I’m unapologetically the mom who puts our Christmas tree up on Halloween morning before we trick-or-treat just because I can. From November through January, you will find our little family binge-watching Elf, drinking entirely too much hot cocoa and playing all the best Christmas tunes on repeat from the time we wake up to the time we go to sleep. After all, it is the most wonderful time of the year!
To make the holiday season extra special, I try to find fun, inexpensive and age-appropriate activities for my sweet little 2-year-old daughter Camden to enjoy. She’s getting to the age now where she’s old enough to understand and truly enjoy all the magic this time of year brings, and for this mama, there’s nothing better!
With that in mind, we set out on a mission this holiday season to find our top 4 go-to holiday activities to enjoy around the metro or at home. We were determined to find affordable, accessible fun, and here’s what made our list!
- OKC Zoo’s Safari Lights. Hear me out here. As I mentioned above, budget-friendly activities are always at the very top of my mind when planning activities for my family. With that, I originally had a hard time justifying this cost ($15 per person to walk-thru; $65 per car to both drive and walk-thru), but it ended up being my family’s favorite holiday memory of the season by far! Since our little one goes to bed early, we registered for the earliest time slot available, which was 5:30 p.m. We bundled up, loaded up the car (and split the cost with some friends) and drove through the zoo in awe and wonder at the incredible display of lights. The drive-thru portion took about 20 minutes, leaving plenty of time for us to walk through the zoo as well. My daughter was jumping, skipping, clapping and so, so excited about the light show that plays every few minutes in the zoo’s front entry. If you only do one thing this holiday season, I hope it can be this! Your kiddos will enjoy every moment of this experience and I promise you won’t soon forget it. Grab a few friends to split the cost and head over to the OKC Zoo’s website to register while spots are still available!
- Santa’s Wonderland at Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s. Is there anything better than visiting the North Pole and meeting the man, the myth and the legend himself? Although my daughter is still too young to fully understand the magic of Christmas, this is a fun tradition we like to do as a family every year. Santa’s Wonderland at Bass Pro Shops & Cabela’s offers free pictures with Santa, along with games, crafts and a mail box to send your holiday wish to the North Pole. Be sure to reserve a time slot to make your experience as seamless as possible! This is one of our favorite parts of the holiday season and it doesn’t have to cost a dime.
- Crafty Keepsakes. Paint, yarn, glitter pom poms, crayons — need I say more? I’ve found the most simple crafts and activities are often the ones my daughter enjoys the most, and making crafts with her is the sweetest time that our family will treasure for a lifetime! This year, we made a handprint ornament and painted it together. I got the kit from the $1 section at Target, and it was a huge hit! If you need inexpensive indoor fun, add this to your to-do list this year and thank yourself in years to come for the precious memories you create!
- Sweet & Simple Traditions. If you have a little one, you know how much they love to read. For that reason, I’ve found that the holidays are the perfect time to add some new bedtime stories to the mix! Every year on Dec. 1, we read a new holiday-themed book. This year, we chose The Little Blue Truck’s Christmas and Camden just lit up seeing the characters and festive fun on every page. I have a feeling we’ll read it about 10 times a night for the next year, but that’s not a problem for this holiday-loving mama! Check out your local bookstore to shop local and create some fun new memories with your little one this holiday season.
Tara is an Oklahoma native and is married to her best friend, Michael. Together, they have one daughter and enjoy anything that gets them outdoors and active. In her spare time, Tara enjoys waking up entirely too early to run or work out, napping, cuddling with her Goldendoodle Milo and spending quality time with family and friends. Connect with her on Instagram at @tara_kcarr.