December Happenings Around the Lowcountry

December is packed full of fun and festive events around the Lowcountry. Check some of them out below.

Art Showings, Plays & Performances

Lean Ensemble Theater takes you on some ‘Bad Dates’

Actress/Comedian Megan Bowers navigates the minefield of dating life in Lean Ensemble Theater’s production of Bad Dates, Theresa Rebeck’s comic tour-de-force.

Haley Walker is a single mom who’s had her romantic life on hold while building a successful restaurant career and raising her daughter Vera. But now that Vera’s a teenager, it’s time to kick her romantic life into high gear. But, oh, the misadventures as she maneuvers through the rocky terrain of potential mates and career complications complete with Romanian mobsters, a weirdo bug guy, a colon-obsessed suitor––and a closet full of shoes. So many, in fact, that Sex and The City’s Carrie Bradshaw would turn green with envy.

Directed by Lean Ensemble’s Peggy Trecker White, this one-woman show stars actor/comedian Megan Bowers. Bowers, who has performed at the renowned New York City comedy spot Caroline’s as well as at the NY Comedy Festival, proudly notes that her own mother has declared Megan number three on her “comics to watch list.” Bad Dates will be performed in the new SoundWaves space at 7 Lagoon Road in the Coligny Beach area. Talkbacks with Megan Bowers follow each performance.

When: 7:30 p.m., Dec. 12-15; 2 p.m., Dec. 16
Where: SoundWaves, 7 Lagoon Road, Hilton Head
Tickets: $25 preview night (Dec. 12); $40 performances (Dec. 13-15); $15 students/active military. Group rates available.
Details:, 843-715-6676

The Art of Marianne Stillwagon

Paintings inspired by the marshlands of the Lowcountry and the ever-changing seasons of New England. Exhibit runs from Dec. 3-Jan. 6 with a wine and cheese reception from 3-5 p.m. Dec. 9 at the gallery. These events are free and open to the public.

When: 3-5 p.m. Dec. 9, exhibit runs from Dec. 3-Jan. 6
Where: The Society of Bluffton Artists Gallery
Details: or 843-757-6586.

‘An American in Paris’ Holiday Musical

A regional premiere of “An American in Paris” has a stunning combination of classic music, a timeless story and gorgeous dance resulting in a spectacular musical perfect for the whole family. “An American in Paris” is the story of World War II veteran Jerry Mulligan, who, hoping to build a new life, chooses newly liberated Paris as the place to make a name for himself as a painter. But Jerry’s life becomes complicated when he meets Lise, a young Parisian shop girl with her own secret – and realizes he is not her only suitor. Songs include “I Got Rhythm,” “Liza,” “’S Wonderful,” “But Not for Me,” “Stairway to Paradise” as well as beautiful romantic music including “An American In Paris.”

When: Dec. 5-30
Where: Arts Center of Coastal Carolina
Details: or 843-842-ARTS

Festivals & Fun

Bluffton’s First-Ever Coffee and Chocolate Fest

A decadent tasting event where chocolate and coffee take center stage. Sample, savor and shop at a coffee and chocolate lovers dream come true. Hosted by The Cottage Café, Bakery & Tea Room.

When: Noon to 4 p.m. Dec. 8
Where: On the green next to Gigi’s Boutique, Calhoun Street

Harbour Town Lights

Enjoy the lights! Stroll along the Harbour and enjoy the illuminated seasonal figures with the centerpiece of the display being a towering Christmas tree. Harbour Town is the perfect place to be this holiday season with live entertainment and activities.

When: Through Jan. 1
Where: Harbour Town, Sea Pines Resort

Holiday Lights at Shelter Cove Harbour and Marina

This December, take a stroll through the Palmetto Dunes’ version of a winter wonderland, as Shelter Cove Harbour and Marina transform into a colorful affair. Stroll the boardwalk, where the marina and boats will be decorated with holiday lights, and enjoy everything a Lowcountry “winter” has to offer.

