A Collin County Guide to Family-Friendly Holiday Events

This time of year always illustrates just how big Collin County is getting—there are so many holiday events. Let’s have a look!

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Holiday events in Collin County Christmas events Plano

Remember to check ahead for cancellations or updated safety measures.

ONE-TIME OR LIMITED EVENTS

November 20 :: FTC Tree Lighting :: Fairview Town Center :: 6-8pm

Fairview Town Center is getting a NEW signature Christmas Tree for 2021, and they’re having a big party to celebrate. Interactive storytelling, magic show, character meet & greets, face painting, balloon twisters, strolling entertainers, Santa on stage, and more. One lucky kiddo will win the chance to light the tree with Santa! Details at the link. Free!


November 20 :: Light the Night :: Watters Creek :: 4:30-6:30pm

Get in the spirit with caroling, children’s holiday crafts, hot cocoa, and festive entertainment! KISS FM will emcee, and Santa arrives at 6:30pm to light the tree, a glittery display of 145,000 lights synchronized to music. Enjoy a fireworks show to end the evening. Free!


November 19 – 21 :: 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 Holiday Carnival, carriage rides, treats and vendors, Santa visits, and more. Free!


November 21 :: Lights at Legacy:: Plano

2021 TBA Come out to The Shops at Legacy for a drive-through experience featuring Santa and Mrs. Claus, the Sugar Plum Fairy, a Snow Queen, toy soldiers, a life-size Gingerbread Village, and more. Each vehicle will receive a gift bag of candy canes and goodies. See the link for the route details. Free!


November 26 – 28 :: Home for Holidays :: McKinney

Historic Downtown McKinney kicks off the season with a big weekend festival of live music, food, kids’ activities and crafts, Santa visits, and extended shopping hours in the 14-block area. SO many attractions: a Ferris wheel, carousel, snow hill, Frosty’s train, petting zoo, rock climbing wall, Candyland area, and more! Friday & Saturday: 10:30am-9pm, Sunday: 12noon-5pm. Free!


November 28 :: Whoville in the Homestead: Grinch-mas Party :: Grandscape :: 12-4pm

Come out for pictures with the Grinch, cookie decorating, ornament kids crafts, themed Whoville décor and photo ops, and more. Free!


December 1 :: Christmas on the Square :: Celina :: 5-9pm

Featuring live musical performances, amusements, food, and a dazzling tree lighting ceremony in the Historic Downtown Square. Family-friendly amusements include train rides, a live reindeer, bounce houses, and photo opportunities with Santa. Free!


December 2 :: Grand Menorah Lighting :: Watters Creek :: 4:30pm

Meet up on the Green for a public Chanukah celebration and Menorah lighting with Chabad of Allen & McKinney. They’ll have arts & crafts, traditional Chanukah foods, lively music, glow-in-the-dark Chanukah necklaces, and a grand Menorah Lighting ceremony. The event ends with an amazing Fire & LED show. See link for schedule of activities. Free!


December 2 :: Christmas in the Park :: Murphy :: 5:30-8pm

Holiday performances, food and craft vendors, kids’ activities, Santa pics, sidewalk parade, tree lighting at 5:45pm, and more. They ask that you bring a new, unwrapped toy for the annual toy drive benefitting the Collin County Advocacy Center. Free!


December 4 :: Breakfast With Santa :: Fairview Town Center :: 8 & 9:30am

Enjoy a buffet breakfast with fresh fruit, breakfast breads, egg casserole, French toast sticks, bacon, sausage, breakfast potatoes & tots, and juice or coffee. Kiddos get to do a craft project and receive a special gift from Santa at the event—and there are always some special surprises! Santa will visit your table, character-breakfast-style. Take your own photos! $25 per adult/$15 per child ages 2-10, kids under 2 free.


December 4 :: Wylie Arts Festival :: Downtown Wylie :: 9am-4pm

Shop for art, handmade crafts, and unique gifts at Olde City Park and FBC Wylie Event Center. They’ll have lots of festive fair foods, too. Admission and parking are free! Note: The annual Festival of Lights Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting will be the next evening, December 5 at 6pm.

*P.S.* Keep your fingers crossed that the KCS Holiday Express Christmas train will stop in Wylie this year!


December 4 :: Prosper Christmas Festival :: Prosper :: 3-7pm

This annual event in Downtown Prosper has a lot of kid-friendly activities, including a Fun Zone and the Kids’ Christmas Shoppe. They’ll also have tree lighting, performances, holiday shopping, and more. Note: The Rotary Club Christmas Parade is today at 2:30pm. See link for route. Free!


