A Collin County Mom’s Guide to the Month of December

Welcome to December! If you haven’t already, I’m going to insist you pop over to our Guide to Winter Holiday Events after this. It has tons of activities, light displays, performances, and more. So many family-friendly ideas, and not just Christmas stuff.

To everyone reading, thank you! This time of year can be a lot, emotionally—beautiful and stressful and fun and bittersweet and joyful. We’re with ya. And we hope each one of you finds peace, kinship, and meaningful moments as 2021 comes to a close.

things to do in plano december

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Remember to check ahead for current safety protocols and cancellations.


Dinosaurs Live! at the Heard continues. Walk the trails and hear the life-size animatronic dinosaurs roar, then get hands-on in the outdoor fossil dig. Check out the “Texas Nessie” exhibit while you’re there! Tickets are $12/adults, $9/ages 3-12. 2 & under are free.


Immerse yourself in The FRIENDS Experience at Willow Bend until January 17. Interactive set recreations, original props and costumes, photo ops, a retail store, and Central Perk (but of course). See link to purchase advance tickets.


Mrs. Claus reads stories outside at Legacy West every half hour on Saturdays this month. Find her near the Nike store. 12–5pm. Free!


Watters Creek in Allen offers Elves, Inc. To-Go again this year. Pick up holiday craft project supplies + a special treat! Projects are geared for children preschool through elementary aged. While supplies last. Pick up from 11am–7pm. Free!

DECEMBER 3–5 & 10–12

Genesis Theater in Plano presents Disney’s 101 Dalmatians, Kids for all ages. Afternoon and evening showtimes available. Tickets $12–$15.


It’s the first-ever Merry and Bright at the Boardwalk extravaganza in Plano. Enjoy a fully immersive winter wonderland photo op, holiday market, a violinist, and Santa pics. Bring toys to donate to Toys for Tots. 11am–3pm. Free!


Free Hayrides at Allen Heritage Village! Rides begin at the Allen Public Library parking lot and go through the Allen Heritage Village Circle. Gorgeous, majestic colors contained within the Allen Christian Church’s stained glass windows will radiate like those of European cathedrals. Ok then! Allen Heritage Guild will distribute candy to all guests. 4:30–7:30pm. Free!


Jump Into Art Studios in McKinney has a Santa’s Workshop today where kids from first grade through high school can create 8 different homemade gifts. What a cute idea. Everyone completes their 8 gifts and brings home tissue paper and ribbon to wrap them. All supplies provided. 2-hour workshops, see link for available time slots. $80.

December 4, 11, & 18

The Village at Allen presents Holiday Movie Nights, a drive-in movie series showing A Christmas Carol (the Jim Carrey one), Elf, and The Grinch, respectively. Listen through your car radio. Come early for pre-show entertainment and special menus from some of the restaurants! 5:30–8pm. Free!


Hugs Café invites people of all ages and abilities to a Merry and Bright Winter Social at Gather in Downtown McKinney this evening. The event will feature a fun photo wall, music, dancing, crafts, and food! 5–7pm. Free to attend but please complete the form at the link.


I would never deny you a freebie. In honor of their self-declared “Coolest Day of the Year,” Bahama Buck’s will be giving a free 12-oz. Sno to each guest who visit their Allen, McKinney, or Frisco locations today. Hours vary; see link for Free Sno Day participating locations. Free!


So many shopping centers are including kids activities this year. Grandscape in The Colony will have Gingerbread Cookie Decorating in the Fountain Courtyard. Cookie decorating, storytime and pictures with Mrs. Claus, and crafts. All ages. 6–8pm. Free!


Legacy Hall has an Elf Movie Night tonight. General admission to the Box Garden is free, but they recommend reserving a table for your elves if you want to ensure a spot. Grab dinner or sip on The World’s Best Hot Cocoa while you watch. 6:45pm.


Adriatica Village in McKinney hosts Christmas in Adriatica and Toy Drive with cookie decorating, a petting zoo, Christmas ornament crafts, s’mores, letters to Santa, face painting, live music, holiday characters, and more. Bring a toy to donate to the McKinney Boys and Girls Club toy drive and get a free ticket for a Christmas Train ride! You can make an appointment with Santa and Mrs. Claus for a little meet and greet and a professional photo if you’d like ($30). 10am–3pm. Tickets $5, some activities require tokens which you can purchase in advance or at the event.


Sci-Tech Discovery Center in Frisco will host a North Pole Pajama Party today. Wear your coziest winter or holiday pajamas and get into hands-on STEM experiments throughout the museum. There’s also a brand new “Holiday Magic” Wow! Show, and a special guest will be there for Hot Cocoa Storytime. Who could it be???? 10am–4pm. Included with museum admission.


Grinchmas at Grandscape is a new one put on by Women Leading Technology. This outdoor holiday event benefits WLT STEAAM Experience for Girls. They’ll have vendors, activities for kids, a movie on the lawn, and photos with the Grinch. See link for a schedule of the day and to grab your tickets for $10.


Enjoy the holiday vibes of Historic Downtown Plano’s Mistletoe Market as you explore the special discounts at participating shops. Saturday: 11am–7pm, Sunday: 12–6pm.


This intrigues me: Fairview Youth Theatre (NTPA Fairview) presents Big Fish in Broadway musical fashion. Appropriate for all ages. Afternoon and evening showtimes available, both in person and streaming live. Tickets $10 in advance; $20 front row.


We’re teaming up with Legacy Hall again for Stories With Santa! See the big man on stage reading Christmas stories, take a photo with Mrs. Claus and Blitzen, write letters to Santa, decorate marshmallows, and more. See the link for more details, including how to purchase reserved VIP seating if you prefer. 10am–12pm. Free!


Kids can practice read-aloud skills with a therapeutic furry friend at Read to Rover at the Frisco Library this afternoon. Space is limited; sign up for a time slot starting at 2:30pm on the patio in front of the library. 3–4pm. Free!


Carrollton Public Libraries are offering 12 Days of Winter Break activities again this year. Grab & Go craft kits, Maker Lab, Scavenger Hunt, Movie Night…see the link for a complete schedule. Free!


This is for a very specific demographic, but the Allen Public Library will host a Fortnite Party today for grades 4 through 6 only. Hang out with fellow gamers and enjoy all things Fortnite. Space is limited. Tickets available at the Children’s Desk 30 minutes before the program starts. 2:30–3:30pm. Free!


One more for Sci-Tech Discovery Center. Their annual Countdown to Noon NYE party will be today, now featuring all new activities and experiments. See the link for a rundown and a schedule of the time-specific events. 10am-3pm. Included with admission.

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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