A Lowcountry Christmas

The Festival of Lights on James Island. Photo by Wade Spees/The Post and Courier

The Festival of Lights on James Island. Photo by Wade Spees/The Post and Courier

Over at our home on James Island, the Christmas season always arrives with a dazzling display of lights — thousands upon thousands of vehicle tail lights and headlights slowly snaking through the island to the Festival of Lights at James Island County Park.
Every year I look at those lines of cars, literally miles long at times, filled with hundreds of festive families willing to wait hours for a magical holiday evening at the grandly illuminated park, and I think: Boy, there’s got to be some way to make money of that line of cars. A mobile hot cocoa stand? Roving entertainment troupe? “I survived the ride” T-shirts? Portable potties wheeled along the line of bumper-to-bumper vehicles?
One year I’ll crack the code, but until then, I’ll continue with my own family’s holiday tradition: Look for the biggest break in traffic and scoot over to the park for our own dose of holiday cheer.
Of course, we “Jim Islanders” don’t have a monopoly on such Reindeer Games. Hundreds — possibly thousands — of holiday happenings will unfold in the Lowcountry over the next few weeks, from Awendaw down to Hollywood, from Summerville all the way into downtown Charleston, and everywhere in between. Families and friends will bundle up and head to religious observances, municipal parades, concerts, parties and even holiday-themed 5K runs. To help you keep track of it all, we’ve gathered some of the biggest family-friendly holiday events.

Matt Winter
Manager of Niche Content and Design, The Post and Courier
Editor, Lowcountry Parent

Where to begin?

When it comes to preparing for, dealing with and living through pregnancy and the birth of a child, men are bit players. Moms-to-be and their teams of doctors and nurses handle the serious business.
And things can get serious in a hurry. The birth of my son, which took place three weeks earlier than expected and involved a few anxious days in the neonatal intensive care unit, left me with a profound sense of gratitude that we live when and where we do, with access to such sophisticated medical care.
Novice dads (as I was), can use all the advice they can get, including: “Be more supportive and thoughtful than you’ve ever been in your life,” and “Learn enough about the medical issues involved to be able to help make critical decisions.”
“Forget about what you see in movies,” and “Your life is about to change, completely,” would be two more worthwhile tips.
But, again, a dad’s road is the much easier one.
Women face a bewildering set of choices and considerations covering a broad range of intensely personal and life-changing matters.
Clearly, many of the most critical issues remain the purview of trusted family members and medical personnel. But what about everything else? For the uninitiated, the sheer volume of decisions generated during pregnancy, childbirth and the first few weeks of infant care comes as a shock. Where does one even begin? What to buy — car seats, bottles, breast pumps, etc. — and where to buy it. How to pick a day care. What about baby photographers, prenatal fitness and postpartum depression?
To help moms-to-be make sense of it all, Lowcountry Parent’s Katie Hurst has put together a comprehensive and locally sourced guide to pregnancy and childbirth. We know you have questions. For some answers, click here.

Losing Nemo


AP/Walt Disney Pictures/Pixar

A few weeks ago, we launched an interesting new project for Lowcountry Parent. Katie Hurst, our niche content editor, started a new blog on our redesigned website, YourLCP.com.
The blog, “Tattletale,” gives you a chance to share and explore, without fear of judgment or embarrassment, some of the challenges we all face as parents. Simply type up a submission and send it to editor@lowcountryparent.com; if it strikes a nerve, we’ll post it on the blog while withholding the submitter’s identity. Continue reading “Losing Nemo” »

Teaching kids to swim


Our own Warren Peper delivered this this sweet, My Charleston Today story on a local effort to teach kids in a rural community how to swim. It always seems a great shame whenever kids are afraid to swim, especially here in the Lowcountry where the beaches are such an integral part of life for so many.

I had a grown coworker once who confided in me that as a child, he spent quite some time walking the edge of a local pool while all the other kids swam and played. He was deathly afraid of drowning, and continued to avoid water into adulthood.

I can’t think of anything more worthwhile than helping children overcome their fears.

Family road trip

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image23584374In the middle of our first long-distance road trip with our toddler. My grand idea was to drive through the night so he would sleep and we would avoid hours of unhappy baby in car seat.

By about 3 am, I started regretting that decision… But we made it safe and sound to our our nation’s capital. Wonder if anyone has an opinion here. Drive through night and let baby sleep or slam the coffee and drive on?