A Collin County Guide to Family Christmas Events
The holiday season is here, and while a lot of the usual traditional events have been canceled or reconfigured due to the pandemic, nothing can stop the American spirit that drives our celebrations. Collin County is full of Christmas events suitable for the whole family; all you need to do is pick the events that you would like to attend.
Collin County offers a calendar of events on the official government website. You can view the overall calendar of events here. This isn’t a comprehensive list, of course; it only shows events that have taken the time to inform the county government when and where their events are happening. Also, many month-long events only show up on the day they start or are posted as recurring events. Be sure to check back often, as many events aren’t posted until a week or so in advance.
Craft Fairs and Markets
One of the joys of the Christmas season is the chance to visit seasonal fairs, markets, and sales. Many of you produce and sell your own seasonal goods, while others love to go shopping for gifts, decorations, and other items to enjoy. While markets may be limited throughout the season this year, some are still rolling and ready to go ahead, with proper precautions in place.
Maker’s Market on J Avenue – December 5 – A seasonal pop-up market in downtown Plano, featuring local artisans and one-of-a-kind goods for the season. Anything you can imagine is available, from charcuterie to leather products to jewelry to art. There’s something for everyone in the Maker’s Market, and it’s a great place to pick up holiday gifts for the season.
Wylie Arts Festival – December 5 – Though this event has a tree lighting ceremony and live entertainment, it’s primarily a fair and market full of local arts and crafts vendors. Admission and parking are free, so you can bring your budget for gifts and goodies. More than 150 vendors will be available to browse and purchase from for your potential holiday gifts. The event is still a go and has simply moved outdoors to accommodate social distancing this year.
Santa Photo Opportunities
Whether you’re used to creating holiday memories by getting photos with Santa for the kids, or you want to go Santa hunting and take pictures of every jolly St. Nick you can find, there’s bound to be a Santa sighting somewhere nearby. Many Santa events are restricted or canceled this year due to the pandemic, but you may still be able to find him in one of these locations.
The Shops at Legacy – December 5 – December 24 – The Shops at Legacy always have some kind of holiday events going on, and this year is no different. Santa sightings are provided by Silver Star Pictures and are available by appointment. You can see the available hours on the linked website or visit Silver Star Pictures directly to book an appointment of your own.
The Shops at Willow Bend – November 27 – December 24 – Located in Macy’s Court, this annual Santa photo opportunity has been adjusted to a no-contact photo event for the safety of the Santa. You can visit the site at the link to reserve a time slot to have your photos taken.
Watters Creek – November 27 – December 24 – Another daily Santa photo opportunity, with two options. You can book a contactless photo opportunity or if you want something a little more personal, a live video chat with Santa. Your visit will be recorded and provided so you can send it to friends and family if you would like. They also have two special Santa events; Santa Paws, to support the animal rescue, and Sensitive Santa, for families with special needs.
A wide range of light displays happens in the greater DFW area every year, from the millions of lights in Vitruvian Park or the Dallas Zoo to all of the myriad front yard displays. Whether you want inspiration for your own light displays or just want to take the family out to enjoy what the county has on offer, here are some of the commercial displays and neighborhood events you can visit.
Deerfield Holiday Lights – December 1-30 – Open from 7-10 pm on weeknights and 7-11 pm on weekends, the Deerfield lights are a neighborhood display organized by the residents. They encourage visitors to walk or drive through the neighborhood to marvel at the light show.
Radiance – November 11 – January 3 – Voted the #1 drive-through light show in Texas, Radiance is located in the Dr. Pepper Ballpark in Frisco. Admission is $30 per vehicle or $50 for included hot cocoa and access to the VIP guest lane. Radiance displays can also be found in Decatur and the Ranch at Weatherford.
Christmas in the Square – November 27 – January 4 – Returning for its 16th year, Christmas in the Square is the largest choreographed light show in North Texas. Free to the public, you can walk or drive through the Frisco Square and enjoy the synchronized lights and music played over speakers or over 107.3FM. For a fee, you can take a ride on a horse carriage, visit with Santa, or even hit up the ice rink.
Westridge Light Show – One of the largest individual displays of lights in the country, the Westridge lights are up for most of the year. Because of the broad availability, it’s not usually very crowded, and you can tune into the synchronized music on 92.9FM. Their Facebook page isn’t very active but do be rest assured that their display is still going.
Murphy Christmas in the Park – December 4 & 5 – Available for a few hours on the fourth and fifth, the Murphy Christmas in the Park event is a drive-through trail of lights presented by CoServe. Admission is free and registration is not required, but encouraged. The fire department will also be on hand to collect toys for donation to support the Children’s Advocacy Center of Collin County as well. Make sure to bring the map or learn the route ahead of time to avoid causing problems along the way.
