The holiday season is officially on, and we’ve rounded up a bunch of fun family activities to help you celebrate. This time of year is always crazy busy, so be sure to get these great events on your calendar early. With the exception of the tree farms and some big deal events, activities listed should be pretty close to your usual stomping grounds; no need to spend all day in the car. Now get out there and make merry!
Through January 1 :: Lots going on over at the Gaylord Texan for Lone Star Christmas and ICE! featuring‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. Try Santa’s Cottage Escape Room, Cookies with Mrs. Claus, Glacier Glide 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 that you will definitely need to bundle up for. Pretty much everything requires its own ticket, but there are a couple package deals to be had. Bonus: kids under four are free for many activities.
Through January 7 (select dates) :: Holiday in The Park at Six Flags has lots of special attractions for the season, 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 $63.99; kids under two are free.
November 24-December 31 :: Enchant Christmas at Globe Life Park in Arlington is the world’s largest Christmas light maze and market, which is a very specific claim to fame. It looks super cool though: 21 food trucks, an ice rink, Santa’s golden palace, the big light maze, plus a little kids maze, live entertainment, and a marketplace with 85 vendors. Tickets start at $21.95; children four and under are free.
November 24-December 22 :: If you’re a “Go Cowboys!” family, or even if you just want more synchronized choreography in your life, head to the Cowboys Christmas Spectacular 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 and more. Fridays and Saturdays only, 6pm. Parking and admission are free.
November 24-December 31 :: Christmas in the Square in Frisco has a little bit of everything: holiday lights set to music on 107.3FM, snow flurries every 15 minutes on Fridays and Saturdays, an outdoor ice rink in the square, carriage rides, and plenty of good cheer. Lights and music go from 6-10pm. Skating is $12 per person; carriage rides are $6 per person. See calendar for extra dates and deets.
November 25-January 1 :: 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-themed activities planned, including caroling, storytimes, a Snow ‘n Glow Dance Party, Merry-oke karaoke, Santa, scavenger hunts, and more. And I haven’t even mentioned the 84-degree water park part. All Snowland activites are free and are for hotel guests only. Book online!
November 24-26 :: Home for Holidays in McKinney :: Downtown McKinney kicks off the season with live Christmas music, dancing, costumed characters, petting zoo, kids activities and crafts, a Ferris wheel, carousel, Santa, shopping, and more! Friday & Saturday: 10am-8pm, Sunday: noon-5pm. Free!
December 1 :: Dickens in Downtown Plano :: This celebration features live entertainment on four stages, a car show, snow tubing slides, an Ice Fight Stage, where ice sculptors compete for applause, horse-drawn carriage rides, and the annual tree lighting ceremony at Haggard Park. 5-9pm, with tree lighting at 7pm. Free!
December 2 :: Prosper Christmas Festival :: A Christmas parade kicks off the festivities at 2:30pm, followed by rides, games, shopping, food trucks, performances on stage, Santa’s Workshop, and fireworks. The festival is in Frontier Park this year (near the soccer pavilion), and the parade loops around the park. 2:30-6pm. Free!
December 2 :: Richardson Christmas Parade :: On Saturday morning, come watch the 45th year of the Richardson Christmas Parade. This year’s theme is “A Magical, Musical Christmas.” The parade begins at 9am and will travel north from Richardson Square shopping center on Plano Road to Apollo Road. Free!
December 2 :: Wylie Arts Festival :: Billed as an art fest, parade, and tree lighting, this all-day affair has festival foods, 140+ vendors, inflatables, face painting, kids’ activities, Festival of Lights Christmas parade, and tree lighting in Olde City Park during which the Mayor will read “The Night Before Christmas.” 10am-5pm. Parade is at 7:30, tree lighting after the parade. Free!
*P.S.* Every year the KCS Holiday Express Christmas train stops in Wylie for a day. No word yet on if/when it will come this year, so let’s keep an eye out for news of its return if you are interested!
December 2 :: Allen Rudolph Run :: This family fitness event is for all ages and skill levels. It starts on Main Street in downtown Allen with a low-key mile run and concludes with a chip-timed 5K. Click the link to register; you get the best deal if you register by 11/19.
December 2 :: Journey to Bethlehem :: See the Christmas story come to life at this drive-thru living nativity event at First United Methodist Church in Plano. 5:30-8pm. Free!
December 6 :: Christmas on the Square Celina :: Live music, train rides, a live reindeer, bounce houses, life-size snow globe, giant slide, cupcakes with Mrs. Claus, and more. Enjoy crafts, games, snacks, and hot chocolate at local community booths throughout the square. Free pics with Santa, too. 5-9pm. Free! (Note: carriage rides and food vendors require cash.)