When: Through Dec. 31
Where: Shelter Cove Harbour and Marina

Winter Wonderland Festival at Shelter Cove Community Park

Hayrides, carnival games, petting zoo, children’s parade and much more. Visit with Mr. & Mrs. Claus. The festival provides a safe environment for parents and children to begin their holiday celebration. Free admission, donations welcome. Concessions, trampoline bungee, and rock wall sold separately.

When: 4 – 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7
Where: Shelter Cove Community Park
Details: or (843) 681-7273

Watch Christmas movies under the Liberty Oak

Get into the holiday spirit by watching a classic Christmas movie surrounded by Harbour Town’s festive lights. Benches and fire pits for roasting marshmallows will be provided. Admission is complimentary with the donation of a canned food item for the Deep Well Project.

When: 7-9 p.m.; Dec. 1 (“The Santa Clause”), Dec. 8 (“The Polar Express”), Dec. 15 (“A Christmas Story”)
Where: Harbour Town, Sea Pines Resort
Details: for full schedule

Hilton Head Shore Notes Present “A Coastal Christmas”

Usher in Christmas with the Shore Notes’ “A Coastal Christmas” show. Tickets available at Burke’s Pharmacy or from a chorus member.

When: 2:30 p.m. Dec. 9
Where: Island Lutheran Church
Notes: Tickets are $10.00

Christmas in the South presented by the Hilton Head Choral Society

Experience the joy of the holiday season at an entertaining event for all ages. Get your tickets now for this Island holiday tradition before they sell out.

When: 8 p.m. Dec.14
Where: First Presbyterian Church
Details: or 843-341-3818

Picnic with Santa on the Beach

Santa’s trading in the snow for the sand for a day. Join him beachfront for a lunch to remember including a photo with Santa, sandcastle building, airbrushed/glitter tattoos, and cookie decorating. Don’t forget to bring your wish list with you.

When: 11 a.m.- 3 p.m. Dec. 22
Where: The Porch Southern Kitchen and Bar
Notes: $28 for Adults, $18 for Children 4-12

December weekends at The Jazz Corner

Get in the holiday spirit with a special holiday performance at the most popular jazz club in the Lowcountry.

When: Doors open at 6 p.m., concerts begin at 8 p.m.
Where: The Jazz Corner December headliners: Dec. 7-8, a Rat Pack-style salute to the holidays with Bobby Ryder’s quintet; Dec. 14-15, Motown Holiday Spectacular with Reggie Deas and Deas-Guyz; Dec. 21-22, The Rossano Sportiello Trio featuring Nicki Parrott and Eddie Metz Jr.; December 28-29, Rene’ Marie, Grammy nominated jazz artist
Details: or 843-842-8620

Annual Polar Bear Swim

Show your adventurous side with the other “polar bears” by taking an invigorating dip into the Harbour Town Pool on a chilly winter day. Warm up after your plunge with hot chocolate and refreshments.

When: Dec. 31
Where: Sea Pines Resort
Details: or (843) 842-1979

New Year’s Eve at Sonesta Resort

Bring in the New Year with Sonesta. Enjoy a special buffet at Heyward’s Restaurant followed by entertainment in Bayley’s Bar. Watch the ball drop in the Savannah Ballroom in an intimate setting with live entertainment and late-night appetizer menu.

When: Dinner 7-10 p.m., Entertainment 10 p.m.-1 a.m. Dec 31
Where: Heyward’s Restaurant, Sonesta Resort

New Year’s Celebration in Harbour Town

Join us for a festive New Year’s Eve ball drop from the top of the Harbour Town Lighthouse! Enjoy food, entertainment and live music throughout Harbour Town, then count down to the ball drop as we welcome the New Year. There will be two ball drops: 7 p.m. and midnight.

When: Dec. 31
Where: The Sea Pines Resort
Details: For additional information, call (843) 842-1979. For dinner reservations at The Quarterdeck, contact (843) 842-1999.

