Wrap Up Holiday Fun NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2023
Gifts that Do Good Support local nonprofits, attractions and shops
Top light displays, winter festivals and seasonal day trips
Tidings of Great Joy
Get to know OKC’s Santa Blair
1 8 c h r i st m a s e v e s e rv i c e s
december 23 & 24 B r i ng your f r i e n d s an d f ami l y to ce l e b rat e Ch r i s t mas an d re me m be r th e m ira c l e of Je s u s ’ bi rt h at a Cro ssin g s Ca ndl e lig ht s e r v i c e ! To v i e w s er vic e t im e s , lis t e n t o Ch r i s t mas mu s i c , ex p lore hol i d ay e v e n t s av ai l able fo r t he whole f ami l y an d mo re , v i s it cros s ing s . c h u rch /ch r i s t mas .
For C h r i s t ma s Ev e s e r v i c e t i m e s a n d l o c at i o n s, v i si t
c ro s s i ngs . c h u rc h / c h r i st m a s REGULAR SUNDAY SCHEDULE: CROSSINGS EDMOND (1500 W COVELL, 73003) // 9:30 & 11AM CROSSINGS OKC (14600 N PORTLAND AVE, 73134) // 9:30 & 11AM CROSSINGS CENTER (10255 N PENNSYLVANIA AVE, 73120) // 11AM
Storytimes, crafts, and more at Metro Library! Whether your kiddos are interested in STEM, music, storytimes or crafts, we have the program for you and more! Visit metrolibrary.org to find an event happening near you! Metro Library takes you places.
metrolibrary.org | (405) 231-8650
Features 12 METROFAMILY’S 2024 COVER KIDS Introducing the winners of our annual search
14 ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE
Opportunities for families to volunteer together in the metro
18 JOY IN THE JOURNEY
Making a hospital feel like home for the holidays
20 LET THERE BE PEACE ON EARTH 3 harmony-building strategies for children and families
22 STEPPING UP
PHOTO BY KRISTI HOWARD PHOTOGRAPHY
Moore parents share the blessings of serving as a foster family
From the cover 24, 36 & 58 WRAP UP HOLIDAY FUN
28 GIFTS THAT DO GOOD
Support metro nonprofits, attractions and shops this season
10 TIDINGS OF GREAT JOY 28 GIFTS THAT DO GOOD
48 FACES OF METROFAMILY
Meet community leaders behind local businesses
Departments 10 NEW & NOW
Get to know OKC’s Santa Blair
16 FAMILY MENTAL WELLNESS 6 tips to care for the mental well-being of aging relatives
24 LOCAL FAMILY FUN
Plan a merry OKC holiday season with our family fun itinerary
PHOTO BY WITHUNMIND PHOTOGRAPHY
PHOTO COURTESY OF CATALYST COOKIES BY REMERGE
36 CALENDAR OF EVENTS
Find holiday magic at local light displays, productions and festivals REAL PARENTS OF THE METRO Community members share favorite things to do, address local issues
58 EXPLORING OKLAHOMA
WITH CHILDREN Take a road trip to 3 Oklahoma towns for quirky & bright Christmas traditions
62 LAST LOOK
5 of our favorite holiday gifts for kids
4 METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / NOV-DEC 2023
LET TER FROM THE EDITOR
have a confession to make: my journalism career has officially peaked and it will all be downhill from here. I recently had the opportunity to interview the biggest celebrity of my tenure at MetroFamily: Santa! Oklahoma City’s Santa Blair began making appearances about 15 years ago. Often the first Black Santa local families have ever seen, he brings meaningful representation to the beloved figure — and inspires holiday magic for children of all races and ethnicities.
Publisher Sarah Taylor Managing Editor Erin Page Assistant Editor Lindsay Cuomo Art Director Stacy Noakes Senior Project Manager Kirsten Holder Director of Events Casey Shupe Editorial Assistant Emiley Bainbridge Account Executive Dana Price Strategy Manager Morgan Harris Contributing Writer Angie LaPaglia Contributing Photographer Bridget Pipkin Contact us Mailing address: 6608 N. Western Ave., #458 Oklahoma City, OK 73116 Phone: 405-601-2081 firstname.lastname@example.org www.metrofamilymagazine.com MetroFamily Magazine is published bimonthly. Copyright 2023 by MetroFamily HoldCo, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Articles and advertisements in MetroFamily do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the magazine or MetroFamily HoldCo, LLC. We do not assume responsibility for statements made by advertisers or editorial contributors. The acceptance of advertising by MetroFamily does not constitute an endorsement of the products, services, or information. We do not knowingly present any product or service which is fraudulent or misleading in nature. Proud member of
Case in point, last December, my 8-year-old son and I were poring over Curbside Chronicle’s feature story on Santa Blair. After intently studying the beautiful photos, my son looked up at me with wide eyes and declared, “Mom. This is the REAL Santa!” I asked Hutch what made him certain. Of course, he noted Santa Blair’s intricately beautiful suits, his authentic beard and the unmistakable twinkle in his eye. But what really caught his attention was Santa’s focus on serving others. Santa Blair visits hospitals and nursing homes, he provides cheer to children experiencing homelessness and he finds meaningful ways to include children with disabilities and special needs. Even his “day job” as a teacher and coach is about serving children! Santa Blair is a powerful symbol of hope, of peace, of inclusion, of love. Thank you, Santa Blair (and Hutch), for reminding me what’s most important this holiday season. It’s not the perfectly wrapped gifts,
THE PAGE CREW SHARES FAVORITE WAYS TO CELEBRATE THE HOLIDAYS ON PAGE 24 AND SERVE OTHERS IN THE COMMUNITY ON PAGE 14.
beautifully plated dishes or cramming one more holiday activity into our frazzled schedules — it’s the joy found in loving and serving others well. May we all seek opportunities to do just that. With great hope,
Erin Page Managing Editor
ON THE COVER Sixth grade twins Carter and Blakely and second grade younger sister Falyn are the winners of our 2023 Cover Kids Search in the siblings category! This energetic trio loves playing board games, beating their parents in spades and spreading kindness. Carter enjoys playing baseball, swimming, climbing, camping, playing video games and conquering Ninja Warrior obstacles. Blakely loves dancing, swimming competitively, singing, performing, crafting, writing and eating sushi. Falyn enjoys tumbling, dancing, swimming, reading and exploring. They are the children of Deidre and Evan, and their family loves to adventure at RIVERSPORT OKC and eat at Taco Nation.
Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce & Edmond Chamber of Commerce
METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / NOV-DEC 2023
O F F T H E PA G E S
Native Heritage MONTH
From festivals and special events to history curriculum and resources, find opportunities to celebrate your own Native heritage or learn about Native culture during November and beyond at metrofamilymagazine.com/ native-heritage-month. PHOTO BY FOTO ARTS PHOTOGRAPHY
SAVE on the brands you trust with our everyday low prices. Earn CASH when you sell us the toys, clothes, and equipment your kids have outgrown! metro family
Favorites W I NNER
6 METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / NOV-DEC 2023
NORTH OKLAHOMA CITY 13801 N. PENNSYLVANIA AVE OKLAHOMA CITY, OK 73134 405-286-3114 | VISIT US ONLINE
O F F T H E PA G E S
Ultimate Holiday Giveaway! 4 Locations to Serve You!
Your holidays just got brighter — because MetroFamily’s Ultimate Holiday Giveaway is back! Enter for a chance to win one of three packages from our partners, with prizes like:
Edmond • Yukon • OKC
• 3-night stay at Chateau on the Lake Resort in Branson, Mo., plus tickets to Silver Dollar City, Polar Express FlyRide and the Titanic Museum Attraction • 2-night stay at the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine, Texas, plus tickets to ICE • VOYA™ Quad Stroller Wagon from Radio Flyer • Fisher-Price DC Batwheels Launch & Race Batcave • Tickets to local attractions such as Mr. Gatti’s Pizza, OKCPhil, Allison’s Fun and much more Plus, toys, games and local attraction passes!
