Brad and Tookie Harrop of Moncks Corner have a system.

Each year on the day of Charleston's tree lighting and Holiday Parade of Boats, they gather friends and family and head to the peninsula.

They park a couple of cars on Murray Boulevard along the Charleston Harbor, then drive the others as close as they can to Marion Square.

This year, they watched the three kings find their lost camels -- yes, there were three live camels in Marion Square -- and saw Santa arrive to help Mayor Joe Riley light up the 60-foot Tree of Light, then they headed to watch the boat parade.

While they waited for the 30-plus lighted vessels to reach their viewing area, they feasted on red velvet cupcakes and fresh hot chocolate brewed up on a camping stove in the back of their sport utility vehicle.

"We have a big family and we just enjoy doing this together," said Tookie Harrop.

Down the road a little ways, the Cross family of Mount Pleasant also had been to multiple holiday events. They spent a couple hours at Daniel Island's Holiday Festival, which this year included an outdoor skating rink, watching some friends perform.

That made for a long day, said Trey Cross, who watched the boat parade with his wife, Heidi, and son Henry, 4, while sitting under blankets in folding chairs in the back of a pickup truck.

Henry Cross was restless when the boat parade started.

"I thought they'd never get here," he said.

The family brought a picnic dinner to eat while they waited.

"We knew we'd be here a while, but he was really starting to lose interest," said Trey Cross. "We almost had to go home before we even saw the first boat."

Many holiday festivities were held around the Lowcountry on Saturday, a clear day with temperatures near 70 degrees.

"It was such a beautiful day to be outside," said Heidi Cross. "I would have felt guilty if we didn't go somewhere."

North Charleston also kicked off festivities with a holiday market that included children's activities, craft vendors, food and entertainment. A Christmas parade was followed by the tree lighting and more entertainment.

Christmas parades made their way through the streets in both Hanahan and St. George, and Goose Creek held its annual Celebration and Craft Show, which included an appearance by former Goose Creek resident and current professional baseball player Justin Smoak.

Festivities continue today with Charleston's Tri-County Fire Chiefs Parade, which starts at 2 p.m. at Calhoun and Meeting streets and goes down King Street to Broad Street to Lockwood Drive.

The Moncks Corner Christmas Parade begins at 3 p.m. at Berkeley High School and ends at Main Street Extension, followed by the tree-lighting with Santa at 5:15 p.m. at Unity Park on Main Street.