A Covid-Friendly Christmas: Safer Holiday Things to Do in Greenville, SC

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Wondering what you can do to celebrate the holidays this year? So much of our holiday discussion has been about what is different about the 2020 holiday season and what we are not able to do. Here’s a list of things to do and events that are happening this year and that provide various specific advantages when it comes to lowering the risk of catching or spreading Covid-19. Every option may not be a perfect for fit for your family, but we hope the variety gives everyone a something festive and fun to do this holiday season in Greenville.

Disclaimer: Remember that only you can determine what is safe for your family and you should discuss your concerns with your doctor. Our list is for informational purposes only, to provide an overview of how local businesses and events are handling Covid-19 precautions this season. We do not endorse any of these options as completely safe or risk-free options.

Take home projects to paint from Color Clay Cafe

Take-Home Kits

Arts and crafts, cookies, cupcakes and more. Local Upstate businesses are offering a wide variety of take home kits and we think these kits have some pretty fabulous advantages. First, you get to enjoy an activity with your family without the work of assembling all the ingredients and supplies yourself. In most cases, you can literally just pick up the kits curbside, bring them home and get to the memory making. Second, you’re supporting local businesses and we think that is always a good thing.

Covid-19 Precautions: When it comes to Covid-19 precautions take-home kits offer a way to participate in the offerings of local businesses in the safety of your own home.

Cookie Kits from the Frosting Fairy

White Christmas at Upcountry History Museum

The Upcountry History Museum opens it’s traveling exhibit “White Christmas” on November 14th, 2020 and it will run through January 30, 2021.

“Comprised of memorabilia from the permanent collection at the Rosemary Clooney House Museum in Augusta, Kentucky, – and the largest known White Christmas movie collection in the world – visitors can see original costumes worn by the movie’s stars, Rosemary Clooney, Bing Crosby, Vera-Ellen and Danny Kaye, as well as authentic props used in the film. Some of the more unforgettable items include the famous blue dresses worn by Clooney and Vera-Ellen when they sang “Sisters,” other costumes designed by legendary Oscar award-winning designer Edith Head, military uniforms worn by the stars during filming, as well as the very recognizable sleigh seen gliding across the snow carrying cheery revelers as the movie ends.”

White Christmas Exhibit at UHM, Photo Credit: Upcountry History Museum, used with permission.

Covid-19 Precautions: The Upcountry History Museum is not often crowded on week days. Families may find the less crowded, indoor location of UHM on weekdays to be comfortable as compared to busier indoor things to do.

You can also catch a virtual tour of the White Christmas exhibit every Wednesday at 2 pm for $10. Register in advance a tour link will be sent.

Admission to UHM:
$10 Adults, $9 Senior adults (ages 65 and up) and college students with valid ID, $8 Children age 4 to 18 and FREE Children age 3 and under
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
Sunday & Monday: Closed
Closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day

Go for a Holiday Walk

Upstate towns are decking the halls. Garland graces light posts, shops have pulled out their festive window displays, lights are lit and banners hung. Get out and enjoy the holiday decor along with some fresh air. You just might find a coffee shop with some delicious hot cocoa you can snag to-go for your walk.

Places to Find the Perfect Cup of Hot Cocoa in Greenville

In Downtown Greenville you’ll find some festive decor for viewing outdoors:

  • Poinsettia Postcards, December 4th -28th, 2020– School groups and local non-profits created and decorated holiday postcards which will be displayed throughout the Main Street plazas. Vote for your favorite online, or in person at 656 South Main Street.
  • Window Decorating Contest- Winners announced December 21, 2020. Greenville’s local shops will compete for the best holiday window display. Visitors and shoppers can enjoy the displays and vote for their favorites between December 9 and 19, 2020.

Some towns are offering shopping events and other holiday events. If you want to avoid crowds, plan a time to go that avoids these events.

Covid-19 Precautions: Lots of folks feel safer outdoors, and a walk through a town decorated for the holidays provides something festive you can do outside anytime you want. If you want that cup of cocoa and masks are a concern, you can scope out the location through those pretty windows before venturing inside.

Christmas on Trade Street in Greer, SC

Visit Santa

While the traditional methods of seeing Santa may not be on your family’s to do list for the 2020 season, there are some safer ways to go see jolly Old St. Nick. Here’s a list of Safer Ways to See Santa in 2020 in Greenville.

Covid-19 Precautions: Our list includes outdoor events, drive-thru options and indoor locations where precautions like masks, social distancing, and online reservations are in place.

Drive-Thru Christmas in Greenville

Many drive-thru style Christmas and holiday things to do are popping up in Greenville. Of course there are Christmas light drive-thru displays, but this year you’ll also find live nativities, drive-thru parades and holiday drive-in movies.

Christmas Lights

We enjoyed drive-thru Christmas light displays long before Covid-19 showed up and we’ll enjoy them long after. We have loads of drive -thru displays in our List of Places to see Christmas Lights in the Upstate. But, if you’re looking for something FREE, you’ll want to check out our Christmas Lights Upstate Driving Route. We’ll be updating it with the homes that are decorating in 2020 soon! (Look for the updated maps just before Thanksgiving.)

Covid-19 Precautions: Drive-thru events have become a staple of those trying to reduce the spread Covid-19, which makes drive-thru light displays pretty perfect. Many light displays are not including walk through portions this year or extras like Santa visits or petting zoo. If you visit a display with these features you can always just skip that portion if that makes your family more comfortable.

Find drive-thru light displays on our giant list of Places to See Christmas Lights.

Drive-Thru a Parade

Enjoy Gaffney’s Drive-Thru Christmas Parade from the comfort and safety of your family car! On December 4 from 6 to 7:30 pm, participants will line Limestone Street while spectators drive-thru and take in the parade from the safety of their vehicles.