Enter daily Dec. 1-12. metrofamilymagazine.com/contests
Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town
Looking for the big guy this holiday season? Santa is busy, but he’ll be popping up in venues around OKC. Get Santa’s full itinerary at metrofamilymagazine. com/where-to-find-santa-in-okc.
Get in the holiday spirit with our Winter Fun Guides! Find dazzling local light displays, cold weather fun, cultural celebrations, Christmas tree farms, festivals and much more at metrofamilymagazine.com/winter. METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / NOV-DEC 2023
Call 405-840-1686 to schedule an evaluation!
O F F T H E PA G E S
! z t i l B Begins Dec. 26
While we did not hold our popular Geekapalooza STEAM Festival in 2023 (because we’ve outgrown our location and we’re working to bring you an even bigger, better event in 2024!), we do have an exciting opportunity for you to enjoy all the FREE benefits of Geekapalooza, beginning Dec. 26! Geekapalooza Blitz includes a brand new contest with fabulous STEAM-related prizes; weekly science experiments released through our website, social media channels and e-newsletter; and a passport of local coupons and incentives valued at more than $100. Geekapalooza Blitz is sponsored by The University of Oklahoma College of Pharmacy. Learn more at metrofamilymagazine.com/geekapalooza.
GIVE THE GIFT — of — MEMBERSHIP. Seniors Couples Families Events Kids Life fotoartsphotography.com • (405) 326-1533
8 METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / NOV-DEC 2023
The Gift of Health, Wellness & Community! A membership to the YMCA opens the doors to health, wellness and community. Discover new ways to connect with activities for all ages – exercise, nutrition, youth sports, camp, after school programs, volunteering and more!
A gift to the Y gives back. ymcaokc.org/holidaygivingguide
O F F T H E PA G E S
Make Your Life Easier! Our primary goal at MetroFamily is to make life easier for local parents. Because parents are often overwhelmed and inundated with information and advice, we make your mornings easy by delivering bite-size timely news, family fun ideas and real-life parenting tips straight to your email inbox.
Sign up for MetroFamily’s FREE e-newsletter at metrofamilymagazine.com/ subscribe
Sign up for MetroFamily’s FREE e-newsletter to receive: Top weekend events, for family fun planning made easy
Details on our annual events
Parent-vetted resources to help you choose kid activities, educational opportunities, healthcare professionals, birthday party venues and much more
Seasonal guides with frugal family fun ideas, festivals, school break camps and more
Raising OKC Kids podcast featuring local experts on topics relevant to parents, grandparents and caregivers
Family mental health tips and resources
Contest info for a chance to win fabulous prizes
Get MetroFamily Magazine
DELIVERED to You! For just $25 annually, become a MetroFamily Insider and receive a mailed subscription to MetroFamily Magazine, discounted and early bird tickets to MetroFamily events such as OKC Thrive Fest, Kids Fest, Cover Kids and Geekapalooza and other special offers. Join today at metrofamilymagazine.com/insider.
METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / NOV-DEC 2023
NEW & NOW
Great JOY 8 Questions with Santa Blair BY ERIN PAGE. PHOTOS BY WITHUNMIND PHOTOGRAPHY, COURTESY OF SANTA BLAIR.
Kenny Blair wears many hats. He’s a father and grandfather. He’s a coach and teacher at Douglass High School, in the same school district he grew up in. Raised by his grandmother, he attended Classen High School and then went on to play football for the University of Missouri. After eight years playing professional ball for the Philadelphia Eagles, he worked as an athletic trainer for the Disney Institute, where he trained the likes of Shaquille O’Neil, Ray Lewis, Tiger Woods and members of the 1996 Dream Team. About 15 years ago, Blair added another hat to his rotation: that of Santa Claus. Known as Santa Blair, his eye-popping suits, passion for service and palpable joy in being Santa have expedited his celebrity far beyond Oklahoma. For many local children (and their parents and grandparents, too), Santa Blair is the first Black Santa they’ve ever seen. He provides the representation for children of color that he didn’t experience as a child — and represents to children of all colors that Santa is inclusive of everyone. Santa Blair’s special brand of holiday magic inspires people of all ages, colors and creeds. We caught up with the jolly man himself ahead of his busiest season of the year.
What is the most meaningful part of being Santa? There are so many things! Being able to work with children who are in the hospital, being with homeless children who don’t even have a place for a Christmas tree or lights, being with children of color who have never seen an African American Santa.
What has been the most memorable? When my former students bring their own kids to see me and say they are proud to have had me as their coach and Santa Blair.
How is your role as teacher and coach similar to your role of Santa? It’s all about helping kids! When I’m teaching children on the field or in the classroom, I have an opportunity to make a positive influence in their lives. And I have that same opportunity as Santa.
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SANTA BLAIR PROVIDES THE REPRESENTATION FOR CHILDREN OF COLOR THAT HE DIDN'T EXPERIENCE AS A CHILD.
Why is the representation you provide so important? As a child growing up, I never saw a Black Santa. It’s important for children to see a Santa who looks like them. Representation is not just for African American children because I influence children of all colors, and that is such a blessing. When I was at Disney World last year, even grandmothers, of all colors, would tell me they had never seen a Black Santa. They were so delighted and it was a gift to be part of their family photos. I’m thankful for the opportunity to make a change and make people smile.
What’s your message to the children of Oklahoma City this holiday season? Santa Blair loves them all and I want to make all their wishes come true! Santa Blair does not have a naughty list. I believe every child is good. And even if they’re a little naughty, they are still nice!
NEW & NOW
You are known for your intricate, incredibly beautiful Santa suits — how many do you have? Almost 30! From the buttons to the thread, I design all my own suits and they are made here locally. I just released a memorial Chadwick Boseman suit because so many children love Black Panther. Sometimes the children help me design my suits — like my new toy suit, where one side is dedicated to Barbie dolls and the other to Hot Wheels.
What’s your favorite treat for children to leave for you on Christmas Eve? Yellow cake with chocolate icing!
What do YOU want for Christmas? My dream is to one day be the Santa for the White House. Find out more about Santa Blair, including where he will be appearing this holiday season, at thesantablair.com.
SANTA BLAIR DESIGNS EVERY DETAIL OF HIS SUITS, WHICH ARE MADE LOCALLY. HIS BLACK PANTHER SUIT (LEFT), A TRIBUTE TO CHADWICK BOSEMAN, IS ONE OF HIS NEWEST.
The Norman Ballet Company Presents
The 2023 Oklahoma nutcracker
Featuring Guest Artists Alexa Maxwell and Jovani Furlan New York City Ballet Saturday, December 2, 7:00 PM Sunday, December 3, 3:00 PM
All seats reserved: $20, $25, $30 The Sand Plum Fairy Tea Party is back! Sunday, December 3, 1:00 PM Tickets $35
Nancy O’Brian Center for the Performing Arts 1801 Stubbeman, Norman, OK All tickets available at https://www.ticketstorm.com 1-866-966-1777
METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / NOV-DEC 2023
− A N N O U N C I N G M E T R O F A M I LY ’ S −
2024 Cover Kids!
BY ERIN PAGE. PHOTOS PROVIDED.
The Oklahoma City metro is not short on kids with dazzling smiles, bright personalities and kind hearts! We loved meeting each and every child who participated in our 2024 Cover Kids Search contest. After the registration period, our readers and fans voted on their favorite Cover Kid hopefuls in each age category, selecting our finalists who were then interviewed by a panel of local community leaders. Thank you to everyone who entered and voted!