December 9 :: Frisco Frosty 5k and Merry Mile :: There’s a new 5k route for this run, now in its 12th year. The earlier you register, the bigger your discount on registration fees. Mile run is at 8am, 5k at 8:30am. Register here.
December 9 :: McKinney Christmas Parade of Lights :: The 18th annual parade features an MC, festively decorated floats, McKinney ISD drill teams and bands, antique fire trucks, and of course, Santa. This year’s theme is “Making a Difference.” The parade route forms a big loop downtown along Tennessee and Kentucky Streets, so there should be plenty of good spots to post up. 6:30pm.
December 9 :: Anna Winter Wonderland Christmas Parade :: The streets of downtown Anna fill with creative floats, marching bands, and horses on parade, and don’t miss Santa Land on the Crow’s Country Cafe patio for treats and photos with Santa. Click the link for the parade map and a more specific schedule of the afternoon. 11am-2pm. Free!
December 16 :: Frisco Christmas in the Square Special Event Night :: This one-night event brings us all the lights and music we mentioned in the above section, plus a four-lane inner-tube snow slide, inflatables, an interactive snow play area, holiday treats and vendors, Santa’s workshop, and more. Santa literally parachutes in at 4:15pm, and the event runs from 5-10pm. Free!
Through January 7 :: Magical Winter Lights :: You have to check out the link for this one, it’s quite a show-stopper. A massive light/lantern festival and carnival on the grounds of Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, complete with Chinese acrobatic performances, music, food & drink, rides, and more. Sundays-Thursdays: 5-10pm, Fridays & Saturdays: 5-11pm. Tickets are $21/adults, $13/65+, $13/kids 4-12, kids under four are free. Unlimited carnival ride wristbands available for $18.
November 23-December 30 :: Gift of Lights at Texas Motor Speedway :: Drive through this enormous light park as you listen to Christmas music on KLTY 94.9FM. Santa will also hang out at Santa’s Village for photos until December 24. 6-10pm nightly. $25 entry fee per car or truck.
November 24-January 1 :: Vitruvian Lights :: Addison brings back their annual light extravaganza, transforming Vitruvian Park into a colorful wonderland. The 12-acre park has walking paths and a large pond that reflects all the lights, making it that much dreamier. Free pics with Santa, too! 6-10:30pm, nightly. Free!
December 1-30 :: Lights at Deerfield :: This Plano neighborhood fully embraces an over-the-top Christmas aesthetic. Deerfield is located in Northwest Plano between Preston and Coit. Enter from Legacy on Colonnade or Archgate, noting one-way and restricted-turn signs along Old Pond Dr. and Hallmark Dr. Check the link for tips on how to best navigate the residential neighborhood, including info on carriage rides and segway tours if you want to get really crazy. 7-11pm, nightly.
December 15-16 :: Holidays at the Heard :: For an earthier Christmas vibe, bundle up and walk the half-mile trail of lights and decorations designed to enhance the natural beauty of the Heard (note: dinosaurs will not be animated for this event). There are also treats, family-friendly entertainment, and photo ops with Santa and Mother Nature. It takes about 30 minutes to casually walk the trail. 6:30-9pm. Advance purchase tickets are recommended, $7/adults, $4/kids 3-12; kids two and under free.
November 24-28 :: The Best Christmas Pageant Ever is back by popular demand at the Eisemann Center in Richardson. Suitable for all ages. I remember really loving this one as a kid. Afternoon and evening showtimes available; tickets start at $12.
December 2 :: The Richardson Symphony Orchestra performs holiday classics along with the Turtle Creek Chorale at the Eisemann Center. Turtle Creek Chorale is a men’s chorus that combines artistic excellence with energy, style, and fun. 8pm. Tickets start at $15.
December 2-3 :: Watch the Royale Ballet Dance Academy perform The Nutcracker at the Eisemann Center. This is a child-friendly production and great for the whole family. Showtimes at 2pm and 7pm each day. Tickets start at $25.
December 7-10 :: Edge Dance & Performing Arts Center students perform a Christmas Spectacular at the Courtyard Theater of Plano. Bring a new, unwrapped toy and get a free picture with Santa. Multiple showtimes to choose from, so check the link for options. Tickets are $15.
December 8-10, 15-17 :: See Scrooge: The Musical” at either NTPA at Willow Bend mall or the Courtyard Theater of Plano. Each show begins with favorite Christmas carols of the cast and audience. Special activities include a pre-show meet & greet with Santa and Mrs. Claus, and photos with Scrooge and Tiny Tim after the show.
