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Freeloaders: The holiday shopping fiscal cliff looms

The week's best freebies, Dec. 3-9



If you, like us, are trying not to go over your own fiscal cliff this holiday season, then these free events will be the perfect way to fill your schedule.

Monday. If you missed the downtown tree lighting ceremony, head to the Forest Park Christmas Tree Lighting in West Ashley or the Tree Lighting on James Island. But we can't promise there will be a bucking giraffe to frighten the kiddies like there was in Marion Square this past weekend. If you're in Goose Creek, there's a Christmas Celebration for you too.

Tuesday. The Charleston Music Club presents its Holiday Carol Fest. Loretta Haskell's organ music is featured at this week's installment of the St. Luke's Recital Series.

Wednesday. Polish your resume and cover letter at the Charleston County Public Library's one-on-one help sessions. Once your brain is warmed up, test your knowledge at the Live Team Trivia at Kickin' Chicken.

Thursday. Global development, soft power, and the fiscal cliff: not sure what that's all about? Michael Gerson, Senior Advisor at an international NGO working on issues of poverty, will present on these topics and more at the Citadel. Then, learn about wind energy initiatives in Charleston with Nicholas Rigas, director of renewable energy at the Restoration Institute. Share a few drinks after work and meet the folks of the Charleston International Film Festival at L.I.F.E Bar. Browse apparel and more at the Cavortress Vintage Pop-Up Shop.

Friday. Find plenty of new exhibits debuting on this month's First Fridays on Broad. Get pampered at the Holiday Happy Hour at the Spa. Physician's Plan in West Ashley will offer a free skin consultation as well as demos of Clarisonic and the Obagi Reveal Camera. Yeah, we don't know what that is either. Then, catch a free horse-drawn carriage ride around Mt. Pleasant Towne Centre. Or, attend the Ashley Hall Christmas Play, which is celebrating its 88th year of production.

Saturday. Santa is so overrated. Get your picture taken with the Grinch instead out in Moncks Corner. Then, check off your shopping list a the Holiday Artist Market at the Music Farm. Local artists and designers will be selling everything from jewelry to stationery and children's clothing. Saturday afternoon, learn about eco-bio-architecture at the Bio-Logical Architecture: Past, Present, Future Symposium presentation by Linda Weintraub and William Katavolos. In the evening, head to the beach for the Isle of Palms Holiday Street Festival.

Sunday. Listen to ukulele tunes at the V-Tones Holiday Spectacular. Then, meet a handful of authors including Mark Sloan, Tom Poland, Anne Sinkler, Whaley LeClercq and Alexander Moore at the Preservation Society Holiday Book signing. Stop by Chanukah in the Square for music, dancing, and traditional Chanukah foods. The nine-foot menorah is sure to be a site to see as well.

Then round off the weekend with a stroll down King to gaze at the holiday window decor. That's free every day of the week.

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