Scarlett is the winner of our 2024 Cover Kids contest in the 4-5 age category. In PreK in Nicoma Park, she loves to dance, swim, camp, fish, read and participate in gymnastics. Empathetic and kind, Scarlett helps take care of the family chickens, donkeys and garden. Scarlett is the daughter of Carly and Brandon and big sister to Wilder. Together, her family enjoys hiking at Martin Park Nature Center, watching the Dodgers play at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark and visiting the Choctaw Library for story time.
Naomi is the winner of our 2024 Cover Kids contest in the 6-7 age category. A first grader in Edmond, Naomi enjoys math and art, plus she plays soccer, basketball, golf and tennis. She is curious and determined, asks lots of questions and likes to figure out how things work. Naomi looks up to her big sister and helps with her two younger siblings, so it’s no surprise she wants to be a PreK teacher when she grows up. Naomi is the daughter of Larissa and Ervell, and her family enjoys spending time together at Science Museum Oklahoma and Frontier City.
BJ is the winner of our 2024 Cover Kids contest in the 8-9 age category. He is a homeschooled third grader who likes to get dressed up in a suit to eat at local restaurants, with Glamour being his favorite. BJ is the son of Tamika and Billy. He loves to rollerblade at Myriad Gardens with his mom, play basketball at Scissortail Park, beatbox and sing, practice his flips at the trampoline park and play Fortnite. BJ enjoys being silly and he believes everyone should be themselves because we are all unique.
Thomas Thomas is the winner of our 2024 Cover Kids contest in the 10-12 age category. In seventh grade in Edmond, he enjoys the challenge of his gifted and talented class. Thomas is an avid fisherman, plays soccer, likes to read, enjoys participating in his church youth group and is a whiz at solving Rubik’s Cubes. His favorite place to visit in the metro is Arcadia Lake. Thomas’ dream is to attend the Air Force Academy and become a pilot. He has three siblings and is the son of Ashley and Jeff.
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Mia & Millie Mia & Millie are the winners of our 2024 Cover Kids contest in the siblings category. Mia is a seventh grader who is involved in FCCLA, cross country and track. She loves animals, baking, playing board games and boba tea. Millie is in the second grade and loves to swim, go to the lake, catch critters, eat Oreos and make her family laugh. Both girls play soccer year round and their parents describe them as resilient, brave and kind. Millie underwent open heart surgery in August 2022 and Mia has been her biggest supporter. The girls are the daughters of Katie and Nick, and their family’s favorite place to hang out is Scissortail Park.
Brothers Mason & Aiden will also appear on one of our covers in 2024. Readers will recognize them as the sons of MetroFamily travel writer and photographer Debbie Murnan and her husband, Patrick. The family enjoys chasing adventures, like exploring, hiking, trying new restaurants, dancing and volunteering.
Watch for MetroFamily’s 2025 Cover Kids Search beginning in mid-July 2024.
JOIN US FOR THIS IMMERSIVE AND INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING EXPERIENCE. Preston Singletary (American Tlingit, born 1963). Gagaan Awutáawu Yéil (Raven Steals the Sun), 2008. Blown, hot-sculptued, and sand-carved glass; 9 1/2 x 26 x 9 1/2 in. Collection of Museum of Glass, Tacoma, gift of the artist. Photo by Russell Johnson.
METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / NOV-DEC 2023
Attitude of Gratitude 10 ways to give back as a family BY ERIN PAGE. PHOTOS PROVIDED.
Volunteering as a family is a meaningful way to spend time together and give back. Check out these heart-warming options for kids and families in the metro by age.
The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma offers highenergy, high-reward opportunities for kids ages 8 and up to sort and pack food for those in need in our community. Join a shift as a family, or sign up with a group. Volunteers under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Find opportunities for families, individuals and groups at regionalfoodbank.org/volunteer.
Toddlers & Preschoolers
Spread the love of reading through Booksgiving! In partnership with Little Read Wagon, every Friday in November families can hide new or gently used books in area parks for other children to find. Books are packaged with a note explaining the book is free to the finder. Get more information at littlereadwagonok.com. While not as many organized opportunities exist for this age group, there are plenty of developmentally-appropriate ways to introduce the idea of volunteerism. Plan a day to pick up trash at your favorite local park (and invite friends and neighbors to join you), gather gently used toys to deliver to Infant Crisis Services or host a drive to collect items for a nonprofit with a mission that resonates with your little one (collect pet food donations for Pet Food Pantry or items for the individuals served by Homeless Alliance).
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Every Second Saturday, February through November, families can join Restore OKC for a community workday. Projects include gardening, basic home repairs and making deliveries to seniors. Children ages 5 and up are welcome to participate. Shifts are from 8:30 a.m. to noon and include breakfast and lunch. Find out more at volunteer.restoreokc.org.
Tweens & Teens
Prepare a hot meal as a family for the youth served by Sisu Youth Services. Sisu is a low-barrier, identity-affirming space in Oklahoma City where unhoused, transition-age youth can access shelter and support. Volunteers prepare and drop off meals for 30 to 35 youth once daily and twice daily on Saturdays. Email email@example.com to sign up.
FESTIVE FAMILY PROGRAMS Nov. 11 | Second Saturday: 3-D Landscapes | 1-4 p.m. Nov. 25 | Family Tours and Art Kits (while supplies last)
Make Thanksgiving memorable for the homebound. Other Options, Inc. provides food, resources, services and education to at-risk individuals and families affected by HIV and AIDS. Kids ages 10 and up (with direct adult supervision) can help prepare Cookie’s Thanksgiving meals during 2-hour shifts in November. Families can also sign up to deliver meals on Thanksgiving Day and/or help by donating frozen turkeys. Learn more at otheroptionsokc.org.
Dec. 9 | Second Saturday XL: Snow Glow | 1-5 p.m. Dec. 2, 9 and 16 | Hours extended until 7 p.m. for Lights on Broadway
Kids have a unique opportunity to work directly with the patrons they are serving at Skyline’s Food Resource Center. Volunteers welcome patrons, assist them in shopping and bag their groceries. This interactive process helps dispel myths about individuals who need help in our community. Kids under 10 can volunteer with direct adult supervision, ages 10 to 13 should have one adult volunteer with them and ages 14 and up can volunteer without an adult leader. Find out more at okcskyline.org/volunteer.
Dec. 8-10 | Artisan Market
405.951.0000 | okcontemp.org 11 NW 11th St, OKC, OK 73103
Find our full list of family volunteer opportunities in the metro here.
METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / NOV-DEC 2023
F A M I LY M E N TA L W E L L N E S S
6 steps to support the mental health of older relatives BY ERIN PAGE. SPONSORED BY
Many metro parents are in the unique position of caring for their children and caring for aging parents or grandparents. While physical health concerns can certainly mount as we age, mental health struggles can be a silent and often under-detected problem for the aging population. We spoke with Bonnie Campo, senior director of public relations for the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services, about the most important ways to support the mental health of aging family members.
“Loss tends to be great when you are in the aging population,” said Campo. “Sometimes we think they’ve experienced so much loss that they know how to handle it, but it can still be overwhelming, especially when considering loss as it relates not only to people but also to the loss of autonomy, hearing, mobility, vision and so on.”
1. Include aging loved ones in holiday celebrations — and throughout the year.
“We see this predominantly with older, white men,” said Campo. “This is a group that doesn’t always talk about their feelings. We are trying to encourage that it’s OK to talk to someone and they don’t have to do this alone. Older populations tend to create a plan, so we have to reach them before the first attempt.”
