charleston at christmas.

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Merry Christmas, friends!

Charleston is a two-hour drive away and some friends take their kids every year to see the Christmas decorations. Last week we decided to take a spontaneous day trip to check it out.

Here’s what constitutes a relaxing trip for me: not needing to pack. At all. No lunch. No snacks. Just a pack of wet wipes and a large bottle of water to share. Now that feels spontaneous!

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We couldn’t have asked for nicer weather: it was in the low 70’s and sunny.

We had two plans on the agenda: eat lunch at Xiao Bao Biscuit, our current favorite restaurant in Charleston, and see the Christmas decorations in the Charleston Place hotel.

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I know I’ve mentioned it before, but you guys, this place is amazing. I want to try everything on the menu. But the Okonomiyaki (Japanese pancake) is a must. We split three for the table, and added a fried rice with fish and avocado, which was delicious. Judah tolerated the spicy-ish Asian food. The other three gobbled it up!

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We left our car by the restaurant, and set out for downtown. The way we prepared our kids for the amount of walking we did was to say, “We always hike as a family — either it’s a forest hike or a city hike. Today we’re doing a city hike!” We walked five miles and the kids were amazing. Hardly a complaint. Noah will be five next week, so we’re ready to start increasing our distance in 2018.

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The winter train village in the Charleston Place hotel is magical. We spent a long time walking around and noticing all the details (the ski lift! The ice-skating rink!)

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The quiet neighborhoods of Charleston never fail to make me happy. I love the landscaping, the window boxes, the little secret gardens tucked away behind iron gates. I truly cannot imagine being responsible for the upkeep on one of these historic homes; so I’m happy to enjoy them as a tourist.

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Notice the holiday fruit arrangement above the door!

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We walked through the market in the center of town and stopped at our favorite candy shop on Market Street for free pecan praline samples. We let the kids each pick a snack from the candy counter (the grown-ups might have chosen a praline too) and then walked to the pier to eat.

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Yes, those are marshmallows on a stick, dipped in white chocolate and sprinkles.

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I love people-watching on the pier because you encounter people from all over the world. The seagulls are pretty great too!

David and I realized during our adventure that this was the first time Gabe and Noah have seen downtown Charleston. Judah and Amie haven’t been in years and hardly remembered it. I’m so glad we waited until now to do it as a family; the kids are at a perfect age to really enjoy it.

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We made it back to our car at 3:30, grabbed a cup of coffee/tea for the road, and made it home by 6:00. A perfect day!

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