December 4 :: Holly Jolly Celebration :: Allen :: 3:30-7:30pm

The city of Allen brings extra cheer to their annual holiday celebration this year. The event kicks off with the Holly Jolly 5K, followed by hay rides, train rides, and lighting the dazzling 46-ft tree. See here for a map of the venue and a list of the MANY fun family activities you’ll find. Free!


December 4 :: Merry Main Street:: Frisco :: 3:30-10pm

Lots going on here including the famous Kids’ Holiday Store for ages 4-12, a Holiday Market, tree lighting, kids’ activities, music, parade, and more. Tickets/reservations required in advance for the Kids’ Holiday Store ($12 per child). Get those at the link above. Festival is free!


December 4 :: Dickens 2021 :: Downtown Plano :: 5pm

This family celebration in Historic Downtown Plano’s Arts District is back with all our favorites, including free s’mores, vendors, a real snow slide, ice wars, and much more. And they’ve added a Victorian twist this year, with Scrooge, Victorian music and entertainment, and free photos with a Victorian Santa. Don’t miss the tree lighting ceremony in Haggard Park at 7pm. Free!


December 4 :: Tree Lighting & Holiday Festivities :: Princeton :: 5:30-9pm

Come out to Veterans Memorial Park for the City of Princeton’s holiday celebration featuring music, pictures with Santa, ice skating, bounce houses, a Christmas Parade, and more. They’ll have Feed the Community and Toys for Tots drives, too. Free!


December 4 :: Magic of Lights :: Little Elm :: 6-10pm

December 4 will be the only FREE night to be in the park during the holiday season. This night will be a walk-thru event, not drive-thru. Watch the parade, look at all the displays, and enjoy the annual tree lighting ceremony. No ticket needed on this night only. Note: For the rest of the season, tickets are required for the Magic of Lights drive-thru in the park. See link for details and to purchase tickets.


December 4 :: Christmas Parade & Tree Lighting Ceremony :: Flower Mound :: 6-9pm

This year’s parade theme will be “The North Pole.” Watch lighted floats parade down Spinks Road to Gerault Park for the tree lighting ceremony with choir performances, pictures with Santa, activities for kids, local vendors, food trucks, fireworks, and more. See additional details at the link. Free!


December 4 :: Cookies With Santa:: Fairview Town Center :: 7pm

Meet Santa while you enjoy a gourmet cookie and hot beverage bar (cocoa and cider).Think of it as a character meet and greet; there are no formal photos on Santa’s lap, but take lots of your own! Santa will visit each table during the event and share a story with the children after he visits. Each child will receive a special gift. $20 per person; kids under 2 free.


December 4 – 5 :: Christmas in the Village :: McKinney :: 10am-5pm

Heritage Village at Chestnut Square gets in the spirit of things with holiday décor, live Christmas music, letters to Santa, kids’ crafts, gift market, a surprise guest, and more! For safety, almost everything is outdoors. 4-8pm. Get tickets at the link; $10 per person or $35 per family (up to 5 people).

Also this weekend: Tour six beautiful, decorated private residences in Historic Downtown McKinney, PLUS 2 BONUS homes for the famed Holiday Tour of Homes. See link for more details and to purchase tickets.


December 4 – 5 :: Journey to Bethlehem :: FUMC Plano

See the Christmas story come to life at this walk-through nativity event at First United Methodist Church Plano. It’s outdoors, so be sure to dress for the weather. Make online reservations to secure a specific time. Saturday: 6-9pm, Sunday: 5-8pm. Free!


December 5 :: Chanukah Celebration :: Frisco :: 4-6pm

Chabad of Frisco hosts their annual community event in Frisco Square this evening. They’ll have a giant menorah lighting, live music, food & drinks (including hot latkes and donuts), trackless train, crafts, and more. It’s outside, so dress accordingly! Free!


December 8 :: Sachse Christmas Extravaganza :: Sachse :: 6-8:30pm

The evening begins with a parade and tree lighting in front of City Hall, followed by visits with Santa in the City Hall rotunda, cookies, story time, a petting zoo, train rides around the complex, and a Winter Wonderland surprise you won’t want to miss. Free!


December 11 :: Journey to Christmas Live Nativity :: Plano :: 4-9pm

One night only this year! Head to St. Paul Lutheran for a trip through the interactive Bethlehem Village and six lively scenes leading up to the birth of Christ. This year they’ll have story time with live camels at 4pm, followed by petting zoo time and Advent crafts. They ask that you please RSVP at the link to let them know you’re coming. Tours starts at 5pm. Free!