When families are together for the holidays, discuss resolutions for including older relatives in family fun during the upcoming year. That could include setting a time for weekly or monthly calls or FaceTimes and planning activities such as regular meals, coffee or walks together. For families who don’t live close to each other, get creative to enjoy each others’ presence during the holiday season. FaceTime to watch the opening of gifts, play online games or bake a special dish over Zoom. Then, extend that spirit of togetherness throughout the year. “My husband’s mother lives in Florida, so, for my family, we call multiple times a week – that’s the only time she sees her granddaughter until we make it to Florida,” said Campo. “We also send cards and care packages and then open them on the calls together. Those phone calls bring us together even when distance divides us.”
2. Be aware of the signs. As individuals age, it can be challenging to determine if a symptom is a sign of a physical health problem or is actually a mental health issue. Symptoms of physical, mental and cognitive issues can often overlap. Campo advises to watch aging relatives for incremental differences that could indicate a mental health issue, including changes in appearance, like a drastic hair cut, reduced attention to personal hygiene or sudden weight gain or loss. Pulling away from social situations, isolation and losing interest in activities they once enjoyed are also key signs. An individual who’s received a difficult health diagnosis or who is experiencing grief over the loss of a spouse, friend or job can be at risk for mental health struggles.
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3. Understand the risk of suicide. In Oklahoma, 872 suicides were reported in 2022, the highest Campo has seen on record. Ages 65+ accounted for 20 percent of those deaths by suicide, the second highest age group in the state, according to ODMHSAS.
Signs an aging relative might be considering suicide: • Giving away personal items. For aging relatives this could include clearing out their home. • Withdrawing from family and friends, saying goodbyes or isolating themselves. • Making abrupt appearance changes. In the aging population, this could include neglecting hygiene. • Engaging in risky behaviors. This could include substance use or risky financial behavior. • Losing interest in things they once loved, including activities and relationships. • Talking about wanting to die, being a burden, having no reason to live or ending the pain.
If you see or hear these signs or have any concerns a loved one could be considering suicide, call or text 988 immediately.
F A M I LY M E N TA L W E L L N E S S
4. Create space for conversation.
6. Seek supportive resources.
Ask your aging loved one how they are doing — and really listen. Whether they’ve received a recent health diagnosis, have a challenging physical health condition, have lost someone close to them, retired from their job or just seem unlike their usual self, provide a safe space for them to share their feelings, and then affirm that what they’re going through is hard.
The most important step family members can take is to connect aging relatives with mental health concerns to a trained behavioral health professional. According to the Association on Aging, as many as 70 percent of primary care visits for older adults are actually driven by psychological factors, like anxiety, depression or stress. While older adults in psychological distress utilize health care at a rate two to three times higher than non-distressed people, they’re often not screened for underlying causes of complaints.
“We believe talk saves lives,” said Campo. “These are the generations that were taught to pull themselves up by their boot straps, so they may not be vocalizing mental health challenges." Rather than speaking in directives, like “you should” or “if you would only,” position yourself as a teammate ready to assist them in seeking help because you care about them.
5. Encourage mental well-being. Talk with aging loved ones about incorporating practices like regular self-care, mindfulness and breathing techniques into their daily lives to enhance their mental well-being. Making time for consistent exercise, which could include walking or stretching, can help manage stress, anxiety and depression, as can staying connected to friends and family. Learning a new hobby, volunteering for a cause and prioritizing other activities they enjoy will also promote positive mental health.
“We’ve found that 45 percent of people who died by suicide had seen their primary care physician within 30 days, but less than 1 percent of those had been seen in our certified community behavior clinics,” said Campo. “This tells us connecting people to evidence-based treatment really works.” Call or text 988 to be connected with trained behavioral health specialists who will listen to your concerns and help formulate a plan with actionable next steps. 988 is a beneficial resource both for the caregiver and for the parent or grandparent they’re caring for to connect with someone to talk to. Learn more about 988 at 988Oklahoma.com. Editor’s note: This article is part of a 10-month series of articles and podcasts with 988 Mental Health Lifeline. Find the full series at metrofamilymagazine.com/mental-health.
CHRISTMAS MORNING DELIGHT!
Optometrists and dry eye experts Dr. Kim Hefner & Dr. Victoria Fairchild can help alleviate this painful condition!
Call for your appointment today! Hefner Eye Care 5757 NW 132nd St, OKC 405-728-8853
learning tree @learningtree.okc • learningtreeokc.com
7638 N. Western, OKC • 405-848-1415 METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / NOV-DEC 2023
BEN, BECCA AND 10-YEAR-OLD JOYANNA. PHOTOS PROVIDED.
JOY in the Journey
Community support makes a hospital feel like home for the holidays This Christmas will look different for one local family as they plan to create a meaningful holiday celebration with a daughter in the hospital. This is not the first time the Logue family has faced a long-term hospitalization for a child. Their son, Philip, was diagnosed with Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinoses (NCL), a genetic disorder of the nerve cells. At age 8, he was hospitalized for nine months before he lost his battle with the disorder. The Logue’s 10-year-old daughter, Joyanna, also inherited NCL and is being treated at Bethany Children’s Health Center. The nonprofit pediatric hospital specializes in 24-hour complex care and pediatric rehabilitation. Originally founded as an orphanage in 1898, the organization remains faithful to the mission of founder Mattie Mallory and provides long-term care for children with complex medical needs, becoming a second home for these families. The Logues have embraced the mission of Bethany Children’s and have faith in the care of their child.
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“As parents, we believe there is no other place like Bethany Children’s,” said Becca Logue. “I’m sure there are great pediatric facilities, but we are most assured in the care here because Bethany Children’s acknowledges that a child’s worth comes from God and asks for His help in the care of the children.” This Christmas, because traditional holiday trips or activities can be difficult for a child with complex medical needs, Becca and her husband, Ben, consider celebrations from Joyanna’s perspective. “There are times when having a child with special needs requires a special mindset,” said Becca. “The holiday activities at Bethany Children’s and the friends that Joyanna will celebrate Christmas with will bring her so much joy. We love this for her!” The hospital’s annual giving campaign, Joy of Christmas, offers individuals, churches and other community groups the opportunity to purchase gifts for patients or wish list items selected by therapists and educators at Bethany Children’s. Online purchasing from the hospital’s lists is made simple through Amazon, and items are delivered directly to Bethany Children’s in time for holiday celebrations and gift opening.
Knowing that Bethany Children’s has support from the community is especially meaningful to the Logues. “Everyone wants to be understood and appreciated,” shared Becca. “When you walk through emotional times, it’s great to know that someone has your back. God has given us a great support system, including the staff at Bethany Children’s, but it’s always encouraging to know there are others who care and feel passionately about bringing joy to others at this time of year.” As she reflects on the upcoming holiday celebrations, Becca adds: “It is so neat to think that someone who is not connected to our family can purchase wish list items that will directly affect our child.” For families like the Logues, financial support for Bethany Children’s is also greatly appreciated. “When caring for children with special needs, there are always new innovations and therapies that are costly but will have a big impact on their quality of life — we need help with those,” said Becca. “The leadership of Bethany Children’s has such a vision for excellence in care. Donations from the community can help those visions materialize. Whatever is given, we are grateful for how it helps Bethany Children’s to continue their excellent and comprehensive care for our child.” BECCA IS GRATEFUL FOR THE JOY-FILLED HOLIDAY SEASON BETHANY CHILDREN'S HEALTH CENTER CREATES FOR PATIENTS LIKE JOYANNA AND THEIR FAMILIES.
For more information or to donate to Bethany Children’s Health Center’s Joy of Christmas campaign, visit bethanychildrens.org/joyof-christmas.