Holiday happenings at Montage Palmetto Bluff

Weekends with Santa
Santa is making his list and checking it twice so don’t miss out on a chance to tell him you’ve been nice. Each Saturday and Sunday morning he will be at the Inn for breakfast with children (of all ages.) Reservations recommended. Toy donations will also be collected to benefit Bluffton Self Help.
When: Dec. 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 22 and 23

The Twelve Cocktails of Christmas
Follow us on social media to get a taste of the holiday crafted by our master mixologists. Each day we will post a different a cocktail recipe to get you in the holiday spirit. Guests are welcome to join us at the Inn and sample the cocktail from 5 to 5:30 p.m. and Octagon Bar and Gathering Place also will be serving up these festive libations. Follow on Facebook @MontagePalmettoBluffSC and Instagram @MontagePalmettoBluff.
When: Dec. 13–24

Christmas Brunch
Our chefs will serve up a decadent Christmas brunch featuring all of the traditional holiday favorites and a few new additions.
When:11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Dec. 25
Details: Call 843-706-6500 to make reservations.

New Year’s Eve
This year we encourage guests to dine in their choice of Octagon Porch or Buffalo’s as a couple’s night out or a family – or even enjoy that favorite traditional New Year’s Eve meal at home and then join us for a grand party to rock into the new year.
When: Dec. 31

Dance Party and Dessert Buffet
After dinner, join us to party into the New Year with the Heather Hayes Revue. A full open bar, opulent dessert display and late night snacks will keep the party going until the ball drops at midnight when we’ll raise glasses in a champagne toast.
When: 9:30 p.m. – 12:30 a.m. Dec. 31
Notes: $100/Guest, $45/Children
Details: Call 843-706-6500 to make reservations.

Special Rate for Locals at the Montage
Bluffton and Hilton Head residents can stay at The Montage Palmetto Bluff for the special rate of $245 per night December through February. Reserve using rate code “LOCAL.”

Meetings & Gatherings

The Women’s Association of Hilton Head Island Holiday Luncheon

Open to WAHHI members and the general public. The cast of Tony Award-winning “An American in Paris” from the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina will provide entertainment. WAHHI also will collect children’s toys for The Children’s Center and Bluffton Self Help.

When: Social Hour 11 a.m., Luncheon and Program noon Dec. 19
Where: Sonesta Resort in Shipyard Plantation
Notes: Reservations required. $30 ($32 online) for members and $38 ($40 online) for guests
Details: or contact Anne Lambdin at 443-418-6445 or [email protected]

Asia and America in the age of Trump: War, retreat or recommit?

Michael Auslin, Williams-Griffis Fellow in Contemporary Asia at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, will discuss President Trump’s decision to press ahead on tariffs against Chinese goods and increased U.S. military activity in the South China Sea. On the surface, Trump seems committed to enhancing America’s role in the Indo-Pacific region. But considering China’s aggressive One Belt-One Road initiative, unrelenting militarization of its South China Sea possessions, and lack of U.S. proposals for new free-trade agreements, many critics question whether Trump has an overall strategy for Asia. Is there a logic to Trump’s policy, or is it simply reactive, making more likely the chance for war or retreat if conditions worsen in the region?

When: 10 a.m., Dec. 7
Where: First Presbyterian Church, 540 William Hilton Parkway

Helping Parents Heal

Monthly meetings of this nonprofit organization are dedicated to assisting parents who have lost children, giving them support and resources to aid in the healing process.

When: 1-3 p.m. Dec. 9
Where: Unitarian Universalist Church
Details: Irene Vouvalides at [email protected] or 201-233-6015

Fundraising Events

Shop for Good at Outside on December 6th Benefiting Volunteers in Medicine

Outside Hilton Head will host a holiday shopping event to benefit Volunteers in Medicine on December 6th! 20% of the proceeds from the day will go directly to VIM, a clinic whose mission is to understand and serve the health and wellness needs of the medically underserved population and their households, living and/or working on Hilton Head and Daufuskie Islands.

From 4-7pm, enjoy wine and hors d’oeuvres while you shop and complimentary gift wrapping will be offered with any purchase. Barbour will be on site hosting a trunk show for the whole day and will be giving away jacket wax vouchers and other wonderful gifts! Barbour will also be providing a free scotch tasting from 4-7pm. Outside will be raffling off a kayak, paddle and PFD!

