With Thanksgiving arriving this week, residents in Prosper and Celina will be getting into the Christmas spirit next week with a pair of holiday events.


First, attendees will be able to experience the feel of a small-town Christmas as Celina ushers in the holiday season on Wednesday, Dec. 4 during Christmas on the Square, which begins at 5 p.m. The family-friendly event’s main focus is the lighting of 20,000 lights on the brand-new 30-foot-tall Christmas tree. The new festive decorations in the square feature an additional 50,000 lights, making for a total of 70,000.


Then the annual Prosper Christmas Festival will be Saturday, Dec. 7 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the downtown area. Held at Frontier Park the last two years to accommodate construction downtown, the 2019 festival returns to its original location, presenting expanded attractions, wider shopping opportunities, and all of those features that have set the festival apart from other festivals, including its historic downtown backdrop.


Texas Health Neighborhood Care & Wellness Prosper and Legacy Gardens – Inspired Living with Risland Homes return this year as title sponsors of the event, and among the new additions for 2019 is the Kids’ Christmas Shoppe, sponsored by Cook Children’s Health Care System. The Shoppe is a place for children to shop for parents and siblings, with some help, in a secure environment. Proceeds from the Shoppe benefit the Prosper Parks and Recreation Scholarship Fund. The fund, coordinated with Cornerstone Network NCT, underwrites the cost of participating in recreational programs for residents who cannot otherwise afford to.


Families should plan to arrive early and stay late for the annual community Christmas festival. As in previous years, the annual Prosper Rotary Club Christmas Parade starts at 2:30 p.m. The festival will feature a wide array of items for purchase in all price ranges; a Kids’ Christmas Shoppe; artisans showcasing their talents; unique demonstrations by local masters; Santa’s Workshop; Community Stage performances all day; and a Kids Zone with numerous rides and attractions. Near the close of the evening, Mayor Ray Smith will conduct the Community Tree Lighting, with fireworks to follow as the festival finale.


The free fun in Celina on Dec. 4 will include a holiday market and community booths at 142 N. Ohio St. There will also be inflatables for kids to jump on as well as free photos with Santa, so attendees should bring their own camera. Another great photo op comes in the form of a sled led by a real reindeer.


Other fun things to do at the event include a Giant Log Ride Slide, cupcakes with Mrs. Claus, train rides, hay rides, live performances and more holiday fun. There will also be a giant snow globe set up that will make for more great family photos.


At 6:30 p.m., the Celina ISD Drumline will lead Santa and the Fire Department to the brand new tree, which Celina Mayor Sean Terry will then light. The event, presented by Celina Main Street and the city of Celina, os slated to last until 8 p.m.