Nightly 6 p.m. - 11 p.m. Located in City Park & Chisholm Trail Park
November 18 – December 31
An illuminated tour of lights in Yukon, OK! — Santa Express Train Rides — Nightly (Weather Permitting) | 6 pm - 10 pm Train Station located in Chisholm Trail Park!
— Ice Skating Rink — Visit us online for more information. yukonicerink.com | Chisholm Trail Park
— Drive Through The Lights — “Oklahoma’s largest drive-thru Christmas light display!”
— Walk Through The Lights — Selfie Spots and Photo Opps
Visit us online and plan your trip.
METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / NOV-DEC 2023
BULLIED by the Holidays
3 ways to promote peace in your household BY ANGIE LAPAGLIA
Not long ago, I was introduced to an antibullying organization called Heroes In Waiting. I thought I’d already seen every anti-bullying message and video out there, but a couple things really struck me about this particular organization’s message. First, they do away with the labels of “bully” and “victim” and instead focus on behavior. They teach that behavior isn’t the person, and behavior can be changed. Also, they’re very clear that bullying behavior always includes a power differential: one individual trying to exert power over another. Those lessons made me think about this season and how so many times we allow the demands of the holidays – programs and activities, family pressures and obligations – to hold power over our families at a time that should be peaceful, reflective and joyful. Sometimes the bullying behavior we experience actually comes from ourselves. In that spirit, here are three ways to build harmony in your hosuehold this holiday season and beyond. SPONSORED BY
Slow Down We’ve all been there: It’s 5:40 on the evening of the holiday program, your 7-year-old is refusing to let you brush her hair and she’s having a meltdown for the ages … you’re supposed to have her in the choir room at 6 p.m. One of the first things developmental pediatrician Dr. Mark Bertin tells overwhelmed parents is to slow down. Take a step back, ask what and who is contributing to the situation and put things in perspective. Is your daughter short on sleep? Has she already been to rehearsals two nights this week? Are you under pressure because you have a huge project due tomorrow and don’t really have time for this tonight? Stopping for a minute to survey the
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situation always brings clarity. In this case, your daughter is probably exhausted. She doesn’t want to put on her “good clothes,” get out in the cold and perform for a bunch of strangers. And neither do you. Take a minute to acknowledge that and get through the evening together. Next, put the situation in perspective. What’s the worst thing that could happen? She gets to the choir room at 6:05 instead of 6 p.m.? Not lifealtering. She’ll get in line and be on the bleachers just like everyone else’s kids. Her hair’s messy? The video you get will be historic, and you’ll have an awesome story to tell.
Remember: 3 Calm is Contagious Unsubscribe
2 from Perfection
Newsflash: There’s no such thing as perfection. When we feel completely out of control, our tendency is to look at everyone else’s “perfect” kids in the holiday program and feel like we’re failing as parents. That’s exactly when we need to take a little advice from the experts: Don’t compare your insides to everyone else’s outsides. The outsides aren’t always real. What is real is that life is messy, we’re all doing the best we can and sometimes – especially around stressful times like the holidays – life and little ones have other plans. At those times, the most helpful thing we can do is to let go of the false ideal that is perfection. In fact, according to mindfulness psychologist Dr. Elisha Goldstein, unsubscribing from perfectionism actually sets a good example for our kids. As role models for our little sponges, we can powerfully model for them that imperfection is a normal part of life.
Former Navy Commander Rorke T. Denver tells a story about the final day of his Navy SEAL training when things were going completely sideways. The ranking officer was screaming his head off, and the students were responding with even more pandemonium. That’s when a master chief petty officer gathered the team together and told them something Denver never forgot: Calm is contagious. If the person in charge stays calm, the people looking up to them stay calm. If the person in charge is exuding chaos, the people looking up to them follow suit. It’s not just calm that is contagious — panic, stress and worry are, too. And for more intimate relationships, like those between parents and children, the correlation is even stronger. Kids don’t just mimic your reaction, they amplify it. This brings me back to Heroes In Waiting. One of their free lessons teaches kids they have the power to create more of the feelings they want and less of the feelings they don’t want by doing simple things like taking a deep breath, being nice to themselves and learning to respond to stressful situations in a way that’s helpful instead of destructive. That’s pretty great advice for us parents in this season, too. Editor’s note: For more information about bullying behavior and kids’ mental wellness all year long, check out the free curriculum, videos and resources at heroesinwaiting.org.
EXPERIENCE A FUN DAY OF PLAY!
TUES-SAT 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM SUN 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM www.jasminemoran.com | 405.382.0950 1714 W Wrangler Blvd | Seminole, OK
METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / NOV-DEC 2023
Stepping Up The Carrington Family BY ERIN PAGE. PHOTO PROVIDED BY THE CARRINGTON FAMILY.
MetroFamily began extensive reporting on Oklahoma’s foster care system in 2015. At that time, there were 9,500 children in foster care with 5,243 approved foster homes in the state. Since 2015, the number of children in state custody has been reduced dramatically, primarily due to intensive safety services provided to families in their homes, in many cases eliminating the need for children to enter the foster care system. Oklahoma now reports a 20-year low with 6,195 children in custody. According to Oklahoma Human Services, keeping children in their homes while professionals work with families on safety concerns, connect them to counseling and other services, and focus on prevention services improves social, behavioral, developmental and well-being outcomes for children, reduces their future reliance on government assistance and reduces criminal and juvenile justice system involvement. “Our prevention services, like intensive safety services, have had incredible success rates – 80 percent in state fiscal year 2022 – while supporting families without removal of their children,” said Casey White, external communications and media relations administrator for Oklahoma Human Services. “More importantly, allowing children to remain safely in their homes is better and less traumatic for the children and their families.” Unfortunately, the number of approved foster homes in the state has decreased to 3,333, meaning Oklahoma still faces the challenge of not enough foster families to meet the current need. “Our goal is to recruit enough foster families that we have multiple families to choose from and can find the best fit for every child who comes into state custody,” said White. “We need more foster parents who are willing to take teens, kids with special needs and sibling groups. These are the children who are hardest to place and need families willing to meet them where they are.” The Carrington family of Moore has stepped up to meet these needs, and through their journey, they’ve gained much more than they’ve given. SPONSORED BY
THE CARRINGTONS OF MOORE HAVE STEPPED UP TO FOSTER 17 CHILDREN (SOME PICTURED HERE) SINCE RECEIVING THEIR FIRST PLACEMENT IN 2021.
Making the commitment
After approval and in-depth training, Meagan and Michael Carrington accepted their first placement in June 2021, two sisters, who still live in their home. The Carringtons have been a safe place for 17 total girls, adopting two and cheering on others as they’ve returned to biological families. They currently have six girls in their home, plus Michael’s biological daughter. The Carringtons have a heart for fostering teenagers and children with greater behavioral needs, called Enhanced Foster Care, which required additional training. They have found some of their early fears about fostering to be unfounded, especially regarding managing the kids’ sometimes difficult behaviors and working with Oklahoma Human Services. Meagan appreciates that the agency doesn’t expect perfection — an attitude the Carringtons extend to the children in their care. “Raising these kids is just like raising your own kids,” said Meagan. “A lot of people get caught up in the kids’ behaviors or not wanting to deal with their [biological] families, but at the end of the day, they’re just kids.” The Carringtons enjoy teaching and instructing their teens to prepare for life as adults and note the girls’ eagerness to learn coping skills and healing strategies. “I tell them, we can’t erase the first part of your life – instead of erasing, you have to deal with it and be there for them," said Michael. When it comes to working with Oklahoma Human Services, the Carringtons have been intentional in building genuine relationships with their case workers and their kids’ therapists. Whether they need help getting a child to an appointment, advice on handling a situation or even immediate crisis management, support is always available.
Learn more about becoming a foster family and find more ways to help at okfosters.org.
