Oklahoma City family fun brings the magic of Christmas, even to parents.
I want to write an article someday called "Santa is a Woman: It's our Busy Season" because that's the truth. There is so much going right now between class parties, the school's holiday store and preparing for the actual holiday, besides community events. I keep hearing from other moms as they turn the page to their December calendar that I'm not alone in freaking out a little as I look ahead to all that has to be done in the next 25 days.
Sometimes, it can feel like you're doing so much of everything that you're not doing enough of anything. And that leads to annoying hashtags like #momguilt and #fomo as everyone checks in to see what our peers are up to, which is always somehow creating picture-perfect everything on Instagram and Pinterest.
The antidote to Christmas pressure is what the season is actually about: spending quality time with family, the actual point of the season. Mom confession: I am not a person who loves Christmas. The decorations, the music, the artificial need to hurry up and prepare all of this feels contrived to me. It's easy to lose sight of the people we're doing it all for as we rush around. Taking that time to really enjoy anything can seem impossible when you're the coordinator-in-chief.
Adding more things to do doesn't seem like a way to fix schedule issues but I know it takes some effort to get myself in the spirit. I have to step away from projects pending in the house. Taking my children to see something gets us away from what's stressing us out and gives everyone a focal point.
Here are four local ways to help get you and your family in the spirit this holiday season – and three of them are totally free:
- "It's a Wonderful Life"1940s-style radio play live at the Pollard Theatre: Going to a live theatre production is a beautiful experience and this performance inspires. The classic story's themes of hope and life as the ultimate gift shine through for what can be a new audience: children. I watch the black and white Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed movie every Christmas Eve but I did not realize my oldest son, Sam, who is 11 and has been focused on bigger themes than shaking gifts under the tree and preparing cookies for Santa for quite some time now actually had not paid any attention to what was on TV. The play was entirely new to him and he came away with a different appreciation for what is a less whimsical and much more fulfilling experience than other productions children could attend this time of year. Going to the Pollard Theatre in Guthrie, with its brownstone buildings and their wood-paneled walls, feels like a more engaging extension of a Christmas tradition, which comes to life on stage. I collect vintage dresses from the 40s and 50s so the old-fashioned aspects of the costumes were something I appreciated for that reason too but what's really appealing is the period charm that's evident in the set and the production, complete with radio ads typical for the era. Hearing that "no man is a failure who has friends" while in the beautiful and nostalgic Pollard Theatre gives the audience a positive big-picture perspective. The show is for adults and could make a terrific date night but also children ages 8 and up. What's also outstanding about it is that it runs on Thursdays and the weekends through Dec. 23 so if you really can't get away until later this month, it's not too late to enjoy something that I feel is going to be what I remember as the highlight of the holiday season this year. As the only paid event I'm recommending on this list, it's worth the cost of admission to start off in a different frame of mind.
- FREE – Holiday Happening at Sam Noble Museum of Natural History: The reason I love this event is it's early in the season, Dec. 6, and kids can participate in a very hands-on way. There is no cost to attend. My children are always happy to go and see what they call "the dinosaur museum" but the fact that Santa will be there and holiday activities like cookie decorating take place make that all the more amazing for them.
- FREE – Edmond Electric's Luminance at Mitch Park: This new 3D holiday lights display sounds amazing and I cannot wait to visit. It's opening this weekend and free to visit. The idea of taking a stroll with the family through the park to see something memorable is appealing, especially because it gets everyone out of the car to have some physical activity, which makes all of us feel better. If downtown is closer to you, check out the lights in Automobile Alley that are up now through Jan. 1. I went a few weeks ago and it was worth running through with my kids, popping into Schlegel Bicycles and getting hot chocolate in the area. Even if all you can do is drive through downtown, that's sometimes enough of a break to help my family remember that this season should be fun.
- FREE – Deck the Hall of Fame event at the Oklahoma Hall of Fame: Dec. 8 is a Saturday event you could plan to attend for a Santa and craft experience with your kids that may work better in your calendar than others since it's on a weekend and parking is easy. Story time leads the day and museum admission is also included so you can make a day of it with littles. The venue is one of those rare places that appeal to a broad age range with a historical tie that my kids still bring up as they cover more Oklahoma history in school. That's a win/win for holiday fun plus something educational so I'm all for those authentic community experiences.
If you're looking for an activity this weekend, come out on Sunday to the Oklahoma City Museum of Art's free Family Day, featuring the Victorian Radicals. The event will include crafts and the museum is open to the public without charge. MetroFamily will be there with a coloring project too, so come by and say hi.
No matter how you spend this holiday season, experiences are what make Christmas magic. Check out our gift guide for the best places to go together, classes to gift and things to give that don't require wrapping paper: tickets, memberships and excursions for more #okcfamilyfun.
I hope the peace of the season finds you this December. Enjoy it, truly.