Christmas at the Beach – December 5 – Located in Little Elm Park, this annual parade and tree lighting event has gone through a transition and turned into a drive-through display. December 5th, opening night, will be free and will be a walk-through rather than a drive-through event. The rest of the season will be drive-through to experience the full display in safety. If you’re interested, you can also apply to be part of the parade.
Individual Light Displays – Thousands of homeowners in neighborhoods throughout Collin County decorate their homes for seasonal light displays. Ranging from simple strings across eaves to full multi-media displays with actors and synchronized lighting, there’s something for everyone somewhere in the county. You can, of course, feel free to explore on your own. The page we’ve linked here is a list of individual homes and small communities that are typically open to explore and decorate every year, either on their own or as part of a community theme. Many of the linked websites are just HOA sites and thus don’t have details of their displays, but the addresses are still viable to visit for a quick drive-through.
General Holiday Events
While most of the other categories above are dedicated kinds of events, like light shows and markets, sometimes a more generalized holiday event is scheduled to take place somewhere in the county. These events include everything from vendors selling gifts to food and drink to light displays, and much more. Rest assured that if an event doesn’t fit nicely into one of the more limited categories, it can go here.
Celina Christmas on the Square – December 2 – Celina does Christmas in style every year, and this event is their kick-off to the holiday season. Open from 5-8 pm in the center of downtown Celina, this event has a little bit of everything. They have their tree lighting ceremony, a live reindeer, caroling, holiday treats, and much more. Admission is free, but you can help support the continuation of the event by buying one of the annual ornaments they make to celebrate all of the festivities.
Prestonwood Tree Lighting – December 2 – Kicking off the holiday season, the Prestonwood tree lighting festival is a fun time for all involved. In addition to the titular tree lighting, they provide free hot cocoa, train rides, character actors, photo stations, carolers, food trucks, and much more.
Merry Main Street in Frisco – December 5 – Another kick-off to the holiday season that has been adjusted due to the pandemic, Merry Main Street is now a combination of a drive-through light viewing event and a virtual holiday market. Details haven’t quite been released yet, but you can be sure the tree lighting ceremony will still be visible from a car, and you can still browse their vendors online when the event comes around this season.
Holly Jolly Celebration in Allen – December 5 – Located in Allen Station Park, this free drive-through event has a host of special events lined up. Start with free treats from helpful elves, drive through the holiday decorations and displays, listen to the holly jolly radio, and keep your eyes peeled for Cece the Coelophysis and the rest of the dinosaur company. Finally, round out the evening with a visit from Santa, delivering a goody bag to your kids for some at-home fun when you’re done.
Chestnut Square Holiday Tour of Homes – December 5 & 6 – The 47th annual tour of homes is a holiday staple for many families in the area, and this year will be no different. Some of their most historic and impressive homes are available for virtual tours, and other homes will be open for in-person viewing from the outside during the event. You can purchase tickets online. They also have a craft sale, decoration workshops, live music, and box lunches available.
Journey to Christmas Drive-Through – December 11 & 12 – One of the best live nativity events in the area, this interactive presentation has been converted into a drive-through for the safety of the performers this year. You can listen to a recording of the nativity tale, pick up a Journey to Christmas pack from the McDonald’s at the entrance, and enjoy the full scene as you drive through. It’s completely free!
Your Event Here
Did we miss a major event in the area? Are you organizing a local event in Collin County and want a little more exposure? Let us know in the comments! We’d be more than happy to add your event to the list. Just give us a rundown of what it is, where it is, and a link that users can follow to learn more. Even if we don’t add it to the article itself, other visitors can browse the comments to spot anything we may have missed.
The global pandemic is dangerous, and the holidays are meant to be a time of joy and celebration. While we’ve provided this list of events, we strongly encourage you to plan your holiday season with safety in mind. Avoid attending events unless it’s safe to do so, follow all necessary precautions (such as hand washing, mask-wearing, and social distancing), and avoid travel as much as possible. Many of the events listed above have been adjusted in light of the pandemic, to have capacity limitations, to become car-focused drive-throughs, or otherwise isolated, safe events.
Also, keep in mind that the situation in Texas is constantly changing. Depending on the rate of new infections, the state and local mandates, and the personal risk tolerances of various organizers, some of these events may be adjusted or even canceled in the coming weeks. Be sure to double-check to see if an event you want to attend is still happening before you hype up the family and make the drive.
If possible, consider creating your own holiday memories in safety. Why not try renting your own holiday lights display or organizing a neighborhood drive-through decoration event? It’s easy; just print out instructions for your neighbors, and when the holidays roll around, encourage everyone to drive through the neighborhood to experience the displays everyone has put together.
Remember; be safe, have fun, and enjoy the holidays.
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