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Their first night as foster parents, Michael didn’t sleep. He sat in the living room all night in case the girls needed him. He admits that the beginning of a placement can be awkward, when all parties are getting to know one other. The Carringtons focus on building structure, setting clear expectations and giving their kids space to simply be kids. “They just want to feel safe,” said Michael. “Once you get a schedule and routines down, they start to trust you.”
accountable,” said Michael. “We have girls who want to be a judge or doctor, and their grades are what is going to help pay for that.”
take responsibility to fix their issues and get their kids back, I’m going to cheerlead because that’s what’s best for the kids."
Meagan enjoys seeing the girls in their care get comfortable enough to pursue their passions.
They also work hard to keep the kids in their home connected with siblings placed elsewhere. Two of their current placements have younger brothers with whom the Carringtons get together regularly.
“You can tell you are really making a difference,” said Meagan.
Caring in community
The Carringtons have strict expectations about grades to help ensure the girls, once out of high school, can obtain good paying jobs, attend college through Oklahoma Promise (a program through which children in care can receive free tuition) and be set up for success without debt. Meagan says one of her foster daughters recently told her she didn’t care about her grades previously because no one had ever pushed her to do her best.
When safe, the goal is always to bridge, or build relationships with, children’s birth families. Just as the Carringtons set expectations and boundaries with the children, they do the same with biological relatives. Their upfront, supportive manner, plus consistent communication, has resulted in lasting relationships. The Carringtons keep in touch with the families of children who’ve been reunited with biological relatives. Meagan sees herself as a lifelong support, offering parenting help and encouragement.
“You have to help pave that road for them because many have abandonment and commitment issues, struggle with who to trust and have to learn how to be
“It’s not their fault,” said Meagan of biological parents whose kids are in care due to a lack of resources. “That doesn’t excuse what happened to their kids, but when they
“It means a lot to us to keep the bond with them so they don’t feel they’ve been forgotten,” said Michael.
Help for the holidays
This holiday season is the Carringtons’ first with officially adopted kids. Michael says they all feel immense peace knowing the girls are in their forever home. The family has relied on groups like Oklahoma Human Services, Citizens Caring for Children and the Citizens Advisory Board in Norman to help with holiday gifts for the children in their care. In addition to considering becoming a foster family, local families can support foster families by volunteering with or donating to these groups this holiday season.
EXPERIENCE ALL-NEW HOLIDAY MAGIC! ALL-NEW Indoor Shows • Live, at Lyric’s Plaza Theatre!
NOVEMBER 24 to DECEMBER 24 THE OFFICIAL STATE THEATRE OF OKLAHOMA (405) 524-9312 • www.LyricTheatreOKC.org
METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / NOV-DEC 2023
L O C A L F A M I LY F U N
A VERY OKC HOLIDAY Downtown’s best seasonal family fun BY ERIN PAGE. PHOTOS PROVIDED.
Get in the holiday spirit in the heart of Oklahoma City with a plethora of festive events and activities. Create your own family itinerary with these ideas and find even more seasonal fun at metrofamilymagazine.com/winter-fun-guides.
Light Up the Night Thursday, Nov. 16
Kick off the holiday season with Downtown in December’s annual OKC Tree Lighting Festival presented by Heartland, held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. outside the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark. OKC’s Mayor David Holt and Santa Blair will light the tree, followed by holiday performances and plenty of FREE fun for the whole family.
PHOTO BY DOUG HOKE
Skate into the Season Saturday, Nov. 18
Take a spin around the Devon Ice Rink at Myriad Gardens during opening weekend. Opt for an evening skate to also enjoy the glittering lights, and then take a stroll throughout the grounds to see illuminated trees, pathways and lanterns. The Devon Ice Rink is open Nov. 17 through Feb. 4, 2024. The newly renovated Inasmuch Foundation Crystal Bridge Conservatory will be open late, until 7:30 p.m., on Fridays and Saturdays Nov. 24 through Dec. 22.
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L O C A L F A M I LY F U N
Friday, Nov. 24 Lyric Theatre’s beloved A Christmas Carol returns to the Plaza Theatre for the first time in four years with all-new sets, costumes, lights, sounds and staging. Catch the opening night show, which runs Nov. 24 through Dec. 24.
Shop Small Business Saturday Saturday, Nov. 25
Celebrate Small Business Saturday at Midtown’s Holiday Pop-Up Shops, where you can find unique gifts for everyone on your list. Or simply enjoy the free festivities, like live music and visits from Santa. The Holiday Pop-Ups are located at the corner of NW 10th and Hudson and are open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from Nov. 24 through Dec. 17.
Sunday, Nov. 26
Sing with Santa
Take your pup to Midtown for FREE Santa Paws photo ops from 1 to 3 p.m.!
Saturday, Dec. 2
Sing along with Santa at Myriad Gardens! In addition to singing songs, enjoy story time, crafts and, of course, hanging out with Santa. Sing Along with Santa is offered Dec. 2, 9 and 16 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. in the Visitor Lobby of the Inasmuch Crystal Bridge Conservatory.
Saturday, Dec. 2 Kids ages 8 and under can race in the FREE Kids’ Dash as part of the Saints Santa Run. Events begin at 8 a.m. and include a 1-mile fun run, 5k, costume contest and FREE face painting, balloon art, snacks and more.
METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / NOV-DEC 2023
L O C A L F A M I LY F U N
Get Glowing Saturday, Dec. 9
Snowball fight! Enjoy Oklahoma Contemporary’s FREE Second Saturday XL: Snow Glow, complete with winter weather-themed crafts and, yes, an indoor snowball fight. Create holiday cards that light and pop up, experiment with glow-in-the-dark art materials, dance to festive tunes, take a family photo in a life-sized snow globe and explore the galleries. Second Saturday will be held from 1 to 5 p.m.
PHOTO BY CASSANDRA WATSON
Sunday, Dec. 10
Welcome Chanukah at the FREE annual festival in Scissortail Park. Beginning at 4:30 p.m., enjoy live music and dancing, carnival rides, treats from Dreidel Man and hot kosher foods and drinks. The highlight of the evening is the lighting of a giant menorah by the Chabad Community Center.
Saturday, Dec. 9 Meet Santa Blair at Myriad Gardens! Snap photos with Santa from 2:30-5 p.m. Read more about Santa Blair on page 10.
Stroll Lights On Broadway Saturday, Dec. 16
Cruise historic Automobile Alley for the district’s annual Lights On Broadway event. From 4 to 7 p.m., enjoy local shopping, giveaways and sidewalk entertainment, plus plenty of FREE family fun, including photos with Santa, all with the backdrop of the district’s stunning light displays. Lights on Broadway will be held Dec 2, 9 and 16; and Automobile Alley lights will shine from dawn till dusk, Nov. 16 through Jan. 7.
See the Lights from the Streetcar
PHOTO PROVIDED BY CHABAD COMMUNITY CENTER
Sunday, Dec. 17 Take a FREE spin on Mo’s Carousel at the Myriad Gardens! Sponsored by the Eluned and Edward Russell Charitable Foundation, enjoy free rides during select times on Dec. 10, 17, 22 and 24.
Saturday, Dec. 23
Ride the OKC Streetcar for FREE on weekends to enjoy all the holiday lights downtown. Enjoy complimentary fares on the OKC Streetcar on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, Nov. 17 through Dec. 31.
Count Down to Noon Saturday, Dec. 30
Celebrate the end of 2023 and the excitement of the new year at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art’s Noon Year’s Eve Eve party. Join the party from 10 a.m. to noon. for music, art-making, story time, snacks and a countdown to noon.
