A Collin County Guide to Family-Friendly Holiday Events

There are so many good holiday events in Collin County this year, it’ll be hard to narrow down which ones you want to attend. To help, we’ve divided things into two categories: one-time-only events and ongoing seasonal activities.

And for even MORE holiday happenings in the metroplex, check out our Dallas Guide to Family-Friendly Holiday Events over on Dallas Moms.

Holiday events in Collin County Christmas events Plano

ONE-OFF EVENTS

November 23 :: Light the Night :: Allen :: Join emcee Billy the Kidd (KISS FM) at Watters Creek for complimentary carriage rides, kids’ crafts, caroling, face painting, and more. At 6:30, they light the 30-ft. tree and glittering display synchronized to music and topped with a fireworks show. Free!

November 24 :: Lights at Legacy :: Plano :: Come out to The Shops at Legacy for free rides on the Christmas Train, caricature artists, face painters, balloon artists, toy soldier stilt walkers, little drummer boys, a “rad hatter” station, performances, and more. You can come early (2pm) to party with Mrs. Claus or watch The Grinch with Santa. 4-7pm, tree lighting at 6:30pm. Free!

November 29 to December 1 :: Home for Holidays in McKinney :: Historic Downtown McKinney kicks off the season with a weekend of live Christmas music, dancing, costumed characters, petting zoo, kids’ activities and crafts, a Ferris wheel, carousel, Santa, shopping, and more! This is a big event; lots more info at the link. Friday & Saturday: 10:30am-9pm, Sunday: noon-5pm. Free!

November 29 to December 1 :: Christmas in the Square Opening Weekend :: Frisco :: This one-time event brings us all the lights, music, and ice skating you can expect at Frisco’s ongoing Christmas in the Square festivities detailed below, plus special performances, a trackless train, holiday treats and vendors, Santa visits, and more. Santa literally parachutes in at 4:15pm, and the event runs from 5-10pm. Free!

November 30 :: Gates of Proser Annual Tree Lighting :: Prosper :: Our lovely sponsors have a tree lighting party this evening with Santa, live reindeer, face painting, balloon twisters, a KLAK live remote broadcast, and more. Free goody bags for kids under 12 and free cupcakes for the early birds – see link for details! 5-8pm. Free!

December 1 :: Wylie Festival of Lights Parade and Tree Lighting :: Formerly part of the Wylie Arts Festival, and now a standalone event on a different weekend. Find a spot on Ballard for parade (one of several FBW Christmas events) and then head to Olde City Park for the tree lighting, with local bands and choirs and the Mayor reading “The Night Before Christmas.” Parade is at 6pm, tree lighting immediately following. Free!
*P.S.* The KCS Holiday Express Christmas train will not stop in Wylie this year. Hopefully next year!

December 4 :: Christmas on the Square Celina :: More details coming soon on Celina’s annual event in the Historic Downtown Square. 5-8pm. Free!

December 5 :: Christmas in the Park :: Murphy :: If you live in Murphy, check out their 11th annual holiday event with sidewalk parade & tree lighting, kids’ activities, live reindeer, holiday performances, marshmallow roasting, and more. 5:30-8pm. Free!

December 6 :: Dickens in Downtown Plano :: This family celebration takes place in the Historic Downtown Plano Arts District and features live entertainment, strolling carolers, Polar Express fun at the Interurban Museum, horse-drawn carriage rides, lots of cool holiday activities, and the annual tree lighting ceremony at Haggard Park. 5-9pm, tree lighting at 7pm. Free!

December 6 :: Holly Jolly Celebration :: Allen :: The City of Allen has expanded their annual tree lighting celebration for 2019. It will feature a dazzling 46-ft tree, live entertainment, a visit from Santa and his elves, and a bunch of new festivities and surprises. 5-9pm.

December 7 :: Richardson Christmas Parade :: On Saturday morning, come watch the 47th year of the Richardson Christmas Parade. The parade begins at 9am and will travel north from Richardson Square shopping center on Plano Road to Apollo Road. Did we mention Dallas Moms and Collin County Moms will be in the parade? Come see us!! Free!

