Living in Charleston, SC year-round can get sort of boring during some parts of the year. If you aren't at least 21, there isn't all that much to do other than the same old thing every day.
There are a few extra ideas you can do during the Christmas season, thankfully. Some of the ideas are great to show people that aren't normally in the area and there are many group ideas!
Overall though, there are plenty of family-friendly events and activities during the holiday season.
One of the best things to do around this time of the year is going to the Festival of Lights at the James Island County Park. It is a whole light show that you drive slowly through with your headlights off (though most people don't turn their headlights off anymore and thus ruin it for people). It takes about 30-60 minutes to go through all the lights if there is a high abundance of people there at once.
It really depends on how many cars stop and take a picture of every single light they see. There are also three parking lots that allow you to get out and walk around and look at some lights as well.
You can make s'mores, look at some cool artwork, check out the sand castle, take a train around the park, and so much that you should go and look at! Kids also have the opportunity to meet and get pictures taken with Santa, so I would highly suggest bringing little kids.
Another option is to go Downtown and walk through Marion Square and look at the Christmas Tree of Lights. It's this massive tree in the middle of the park that has hundreds of lights and it takes them a few days to put together.
The whole outside of the park is lined with lights as well! It is quite a beautiful sight to see.
While in Downtown Charleston, you can also walk through the College of Charleston campus and look at the Cougar Night Lights. The Cougar Night Lights take place in the Cistern Yard from the hours 6 p.m.-9 p.m. every day of the week.
If you're looking for a more historical theme, you could head on over to Middleton Place. It is a plantation where you can walk around, get a tour of the plantation or of the house, pet some cute animals, and enjoy their little gift shop.
They also have a restaurant that is decorated with lights! You can also stay at the beautiful Middleton Place Inn on the plantation for a more active experience that gives you admission onto the plantation, just a short walk from your room.
If you just want something small you can go to Downtown Summerville and they have a small little area lit up all pretty with a Christmas tree and other stuff.
There is also plenty of small boutiques to walk around and explore. Try some of the dining options that are in the area as well; most are small, family-owned places.