When: 4-7 p.m. Dec. 6
Where: Outside Hilton Head, 50 Shelter Cove Lane (between TJ Maxx and Whole Foods)
Details: Contact Olivia Baddley at [email protected]

A Blue and White Christmas Bazaar Supporting Beaufort County

The proceeds from this holiday event will help support several community projects such as Stork’s Nest, elder care awareness, mental health and autism awareness, annual scholarships, and mentoring programs. This event is hosted by the sorority Mu Pi Zeta, which has three locations within Beaufort County that provide free resources to expectant mothers as well as educational support.

When: 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Dec. 8
Where: Holiday Inn and Suites, Beaufort
Details: [email protected] or 843-476-0526

Donate to the Bluffton Self Help Toy Shop

With the assistance of the community, the Bluffton Self Help Holiday Toy Shop will bring a joyful holiday season to over 2,000 local children. Donate unwrapped toys at toy collection box sites, have a “bring a gift” party, or order directly from the Amazon Holiday Toy Wishlist.

What: Bluffton Self Help Holiday Toy Shop
When: Donate through Dec. 14
Where: Toy Collection Boxes at various locations
Details and More: or 843-757-8000

The Hilton Head Hospital Jingle Jingle 5K Run

Support local charities and burn off those extra holiday calories. Holiday prizes and unique holiday awards for winners in each division. The first 500 participants in the 5K will receive a long-sleeved Jingle Jingle T-shirt, jingle bells, and a candy cane. A festive award ceremony featuring a visit from Santa, refreshments, music, hot cocoa, cider, and door prizes will be held following the race. Free Kids Fun Run for children under 6 years old. Benefits TEARS Foundation and Rotary Club.

When: 9 a.m. Dec. 24
Where: On and around the Hilton Head Hospital Campus and Main Street

Coastal Discovery Museum Holiday Happenings

Fascinating Lowcountry Owls

Nancy Owen of Gryphon Den and the nonprofit “Creatures of the Night” will present this program that will feature live owls. Learn the natural history of owls in general and the specifics of the five owl species found in the Lowcountry. Owls are not only fascinating creatures featured in myths and beliefs of many cultures, but also active predators that are a crucial part of the ecosystem. Find out about the physical features and characteristics that make these incredible creatures successful in the ecosystem.

When: 3 p.m. Dec.12
Where: Coastal Discovery Museum
Notes: $7 per person and reservations are required
Details: or 843-689-6767 ext. 223

“No-see-ums,” the most irritating residents of the Lowcountry

Dr. John D. Edman will share his interest in the behavior and ecology of blood-feeding arthropods and the infectious diseases they transmit and explain the life history of “no-see-ums”and closely related blood-feeding flies found in the Lowcountry. Learn when and where they are most active and what people can do to protect themselves. Often referred to as sand flies or biting midges, they are a unique part of the ecology of the Lowcountry.

When: 3 p.m. Dec. 5
Where: Coastal Discovry Museum
Notes: $7 per person (ages 12 and older only) and reservations are required
Details: or 843-689-6767 ext 223.

Responsible Oystering in the Lowcountry

Andrew Carmines, a native and lover of the Lowcountry, will discuss in detail the process of producing single oysters from the brood stock, to the hatchery, to the upweller, and ultimately to the consumer. The process is detailed and heartbreaking at times. He will take the attendees through the process from start to finish, and also answer any questions on where the project is going and what the future holds for oyster farming in the Lowcountry.

When: 3 p.m. Dec. 19
Where: Coastal Discovery Museum
Notes: $7 per person (ages 12 and older only) and reservations are required
Details: or 843-689-6767 ext. 223

Stop in to see Lowcountry Critters with Joe Maffo

This casual “Meet and Greet” will help participants learn more about the alligators, snakes, turtles and other critters that share Hilton Head Island with us. Joe Maffo with Critter Management will bring along some of his “friends” to share with everyone. Participants will have a chance to get an up-close view of the various animals, learn more about them and take lots of photos. There will be no formal presentation; visitors can stop by various stations to meet the different types of animals on site.