December 7 :: Prosper Christmas Festival :: Prosper :: This annual event has moved back downtown and is bigger than ever. It starts with a Christmas parade at 2:30pm, followed by rides, games, shopping, food trucks, performances, Santa’s Workshop, and more. See here for Things To Do, including lots of kid-friendly fun. 3-7pm. Free!

December 7 :: Merry Main Street :: Frisco :: Lots to do at Merry Main Street: Breakfast with Santa in the morning and an evening event featuring Santa, the Kid’s Holiday Store, a Holiday Market, tree lighting, kids’ activities, choirs, and more. Tickets/reservations required for Breakfast with Santa and the Kid’s Holiday Store. 4-9pm.

December 7 :: Journey to Bethlehem :: Plano :: See the Christmas story come to life at this drive-thru nativity event at First United Methodist Church. NOTE FROM FUMC: Because of the overwhelming response of last year’s event, we have made several changes to our living nativity. We will welcome the first 500 cars to experience the story of Jesus’ birth with live animals, actors, and beautiful music. Plano police will be present to help handle the traffic and prevent line-cutting. 5:30-8:30pm. Free!

December 7-8 :: Holiday Tour of Homes :: McKinney :: It’s the 46th anniversary of this famed Chestnut Square event. Take a self-guided tour of a collection of private homes in the Historic District that have been all dressed up for Christmas. Cap your tour off with a lovely Holiday Tea or Brunch (advance purchase required). See link for dates/times and booking info.

December 13-14 :: Holidays at the Heard :: McKinney :: Bundle up to see lights and holiday décor as you walk the Heard nature trail. Kids can take pics with Father Christmas and Mother Nature, too. More event details to come. 6:30-9:30pm. Ticket info at the link.

December 14 :: Plano Lions Christmas Parade :: Plano :: Festive floats, flags, firetrucks, clowns, Santa and more! Every Plano high school marching band, drill team, cheer squad and JROTC will be there along with many, many more local groups. See link for parade route details. 9-11am.

December 14 :: Stories With Santa :: Plano :: Legacy Hall hosts a fun little get-together with letters to Santa, a life-size snow globe photo opp, cookie decorating, and 2 Santa storytime sessions in the Box Garden. 10am-12pm, stories at 10am and 11am. Free!

December 14 :: Caroling on the Square :: McKinney :: Right before the parade (next on the list) you can carol the square with the folks at Hall Library. Sing holiday songs while walking through historic downtown. Classic. 4:30-6:30pm. Free!

December 14 :: Christmas Parade of Lights :: McKinney :: This annual parade features an emcee, decorated floats, McKinney ISD drill teams and bands, antique fire trucks, and of course, Santa. The 2019 theme is “A Hometown Christmas” and the route forms a big loop downtown along Tennessee and Kentucky Streets. Ride the free trolley to avoid parking hassles. 6:30pm. Free!

December 22 :: Chanukah Celebration :: Frisco :: Chabad of Frisco hosts their annual community event in Frisco Square this evening. They’ll have a giant menorah lighting, music, food & drinks (including hot latkes and donuts), a balloon artist, bounce houses, kid crafts, and more. It’s outside, so dress accordingly! 4-5:30pm. Free!

December 23 :: Festival of Lights Menorah Lighting :: Plano :: Join the Chabad of Plano/Collin County at Willow Bend as they share the message of the Festival of Lights (2019 new location: 1st floor, Dillard’s Court). Live DJ, Hanukkah-themed STEM activities, hot latkes, chocolate gelt, and more! 6:15pm. Free!

ONGOING EVENTS

November 15 through January 5 :: Lots going on over in Grapevine at the Gaylord Texan for Lone Star Christmas and ICE! featuring A Charlie Brown Christmas. Try the holiday Escape Rooms, cookies and caroling with Mrs. Claus, the outdoor ice rink, Santa’s Snow Throw, ice tubing, photos with Santa, and more. The biggest draw here is ICE!, the ultra-cool/ultra-cold sculptural wonderland. Pretty much everything requires its own ticket, but there are package deals to be had. Bonus: kids under four are free for many activities.

