National holiday on a Thursday? When Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday in November as a national holiday to be observed throughout the land he could guess at, but surely not foresee, its endurance or impact on our culture. He chose Thursday because it did not conflict with the sabbath days of the major religions. During the Great Depression, Franklin D. Roosevelt changed it to the fourth Thursday to give retailers more time to sell goods before Christmas, and there Thanksgiving has stayed.
As I sat, gathered with new friends around a long table, many miles from my original home I saw many classic dishes, familiar since childhood, that no Thanksgiving would feel authentic without. I mused on how iconic this shared experience had become. Across the many cultures and cuisines that comprise the tapestry of our nation, on this Thursday one could sit at any feast table in America and find a dish they recognized. There are many adaptations and ethnic variations on the standard menu but it is all about Comfort Food, belonging, coming home, participation and connection. The memories, anticipation, and fulfillment of Thanksgiving are celebrated in the American soul.
For those who travel frequently, major holidays sometimes find them far from loved ones. One can’t help but contemplate the meaning of Thanksgiving themes: home, family, belonging, and of course, favorite foods! Seasoned travelers will tell you that the best way to really enjoy any adventure is to get to know the locals, that “family” can be found or made most anywhere.
Greenville really knows how to do holidays, so come hang out with us! Trade stories. Break bread. Share in celebrations! Here at the Swamp Rabbit Inn we take pride in making our guests feel cozy, comfy, welcome, and ‘at home’. Our philosophy is really just an extension of the warmth of Greenville itself. We want you to feel at ease here and enjoy all that we have to offer. If you’re visiting Greenville during the winter holidays there are plenty of opportunities for festive, frosty fun and we Inn-vite you to join us! The following list should provide a good start for finding holiday cheer.
Greenville is noted for its delightful downtown. Main Street has decked its historic corridor for a wondrous winter and gets the party started with the Poinsettia Christmas Parade, Saturday, December 3rd from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The parade route stretches Main Street from Augusta St. to North St.
In anticipation of Chanukah, Chabad of Greenville and Home Depot are hosting a Menorah Workshop! Sunday December 4th, 2 – 3:30 p.m. Build your own menorah and make your own candles at this fun family event. Free with your RSVP. Traditional holiday music and refreshments and a free construction apron for your little builder. All children must be accompanied by an adult. Click on the link to sign up.
More for the kids, or the kid in you, Ice on Main is back! The outdoor skating rink is open now until Jan 16th 2017. United Community Bank Ice on Main is located on Village Green, in front of the Courtyard Marriott in downtown Greenville, adjacent to City Hall. Check the link for times and tickets.
Next, dive right into a megadose of seasonal décor at the Hyatt Regency for the annual St Francis Festival of Trees display. Need decoration inspiration, or just a rush of childlike awe? This is for you. On display from 12/1 – 12/28, the fest includes the Martinis and Mistletoe kickoff event on Thursday Dec. 1st at 7 p.m. (tix $50). The annual Teddybear Luncheon is on Saturday Dec. 3rd at 11 a.m. Bring a stuffed animal to donate and get a picture with Santa! (adults$15, children $10) All events at the Hyatt, 220 N Main Downtown.
There’s a great mix of live theater on Greenville’s stages this season from traditional standards to the downright edgy. A Miracle on 34th Street will make you believe in magic, Dec. 8th – 18th and Jingle All the Way will delight the children Dec. 13th – 17th, both found at Greenville Little Theater. The International Ballet accompanied by The Greenville Symphony Orchestra will provide the Russian fantasy of The Nutcracker at the Peace Center, Dec. 9th – 11th. Joyful voices rise for Christmas with the Chorale at Furman University, Dec. 9th at 7:30 and the 10th at 3 p.m. Kids will love A Charlie Brown Christmas, Dec. 2nd – 11th at the Peace Center’s Gunter Theater. For something more adult, In the Next Room (The Vibrator Play) is a comedy set in the 1880s at the dawn of electricity… What could go wrong? Playing at the Warehouse Theater, Dec. 2nd – 18th.
Speaking of electricity, how about some electric guitar? The Trans-Siberian Orchestra will stop at Bon Secours Arena on their winter tour to bring us their treasured tale, “The Ghosts of Christmas Eve” with all the light and sound to spark a winter night. Two performances on December 9, 4pm and 8pm. Click the link for tix.
Downtown Greenville Holiday Happening (Dec. 9th -11th) is where to get your gift shopping on! Peruse Main Street shops in an atmosphere filled with music, food, art and entertainments while taking advantage of many discounts and special promotions. The Swamp Rabbit Cafe kicks off the events on Saturday, December 6th with the Holiday FLEAs. The Food FLEA will be Saturday, 12/ 6 from 11am-3pm, and the Holiday FLEA will be Saturday, December 13 from 11am-3pm.
Savvy Restyle Market is hosting a pop-up Holiday Cottage shop on Saturdays Dec. 10th and 17th. Pop in at 107 N Main St. in Greer, from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. and shop among the 22 featured artisans’ wares.
Edible Upcountry Holiday Artisan Market will feature edible gift items at M. Judson Booksellers, 130 S Main. Dec. 10th, from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Check Judson’s Calendar for holiday story telling events as well.
Need a place to wear that ugly holiday sweater? Swamp Rabbit Brewery and Tap Room in Travelers Rest is hosting Fabulously Festive Holiday Sweater Party Dec. 23rd, 7 p.m. – Midnight. DJs will be spinning the jingle bell rock, and the Ellada Kouzina truck will be pulling up with the Greek eats!
Be dazzled by Roper Mountain Holiday Lights, now in its 25th year, nightly from now until Dec. 30th, 6:00 – 10:00 p.m. Proceeds from Holiday Lights benefit Rotary Charities and educational programming for the Roper Mountain Science Center.
If you want to get old-fashioned, hop on over to Fountain Inn and stroll into the Christmas Festival. A host of simple pleasures and classic holiday activities beginning with the Christmas Parade on Dec 7th at 5 p.m., and the Rudolph Run Dec 1st at 7 p.m. Click the link for various events through Dec 18th.
If you really want your socks knocked off visit TNT Holiday Light Display in Mauldin, SC from Dec. 1 – Jan. 1.
Whew! If all that does or doesn’t give you holiday overload, Greenville has all the ingredients and quiet nature spaces to saddle up your imaginary reindeer and go in search of a holiday magic to call your own. The Swamp Rabbit Inn, Lodge, and Cottages will be here for you when you need to warm up, crash, re-group and commence the reveling afresh! Do I hear jingle bells…?