December 11 :: Parade of Lights :: McKinney :: 6:30pm

This annual Rotary Club parade features an emcee, decorated floats, McKinney ISD drill teams and bands, antique fire trucks, and of course, Santa. The 2021 theme is “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” and the route forms a big loop downtown along Tennessee and Kentucky Streets. Ride the free trolley to avoid parking hassles. Free!


December 12 :: The Legacy North Pole :: Shops at Legacy :: 11am-2pm

Take a ride down the 10-ft. ice slide today (for kids and adults!). They’ll also have snow areas for free play, promotions from surrounding businesses, music, letters to Santa, and more. Make reservations for photos with Santa and get tickets for the ice slide here.


December 17 – 18 :: Holidays at the Heard :: McKinney :: 6-9pm

Bundle up to see lights and holiday décor as you walk the 1/2-mile Heard nature trail. Live festive music will delight audiences under the stars in the Heard outdoor amphitheater. More event details to come. Ticket info at the link.


December 18 :: Stories With Santa :: Legacy Hall in Plano

Join Collin County Moms at Legacy Hall for a get-together filled with holiday cheer. Lots of details to come on planned activities, Santa story times, and other fun details. We’ll update here and on our social channels as soon as tickets go on sale. Hope to see ya there!

 

ONGOING EVENTS

November 12 to January 2:: Christmas at Gaylord Texan :: Grapevine

Marvel at the two million twinkling lights, 15,000 ornaments, and dozens of lavish holiday displays filling the vast hotel atrium. They have cute activities like the new Mission: Save Christmas featuring Elf™ immersive experience, outdoor lantern and light walkthrough, a Christmas carousel, snow tubing, and more. Lots more details on the many activities and ticket packages at their site.


November 18 to January 2 :: The Elf on the Shelf’s Magical Holiday Journey :: Arlington :: 5-8pm

After a sold-out run in Los Angeles last year, this one-of-a-kind, open-air experience is coming to Choctaw Stadium in Arlington (formerly Globe Life Park). Join the elves on a quest to collect the ingredients for Christmas Spirit, as you and your elf-loving crew magically shrink down to elf size and embark on a journey through twinkling wonderlands to set Santa and Christmas back on course. Tickets from $19.95 and may vary based on date.


November 19 to January 2 (select dates) :: Holiday in the Park :: Six Flags Over Texas, Arlington

Each year, Six Flags over Texas is transformed into a winter wonderland with sparkling lights, festive decorations, seasonal treats, plus lots of activities, rides, and heartwarming shows. Tons more details at the link.


November 19 to January 3 :: Christmas in the Square :: Frisco

Frisco has newly upgraded holiday lights set to music on 107.3FM (and piped in through speakers), shopping all around the square, and an outdoor ice rink. Lights and music go from 6-10pm. Skating is $15 per person, with our without your own skates.


November 20 to January 2 :: Christmas at the Beach :: Little Elm

Lots of ongoing holiday fun in Little Elm, including the Magic of Lights drive-thru experience in Little Elm Park, Beard Park Christmas visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus, and Santa Land, a village in Little Elm Park with elves and tons of fun. See links for various dates and details. Get Magic of Lights tickets here!


November 22 to December 18 :: Cowboys Christmas Extravaganza :: Frisco :: 6pm

If you’re a “Go, Cowboys!” family, or if you just want more synchronized choreography in your life, head to the The Star in Frisco. They’ll host a weekly holiday performance, showcasing the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, Dallas Cowboys Rhythm and Blue Dancers and Drumline, appearances by Santa, Rowdy, special guests, and more. Fridays and Saturdays only. Parking and admission are free.


November 22 to January 9 :: Christmas Capital of Texas :: Grapevine

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), a North Pole Neighborhood, and lots more Christmas events.


November 30 to December 23 :: Holiday Performance Showcase :: Fairview Town Center

Come enjoy the sounds of the season on The Park Stage at Fairview Town Center. From choirs to carolers to dancers to bands and much, much more. See link for performance times and a schedule of acts by date. Free!


December 4-5, 9-12, and 16-19 :: Santa’s Village :: Richardson :: 6-9 pm

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. Free!

Katie grew up in Dallas and then spent 10 post-college years in Austin, where she and her husband Mick welcomed a daughter and son (in 2011 and 2013). They've since moved to Fort Worth and find it to be quite fun and a great place for kids. Katie is horrible at social media but secretly likes Twitter best. Favorite uses for her phone: reading library books and listening to comedy podcasts. Least favorite uses: making and receiving calls. If you've seen Death Becomes Her or Big Business more than once, you'll be best friends.

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