November 16 through December 24 :: Visit Cabela’s (now owned by Bass Pro Shop) in Allen to find a magically decorated Santa’s Wonderland with free crafts, games, and activities and free Santa photos!

November 22 through December 21 :: If you’re a “Go Cowboys!” family, or if you just want more synchronized choreography in your life, head to the Cowboys Christmas at The Star at The Star in Frisco. It’s a weekly holiday performance showcasing the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, Dallas Cowboys Rhythm and Blue Dancers and Drumline, appearances by Santa, special guests, and more. Fridays and Saturdays only, 6pm. Parking and admission are free.

November 23 through January 2 :: Handmade Holidays at the Crayola Experience in Willow Bend features extra holiday-themed activities in addition to the usual attractions. Create an elf with Crayola Model Magic and color and craft a handmade pop-out card. Included with admission.

November 23 through January 5 (select dates) :: Holiday in The Park at Six Flags is full of holiday fun, like a Lone Star light show set to music, Deep in the Heart of Christmas (a light canopy of the Texas flag with Texas-sized ornaments), Merry Marketplace, Frosty Snow Hill, and an abundance of twinkling Christmas trees, including a big ‘ole 60-footer. All that in addition to the usual Six Flags rides and roller coasters, of course. Tickets start at $64.99; kids under two are free.

November 25 to December 24 :: Grapevine is the “Christmas Capital of Texas,” so you should hop over to their site and take a look at everything they’ve got scheduled. The North Pole Express at Grapevine Vintage Railroad is a SUPER HOT TICKET. They also have parades (on land and water), Christmas Passport – Elf Adventure, and lots more Christmas events.

November 29 to January 6 :: Christmas in the Square in Frisco has a little bit of everything: holiday lights set to music on 107.3FM, an outdoor ice rink, carriage rides, Santa, and a Christmas tree maze. Lights and music go from 6-10pm. Skating is $12 per person; carriage rides are $6 per person. See here for select dates and deets for the various activities.

November 30 through January 5 :: Great Wolf Lodge transforms into Snowland, with a life-sized gingerbread house and nightly snow showers in the Grand Lobby. They’ve got a bunch of holiday stuff planned, including visits with Santa, a hot cocoa bar, dance parties, and all new Frosty Fest activities . And I haven’t even mentioned the 84-degree water park part. Book your hotel stay or day pass online here.

December 4-18 :: Wednesdays in December are for the Legacy Hall’iday Movie Series featuring beloved classics on the big screen. Grab some food and watch Home Alone (12/4), Elf (12/11), and How the Grinch Stole Christmas (12/18). Showtimes at 7pm.

December 4-18 :: Wednesdays in December are ALSO for Studio Movie Grill Holiday Classics. For $5 you can watch a different movie each week at their Plano location: Polar Express, Christmas Vacation, A Christmas Story, and Elf (that last one is on 12/23 since Wednesday is Christmas). Showtimes at 7:15pm.

December 7-8, 13-15, and 20-22 :: Santa’s Village is a great kid-friendly evening activity on the grounds of the Richardson Public Library. Stroll through 16 dwellings, each with a special craft, snack, or activity for children to enjoy (including Santa’s house & workshop). Live entertainment on Prancer’s Stage. 6-9pm. Free!

Thanks again to The Gates of Prosper for sponsoring this guide!

Katie Lewis
Katie grew up in Dallas, went to SMU, and spent 10 post-college years in Austin, where she and her husband Mick welcomed Gemma in 2011 and Ryker in 2013. They all moved to central Fort Worth almost 4 years ago and have found it to be quite fun and a great place for kids. Katie is horrible at social media but will admit to a preference for her Twitter timeline these days. Favorite uses for her phone: reading library books and listening to comedy podcasts. Least favorite uses: making and receiving calls. She's forever down to watch any show that's British, supernatural, or on The CW. If you can quote Death Becomes Her, Big Business, or the 1987 Shelley Long flop Hello Again, please get in touch because you are most certainly kindred spirits.

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