December 9-10, 13-17 :: The Gift of Christmas at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano is a 90-minute holiday extravaganza with an orchestra, almost 1,000 member cast and choir, living nativity and animals, flying angels, massive LED video wall, and more. Check the link for tickets, as many shows are already sold out and the rest are going fast. Tickets start at $16.
December 16-17 :: Plano Symphony Orchestra Home for the Holidays has seasonal favorites for orchestra and chorus, audience sing-alongs, visitors from the North Pole, humor, the great pipe organ at St. Andrew United Methodist Church, and surprises (which has me all intrigued). Saturday show at 4pm, Sunday shows at 4pm and 7:30pm. Tickets start at $15 and can be purchased online.
Ice Palace at Willow Bend :: Come visit Santa during mall hours on the lower level Grand Court at the Ice Palace, a 30-foot globe complete with light snow falling, a light show and more. Each child will receive a special gift from Santa just for visiting. Through December 24, a few dates not included (check link for details).
Santa’s Village in Richardson :: Santa and Mrs. Claus are in the Village at the Richardson Public Library on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights this December. Each dwelling has a different kids activity—they can write letters to Santa, make ornaments, cuddle animals, make music, and more. December 2 -3, 8-10, & 14-17. 6-9pm. Free!
Fairview Town Center :: This is a premier Santa photo op, which means you make an appointment and don’t have to wait in line. There’s a $20 deposit involved, and you get discounts the earlier you book your time. Here’s a handy FAQ for the process. Through December 24. (Update: Fairview Town Center sadly announced on 12/5 that “The Big Guy” passed away. A replacement has been brought in, so be sure to check website for details.)
Shops at Legacy :: Photos with Santa and a letter-writing station for kids to get their thoughts together. This one is also by appointment, and the schedule seems unnecessarily complicated, so be sure to note the varying dates/times. December 2-24: December 2, 9, 16, 23, appointments available 10am-1pm and 4pm-7pm. December 3, 10, 17, 24, appointments available 3pm to 6pm. Photo packages start at $30.
Stonebriar Centre :: You can make reservations to visit Santa at Stonebriar, but you aren’t required to. They also have pet-friendly times if you want to go next-level with your Santa pictures. Through December 24 during mall hours.
Watters Creek :: The brand new Santa is set up between Tangerine Salon and The Cellar in a newly designed Santa’s Village. Generally, Santa is here from 10am-8pm, but check the link for variations, including when Santa goes on break. Consider timing your visit to coincide with Elves, Inc. on select Thursdays for a kids craft and treat. November 21-December 24.
As a reminder, Santa is also in residence at Enchant Christmas, the Gaylord Texan Lone Star Christmas, Gift of Lights at Texas Motor Speedway, and Yesterland Farm. Anna’s and Celina’s Christmas events both specify Santa photo ops, as well.
Yesterland Farm :: Since Canton is a bit of a drive, you’ll probably want to spend the whole day here. Choose from flocked or pre-harvested trees, or grab a saw and cut your own. Afterwards, there’s Christmas Playland and an Amazement Park with rides, games, and activities. Free admission to the farm includes farm zoo, playground, Christmas photo ops, Hi-Striker, rubber duck races, and WesterLand Village. There are also pass packages available for the other rides and activities. Christmas Playland and Santa photos are weekends only. 11am-5pm. November 24 – December 17.
Flower Mound Christmas Tree Farm :: Flower Mound boasts full-bodied premium trees, half a dozen varieties of all sizes, including hard-to-find 10-16 ft. trees. They also do flocking and have lots of greenery for decor (wreaths, garland cut to order, etc). Bounce houses, kids’ activities, and free cider and cocoa complete the experience. November 24-December 25, Monday-Friday: 1-8pm, Saturday & Sunday: 9am-8pm.
Kadee Farm :: Out east, in Greenville, Kadee Farm gives you the option to cut your own tree or choose from imported varieties. There’s a pricing guide on their chart for the various varieties/sizes. In addition to trees, they have a classic farm atmosphere with activities like hay rides, maze, tree swing, farm zoo, and more. Monday-Friday: 2:30-6pm, Saturday & Sunday: 10am-6pm. Open November 24.
Elves Farm :: Head north to Denison to cut your own tree or choose one of the fresh, pre-cut options. Have some free cider and enjoy hayrides, mazes, a farm zoo, arts and crafts, and country air. Wreaths and flocked trees also available. Monday-Friday: 3-5pm, Saturday: 10am-5pm, Sunday: 1-5pm. November 24 until sold out.
What have we missed? Let us know below so we can all bask in the warm holiday glow together.