Christmas celebrations will be different this year during the COVID-19 pandemic, as Plano’s annual Dickens in Downtown festival has been canceled and other events have been curtailed.

But the city has lined up a series of virtual events to help keep residents in the holiday spirit, including a series of “Dickens Holiday Countdown” sessions this week leading up to an online edition of the festival, complete with a virtual tree lighting, on Saturday.

Tune in to the city’s “Plano Arts & Events” Facebook page for some of the online activities planned through the end of the year, including:

  • Nov. 30 at 4:30 p.m. — A discussion on the art of blacksmithing.
  • Dec. 1 at 4:30 p.m. — A class on “how to make a Christmas cracker craft.”
  • Dec. 2 at 4:30 p.m. — A toy maker explains their art.
  • Dec. 3 at noon — Topics in a “Holiday Home Safety” session will include food safety, keeping predators away from your holiday lights, properly disposing of gift boxes and more.
  • Dec. 4 at 4:30 p.m. — There will be a demonstration on chainsaw ice carving.
  • Dec. 5 at 6:15 p.m. — The online edition of Dickens in Downtown takes place with a virtual tree lighting ceremony.
  • Dec. 11 at 4:30 p.m. — Oak Point Recreation “elves” Sherry and Scout will present activities from Santa’s workshop. Listen to a story, write a letter to Santa, learning how to make sugar cookie icing and elf pancakes or waffles. A “special guest” is expected to stop by. A Zoom link and PDF activity workbook will be provided prior to the event.
  • Dec. 15 at 1 p.m. — Plano Public Library staffers will host a Zoom event on cooking holiday sweets. Participants can choose a favorite recipe, prepare the dish and discuss it virtually with other home chefs. The item can be an appetizer, main course or dessert that you’ve made for years or for the first time.
  • Dec. 17 at 1 p.m. — A Zoom meeting with the Plano Public Library will give seniors the chance to discuss their most memorable holiday traditions and stories.
  • Dec. 19 at 7:30 p.m. — A socially-distanced movie night will take place in Plano’s Courtyard Theater in the historic downtown area. Attendees will be able to watch the film from the comfort of their own car or truck.

More information is available on the arts and recreation department’s Facebook page.

A Plano water tower in Plano, Texas, on Thursday, June 18, 2020.

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