When: 1-4 p.m. Dec. 26 and Jan. 2
Where: Coastal Discovery Museum
Notes: Cost is adult $10 and child $5 (12 and under) under 5 are free.
Details: or 843-689-6767 ext. 223

Lowcountry Raptors at Coastal Discovery Museum for Holidays

The Coastal Discovery Museum will host Lowcountry Raptors at 2 p.m. Jan. 4 with Lila Arnold. Raptors play an important role in our ecosystem and have some impressive survival skills too. A few extraordinary birds will visit from Lowcountry Raptors. Get an up-close look at these spectacular birds and learn about the life of birds of prey and how you can help protect them.

When: 2 p.m., Jan. 4
Where: Coastal Discovery Museum
Notes: $7 per person and reservations are required by calling 843-689-6767 ext. 223
Details: or 843-689-6767 ext. 223

Tom Peeples Discovery Lab to open for the Holidays

Drop in and explore the Discovery Lab. Visiting the lab is a fun educational experience for all ages. Get a closer look at some live Lowcountry animals like fish, horseshoe crabs, hermit crabs, frogs, lizards, snakes, and an alligator. Discover unique and fascinating stories about the Lowcountry’s history and environment through hands-on, interactive displays and games.

When: Dec. 27 and Jan. 3
Notes: Children must be accompanied by an adult. $2 per person.
Details: or 843-689-6767 ext. 223

Sweetgrass Wreath-Making Classes

A local 7th-generation Gullah basket maker will teach this special holiday class and you’ll have a chance to make a decorative Sweetgrass wreath on your own using locally found natural materials. You will hear the history of the Sweetgrass basket, one of the Lowcountry’s best-known art forms.

When: 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Dec. 8 and 22, other classes Dec. 16 and 23
Where: Coastal Discovery Museum
Notes: $65 per person and reservations are required
Details: or 843-689-6767 ext. 223

Heritage Library December Happenings

The Heritage Library is a nonprofit library offering research assistance on ancestry in addition to classes and tours focused on Hilton Head Island’s history from prehistory to the modern era. The Heritage Library owns two historic sites, Fort Mitchel in Hilton Head Plantation and the Historic Zion Cemetery & Baynard Mausoleum on the corner of William Hilton Parkway $ Mathews drive. (843) 686-6560 or

Tuesdays: Tuesday Morning History Programs, hosted by The Heritage Library Foundation. 2 Corpus Christi, Ste, 100. Reservations required.

Wednesdays: Take a historic bike tour of sites along Squire Pope Road, including historic plantations, fishing and farming life after the Civil War; tabby ruins and a meet-and-greet with volunteers from the Gullah Museum of Hilton Head Island. Bike and helmet provided. Bring water, sunscreen and bug spray. 10 a.m. Tours depart from 137 Squire Pope Rd. Reservations required.

Wednesdays: Wednesday Ancestry Programs, hosted by The Heritage Library Foundation. 2 Corpus Christi, Ste, 100. Reservations required.

Thursdays: Join The Heritage Library for a tour of the Civil War battery on Skull Creek with an experienced guide in Hilton Head Plantation. Built to protect Port Royal Sound and the Seabrook Coaling Station and named after General Ormsby Mitchel. 10 a.m. Ft Mitchel in Hilton Head Plantation next to Old Fort Pub. Reservations required.

Fridays: Join The Heritage Library for the Zion Living History Tour. Meet historic characters who lived on the Island during the antebellum period and see inside the oldest existing structure on Hilton Head Island. Tour where Revolutionary War soldiers are buried and explore the location of the planter’s antebellum church and muster house. 10 a.m. Corner of Hwy. 278 and Mathews Drive. Reservations required.

Hilton Head Island Bridge Club’s Winter Workshops

The club’s Winter Workshops will be held at the Hilton Head Island Bridge Club at Port Royal Plaza. They begin in January and end in March. These workshops are for beginner, beginner plus, and intermediate players and are open to the general public.

What: Intermediate Classes on Cuebids and Counting
When: Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to noon, beginning Jan. 15
What: Beginner Classes
When: Fridays from 10 to noon, beginning Jan. 11
Notes: All clinics are $15
Details and More: [email protected]