joe Riley Stadium
Joe Riley Stadium


The Tides - Folly Beach
The Tides – Folly Beach


Rutledge Avenue
Rutledge Avenue


Historic Charleston
Historic Charleston


Ribbon in the greens
Ribbon in the greens


Folly Beach Holiday Flip Flops
Folly Beach Holiday Flip Flops


Snowman in the sand
Snowman in the sand


Wreath on fence in historic Charleston
Wreath on fence in historic Charleston


Folly Beach Park
Folly Beach Park


Marion Square Tree
Marion Square Tree


Wreath on red door
Wreath on red door


Tree in the sand - Folly Beach
Tree in the sand – Folly Beach


Joe Riley Stadium entrance
Joe Riley Stadium entrance


Historic Charleston
Historic Charleston


Crab and seahorse in lights
Crab and seahorse in lights


Santa and tree in lights
Santa and tree in lights

Happy Holidays



What Charleston is Thankful for in 2016

Charleston, we asked and here is what you are thankful for at the start of this holiday season…


-“Thankful I’m a teacher and can still make a difference in the world of a child.”

-“Family and beauty of Charleston and its people.”

-“Fish fingers and custard.”

-“My work ethic.”

-“My friends and family, opportunity, and beauty.”

-“Generosity of friends and family, and that this baby seems to be developing well.”

-“Time off with family.”

-“Sanity.”Thanksgiving People Table

-“Life. Family. Friendship. Health.”

-“Nap time!”

-“Thankful when nothing is left unsaid.”


-“Home, health, family, experience.”

-“That I wake up each morning to a new day.”

-“Wine and ice cream.”

-“To have friends and family that I can count on.”

-“Healthy kids, affectionate pets, loyal and loving friends, and the respect of my parents.”

-“Wonderfully, amazing friends who love me for me.”

-“2016 is almost over.”

-“God, my family and friends.”

-“Three children, Alyssa, Kyle, and Blake and for their strength and perseverance. Beyond blessed.”

-“A new start at a new life.”

-“Indoor plumbing…and soft toilet paper.”


-“Still breathing.”

-“To be able to watch the sunrise.”

-“The relationship with my family.”


-“Coffee, so I am able to wake up early to catch my flight to visit friends and family for Thanksgiving.”

-“To be alive for the holidays.” #CancerStrong

-“Family, good health and America.”

-“The time that we did have together.”

-“Supportive family and friends, a new career that I love, and health.”

-“The immense amount of love I’m surrounded by with my Charleston family…especially when so far from my actual family.”

-“Selfless friends who spend their time helping me fix my truck.”

-“Family, friends, good health, salt water, diet green tea and that I can smile every day.”


Princess Diana is given credit for the saying “Family is the most important thing in the world,” however we have known this for centuries. Given how our hearts’ shine, it is no surprise that family appears as a reoccurring value amongst Charlestonians.

Happy Thanksgiving,
from our family to yours

Tips for Holiday Time Fitness from O2 Senior Fitness Director

“A lot of clients go into the holidays resigned to possibly putting on a few pounds.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. With a little planning and the right attitude, anybody can stay merry and light.”
Prath Burton, Senior Fitness Director, O2 Fitness Clubs


Prath Burton, Senior Fitness Director, for O2 Fitness Clubs shares five tips for holiday fitness.

1. PREPARATION IS KEY:? Establish holiday obstacles (the pies!) and
goals, such as maintaining your current weight, before jumping into
those holiday treats.

2. EAT, PAPA, EAT! (ON A NORMAL SCHEDULE):? Santa is at his best when
he sticks to a holiday eating plan and you are too. Don’t try to make up
for future indulging by skipping meals. This only causes greater hunger
and overeating.

3. SWEAT BEFORE YOU GET STUFFED:? Here’s a quick workout to try before
a big meal: 3 Rounds of 5 burpees, 20 pushups, 30 squats, 40 crunches,
60 second plank. Now pass the (reasonable amount) of gravy.

4. GO AHEAD AND BURN THE TURKEY:? Only 10 minutes a day of activity,
like the circuit above, has been shown to help increase overall calorie
burn. Even a quick walk is worth something – and it comes with the added
bonus of getting you out of awkward conversations with your in-laws._

5. JUST RELAX:? The holidays can cause stress, whether it’s family,
travel or worrying about destroying your hard work in the gym. Relax and
enjoy the holiday by preparing, being mindful of portions and being

Great advice to take into the holiday season.