Similarly, head to Heritage Park on December 6 at 3 pm for Simpsonville’s Annual Christmas Parade — drive-thru style! Enter the park on SE Main Street and exit the park on Howard Drive. This year’s theme is “Home for the Holidays” and each vehicle will get a chance to vote for the parade participant that best celebrates this theme.

Drive-Thru Live Nativity

See the Christmas Story from the safety of your own car at these drive-thru nativity events. Find more Live Nativity Events in Greenville on our list.

St. James Live Drive-thru Nativity– Saturday, December 5, 2020 at 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm, view the manger scene complete with animals from your car. St. James UMC, 213 N. Lanford Road, Spartanburg, SC. The nativity will be in the front of the church, off Savoy Street.

Drive-Thru Live Nativity at Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church- Saturday, December 4 and 5, 2020 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm

Not a live nativity but, Bob Jones University Christmas Lights and Nativity will be drive thru this year. In place of their annual Christmas Celebration, Bob Jones University welcomes the community to drive through campus to see Christmas lights and their nativity scene crafted by BJU alumnus and local sculptor Doug Young. The display is open December 4 through January 4 and can be access via the entrance on Wade Hampton Boulevard.

Kick Off Christmas with a Holiday Drive-In Movie

Denver Downs Farm hosts a drive-in screening of The Polar Express on December 5, 2020 from 5 – 7:30 pm. Get cozy around a bonfire and enjoy some socially distant family fun! Tickets are available for purchase at the gate (cash only). Hot chocolate and s’mores kits will also be available for purchase.

And if you can’t make the event at Denver Downs, there’s always the 25 Drive In Movie Theater. Located in Greenwood, about an hour south of Greenville, they’ve got some holiday movies scheduled, such as Frozen and Christmas Vacation.

Get a Car Wash and Enjoy Some Lights

On select dates in December, The Whatta Wash Car Wash in Greer is hosting a Christmas Car Wash Light Show! Most kids love the car wash. Toss in some magical lights and it will surely give them something to remember! For $20, you get a Sparkle Special wash and a light show. A portion of the proceeds will help buy toys and other items for PS I Love You Ministries. And if you bring a new toy, pack of diapers, or wipes to any location, your car gets free C4 Ceramic Glaze all month long.

Carol from the Comfort of Your Car

Don your most festive apparel, warm up your singing voice, and pull your sleigh in for an evening of carols and hot chocolate at Pleasant Valley Connection Teen Center’s Christmas Carols and Chocolate.  On December 17 at 4:30 pm, enjoy caroling and hot chocolate from the comfort of your “sleigh” (or car). This event is FREE, but guests are asked to leave a comment on the event’s Facebook page so there’s enough hot chocolate to go around.

Enjoy a Virtual Tea Party with the Nutcracker Ballet

Purchase a Virtual Tea Party Box with everything you need to enjoy a virtual Nutcracker Tea Party on December 20th, 2020 at 1:30 pm. Inside the boxes you’ll find a cup and saucer, a box of “Nutcracker Sweet Black Holiday Tea” bags for adults, hot chocolate for children, honey straws, a crystallized sugar stick, a decorated Nutcracker cookie, a Nutcracker cocktail napkin, Christmas place setting décor, and a keepsake IB Nutcracker ornament. Choose a box for grown-ups with lip balm, a box for little girls with a ballet hair-bow, or a box for boys with a bendable toy soldier. Children’s boxes will also include a Nutcracker sticker book. Each box will include one BINGO game and stamper to use during the virtual tea party. BINGO players may win a gift card. The virtual event will also include a traditional Nutcracker story read-aloud, and viewing a special performance of Nutcracker excerpts by IB Company dancers via the choreography of Artistic Director Vlada Kysselova!

Purchasing these boxes also supports other local businesses. Boxes include products from these local businesses: home-made cookies from Cakes by Shannon, hair-bows by Blaire Boutique, and lip balm by The Herb Garden.

Tom Sawyer Christmas Tree Farm

Visit a Christmas Tree Farm

Even if you’re not planning to buy a live Christmas Tree you can still visit a Christmas Tree Farm. Many have wreaths you can purchase for your door, or hot chocolate and treats you can enjoy at the farm. Enjoy a walk on the farm and that fresh Christmas Tree pine smell, then grab a tree or a wreath to bring home to enjoy.

Covid-19 Precautions: Christmas Tree Farms are another festive outdoor place you can visit without ever having to go indoors. Just check the weather and pack some snacks for a fun, family afternoon.

Photo Credit: AirBnb
Christmas Tree Cabin, Photo Credit: AirBnb

Holiday Getaway

AirBnb vacation rentals are a great way to relax and enjoy the season. Get cozy and enjoy the amenities of these mountain cabins for the holidays, or book one of these rentals near popular holiday destinations.

Covid-19 Precautions: Staying in rental homes versus hotels offers a few Covid-19 advantages. You won’t need to traverse through any public spaces like lobbies, elevators or stair wells to get to your accommodations. Many of the rentals in our mountain cabins list have so many amenities, like fire places, pool tables and hot tubs, that you could spend your entire vacation at the cabin and never see any other people. Perfect social distancing.

Still need more things to do? Or maybe you’re looking for the perfect gift? Find local holiday things to do, local gifts, experience gifts, places to see Santa and more all in our giant Holiday Guide to Greenville.

What is your family doing to celebrate the holidays in Greenville?

About the Author
Maria Bassett is a former school orchestra teacher, turned homeschool mom. She and her husband homeschool their 3 sons and 1 daughter, who range from 4th grade through 9th grade. Believing children learn best when they are engaged and having fun, this family loves to take their homeschool on the road, around Greenville and beyond.

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