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OKC Tree Lighting Festival PRESENTED BY HEARTLAND NOV 16 • BRICKTOWN
Devon Ice Rink
NOV - FEB • MYRIAD BOTANICAL GARDENS
Lights On Broadway
DEC 2, 9, & 16 • AUTOMOBILE ALLEY
Saints Santa Run
PRESENTED BY SSM HEALTH - ST. ANTHONY HOSPITAL DEC 2 • MIDTOWN
Do Good GIFTS THAT
Support metro organizations this holiday season
BY ERIN PAGE. PHOTOS PROVIDED.
re you planning to give Oklahoma City a gift this holiday season? Too daunting a task? I’ve got good news for you: the perfect gift for our community is shopping locally for everyone on your list. Not only do you benefit from personalized service and higher quality products than when you shop at national chains, you also show some love to the environment by reducing waste and transportation.
Plus, of course, you’re supporting our local economy. According to Civic Economics, for every $100 spent at a locally-owned business, $73 remains in the local economy (compared to just $43 when you buy at a non-local business). Sales tax on your purchases helps provide vital services in the metro. And when you buy locally-made products, you’re helping ensure jobs for your neighbors and community members.
produced by Pivot Preserves are made, jarred, labeled, shipped and marketed by the young people and proceeds help continue the flourishing programs at Pivot.
Preserves are available in 4 or 8 ounce single jars or 4 ounce 3-jar bundles. Year-round flavors include Cherry Limeade, Mixed Berry and Peach, and special holiday releases include Apple Butter and Jalapeño Cranberry. pivotpreserves.org
On top of all that, shopping locally just makes you feel good. Check out our top recommendations on places to shop in the metro this holiday season.
Find quick links to purchase gift ideas outlined in this article here.
For tweens and teens who love graphic tees or for your favorite bird lover, remind them to Keep it Coo all year long! Sold by OKC’s American Pigeon Museum, proceeds from this hilarious shirt benefit the mission of the nonprofit museum to celebrate and educate visitors about humankind’s oldest feathered friend.
There’s nothing better than freshly baked cookies, unless it’s sweet treats that also support a great cause. Catalyst Cookies is a program of ReMerge, a local diversion program for high-risk moms. The cookie company helps build job skills for ReMerge moms, many of whom have significant work gaps that prove a tremendous hindrance in their recovery and ability to care for their kids. This employment initiative not only helps moms’ future career success in earning a family-sustaining wage upon graduation from ReMerge, it also provides delicious products perfect for gifting.
Sales, as well as donations, help keep admission to the museum entirely free, where visitors can meet a variety of live birds, learn how pigeons have been instrumental in warfare and get a glimpse into the world of pigeon racing. theamericanpigeonmuseum.org
Choose from tasty flavors like salted caramel pecan, birthday cake and triple chocolate chip. Orders are accepted daily, and cookie pick-ups are on Mondays. Cookie boxes or trays are perfect for teacher gifts, holiday parties or even leaving out for Santa! catalystcookies.org
Keep it Coo!
Gifts that give back Jolly Jam
Pivot Preserves launched in October 2023 with the mission to provide job training and a variety of skills to the young people served by the nonprofit. Pivot offers a safe place to live, educational and vocational opportunities, and counseling, prevention, intervention and diversion services to young people ages 12 to 24 who are at risk of or are experiencing homelessness. The jams
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Wrap Up Homelessness
After you’ve bought all those gifts, you’re going to need something to wrap them in. Each year, Curbside Chronicle, a project of the Homeless Alliance, produces wrapping paper with beautiful, creative designs by local artists. All proceeds support the organization’s mission to employ and empower people transitioning out of homelessness in OKC. Purchase your wrapping paper from Curbside Chronicle vendors around town, at the Holiday Pop-Up Shops in Midtown or at Curbside Flowers (don’t miss their perfect-for-giving wreaths and tiny Christmas trees, created by employees transitioning out of homelessness, as well as 12 ounce bags of Curbside blend coffee). And, if you need custom screen printing for the holiday season, check out the group’s newest venture: Curbside Apparel! wrapuphomelessness.org
PHOTO BY NATHAN POPPE, COURTESY OF CURBSIDE CHRONICLE.
Gifts that support local Find exceptional customer service and locally made products for everyone on your list, from new babies to grandparents, on Small Business Saturday and throughout the holiday season.
For the littlest recipients on your list, check out Tiny Tulips in Norman. With a beautiful selection of board books, the softest Kickee brand sleepers, trendy tiny ball caps and unique gifts (think lovable jellycat plushies, adorable onesies and mesmerizing baby toys), you’ll score perfect, precious presents. @shop_tinytulips
Learning Tree Toys, Games & Books in northwest OKC offers a carefully curated product selection paired with exceptionally knowledgeable staff to make for a magical shopping experience. Share the age and interests of the child you’re shopping for and prepare to be wowed with toys, books and games that inspire curiosity, creativity and critical thinking for toddlers through tweens. learningtreeokc.com
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Terrific for Tweens & Teens Trendy, quirky and unexpected … adjectives that perfectly describe Plenty Mercantile and the tweens and teens in your life! Conscientious kids will appreciate the store’s focus on sustainability. Don’t miss their selection of 3D puzzles, crossbody bags, unique jewelry, teen-approved books, trendy hats and more. (You can also find unique gifts for teachers, grandparents, littles and just about anyone else on your list.) plentymercantile.com
One Stop (Pop-Up) Shop
The iconic geodes of Midtown’s annual Holiday Pop-Up Shops have become an OKC holiday shopping staple. With dozens of shops rotating weekly, from Nov. 24 through Dec. 17, this can be your one-stop-shop to knock out your entire list in one afternoon. You can even purchase your live Christmas tree at the Bishop John Carroll tree lot, and don’t forget to reward yourself with a treat from the Katiebug’s Sips & Sweets food truck. The shops are open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. okcpopups.com
Books for Everyone
You get a book and you get a book and you get a book! As the largest and oldest independent bookstore in Oklahoma, Full Circle carries a wide range of titles in every genre imaginable, and staff members are happy to make recommendations based on your recipient’s interests. Coordinate your shopping with breakfast, lunch or snack time to stop by their cafe for a delightful bite. fullcirclebooks.com
Gifts beyond the box If you could use less stuff in your life this holiday season, consider gifting (and requesting!) experiences instead. Whether for your kids, a family on your shopping list or even grandparents, local attraction memberships encourage time together, learning and adventure all year long.
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Sweet (Clean) Treats
Made right here in OKC from bean to bar, Good Girl Chocolate produces exceptional truffles, bars and caramels you can feel extra good about gifting (and eating!). In the midst of her own health journey, founder Dr. Tabatha Carr, ND, created candies that are dairy free, gluten free, soy free, non GMO and use organic, plant-based sweeteners. So delicious they were featured in the Grammy’s gifting lounge and on QVC, choose from truffles (from 5 to 36 piece sets) in flavors like caramel cake, cookie dough and pecan fudge and decadent chocolate bars like brownie batter and dark fudge with almonds. goodgirlchocolate.com
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
With frequently changing exhibitions featuring world-renowned artists and collections, repeat visits to OKCMOA are a must. Kids 17 and under always get in free, and with an individual ($60) or dual ($100) membership, adults can enjoy free admission, too. Members also receive discounted rates for film tickets, programs, special events and the museum store, plus invitations to preview new exhibitions before the general public. okcmoa.com
SOMEONE IS STILL HERE BECAUSE YOU ARE. SCAN TO LEARN MORE.
BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE OKLAHOMA DEPARTMENT OF MENTAL HEALTH AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE SERVICES
While admission to Oklahoma Contemporary is always free, your membership helps keep the art accessible to the community and provides plenty of extra benefits. Individual ($65) or Dual ($110) memberships provide discounts on classes, camps and workshops, discounts in the cafe and museum shop and complimentary tickets to select exhibition opening events. oklahomacontemporary.org
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
PHOTO BY CASSANDRA WATSON. ROBERT PETERSON’S IMPERFECTLY PERFECT, TOGETHER (2023). © ROBERT PETERSON.
Tree (& Animal!) Huggers
Giddy up and mosey on over to this premier institution of Western history, art and culture — plus the kid-favorite experiences of life-sized cowtown Prosperity Junction and Indigenous dwellings in Liichokoshkomo’. The Cowboy Family membership is $100 and includes year-long admission for two adults and four children. Members receive discounts at museum eateries and the store. nationalcowboymuseum.org
Myriad Gardens Get back to nature — in the middle of downtown OKC! A Family membership is $85 and includes free admission to the newly renovated Inasmuch Foundation Crystal Bridge Conservatory for two adults and four children. Members at this level also receive two one-time guest passes to the Crystal Bridge and four one-time passes to ride Mo’s Carousel, plus free admission to Pumpkinville in October, skating for $10 at the Devon Ice Rink (including skate rental), discounts on programs, activities and party rentals and reciprocal membership to more than 300 public gardens nationwide. myriadgardens.org OKC Zoo
Scissortail Park While you can enjoy all the active family fun in this downtown oasis for free, a membership provides some serious perks, especially if you’re a frequent park patron. A $75 Family membership provides benefits to two adults and up to four kids, including: free pedal boat and kayak rentals, free admission to the Sky Rink (plus quad or inline skates rental), free or discounted admission to special events, discounts at SPARK in the Park and discounts on concessions and party rental spaces. scissortailpark.org
Explore 130 acres to discover more than 1,000 animals. ZOOfriends Members receive discounts on summer camps and classes, Wild Encounter experiences, VIP tours and special events, including Safari Lights, Haunt the Zoo treat bags and more. Plus, you get a 10 percent discount in the gift stores and on concessions purchases. Select your level of membership “Passport” based on the number of people you’d like it to cover, with options ranging from 1 to 10 individuals. The $149 Passport for 4 gets free admission for four people ages 3+ over the course of 12 months. This membership pays for itself in just three visits! okczoo.org
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Oklahoma Hall of Fame Experience Oklahoma through its people at this interactive museum ideal for multigenerational fun. Give at the Perseverance ($100) level to receive free admission to the museum for two adults and all household children for one year. Also attend free family fun days offered throughout the entire year. oklahomahof.com First Americans Museum Celebrate and learn about the cultural diversity, authentic history and contributions of the 39 Tribal Nations in Oklahoma today. Join at the FAMhousehold level for $125, which includes unlimited admission for two adults and up to four kids, plus a 10 percent discount at FAMStore, the cafe and restaurant and on classes and camps. famok.org
Come Take A Magical Stroll Through Luminance This December PRESENTED BY VISIT EDMOND
Lights are on daily Nov. 17, 2023–Jan. 1, 2024 from 5–10 pm at Mitch Park Opening Night | Fri., Nov. 17, 4—8pm Special Event Night | Sat., Dec 8, 4—8pm Art Project by Edmond Parks & Recreation Merry Marketplace Santa & Friends Food Trucks Live Music Drone Show Learn More Here!
Founding Sponsors This Year’s Sponsors
Pint-Sized Scientists Science Museum Oklahoma
STEAM and science come alive through hands-on activities, indoor play structures and mind-blowing shows. SMO 4 memberships are $175 and include admission for four people for one year. Members receive early registration and discounts for select programs and events, discounts on birthday parties and 10 percent discounts in the gift store and cafe. Plus, enjoy free or discounted admission to participating Association of Science-Technology Centers throughout the world. sciencemuseumok.org
Jasmine Moran Children’s Museum Located less than an hour from OKC in Seminole, the Jasmine Moran Children’s Museum encourages learning through play, particularly through interactive, career-focused exhibits that encourage kids to step into a variety of professions. A Family Fun 6 membership admits six people for a year (one must be a listed cardholder but you can bring different people each visit). Members also receive a 15 percent discount in the museum gift shop, discounts on special events and programs and half-price admission to more than 200 museums with the Association of Children’s Museum Reciprocal Network. jasminemoran.com
annual eagle watch Dress warmly and bring your binoculars. Begin at the Arcadia Lake Park Office to receive information about where the eagles can be spotted. The office also has a raptor wingspan display, videos and other great eagle info.
Friday-Sunday January 5th, 6th & 7th Arcadia Lake Park Office 9000 E. 2nd Street
(approximately 3.5 miles east of I-35 on Rt. 66)
$5 per vehicle
(half-price park entry)
For more info, call 216-7470
ONS L A CE F R O A LL SEAS
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HOLIDAYS AT THE MUSEUM DECEMBER 2 • 10:00 A.M. – 2:00 P.M. Celebrate the season with Santa and visit Prosperity Junction, the Museum’s circa-1900 frontier town decorated for the holidays. •
Find Howe and Dee the Cowboy Elves to earn your own special prize!
Get photos with Santa and drop off your wish lists
Craft Western-inspired ornaments
Create pinecone birdfeeders
Complete a scavenger hunt through the galleries
Sample sarsaparilla in Prosperity Junction’s Silver Dollar Saloon
Meet a cast of characters straight out of the old West
Enjoy story time at 10:30 and 11:30 a.m.
Free for members or with Museum admission. Available while supplies last.
2 8 TH A n N U A L
Cowboy Christmas Ball FEATURInG MICHAEL MARTIn MURPHEY
( SUNDAY, December 3, 2023 ) Guests can expect an alcohol-free event including dinner, traditional Western songs and dances dating more than 100 years and a visit from Santa.
reservations open now
1700 Northeast 63rd St. • Oklahoma City, OK 73111 nationalcowboymuseum.org/kids nationalcowboymuseum.org/cowboychristmasball
NOV. 11-DEC. 27 The Polar Express Train Ride at Oklahoma Railway Museum (3400 NE Grand Blvd) features a 1-hour train ride set to the sights and sounds of the classic story with costumed characters, dancing chefs and Santa. Adults, $50-$77; kids (2-11), $44$72. See website for a schedule of departure times. okcthepolarexpressride.com
THE POLAR EXPRESS AND ALL RELATED CHARACTERS AND ELEMENTS © & ™ WARNER BROS. ENTERTAINMENT INC. (S23)
Veterans Day Events NOV. 10 FREE Veterans Day Parade in Midwest City (8700 E Reno Ave, Midwest City) features marching bands, military personnel and equipment, Shriner's and more. 10-11am. midwestcityok.org
NOV. 11 Veteran’s Day 5k at Mitch Park (1501 W Covell Rd, Edmond) features a 5k run and family activities benefiting Mission 22, a nonprofit
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serving active service members, veterans and their families. $25-$30. 3-5pm. thefinalsalute.enmotive.com
NOV. 12 FREE Norman Veterans Day Parade at Reaves Park (2501 S Jenkins Ave, Norman) features a parade commemorating those who defend our country followed by a memorial ceremony. 2-4:30pm. facebook. com/normanokparks
Things to Do in November & December NOV. 4-5 OKC Train Show at State Fair Park Pavilion (3212 Wichita Walk) features railroad memorabilia, toy trains, scale model trains and an assortment of railroad items. Adults, $12; kids (12 & under), free. Saturday, 9am-5pm; Sunday, 10am-4pm. okctrainshow.com
Native Heritage Month, Near & Far
NOV. 8 Homeschool Days at Oklahoma Hall of Fame (1400 Classen Dr) features selffacilitated and staff-led activities that are designed for families with students of all ages. Preregister. Adults, $7; kids (4 & up), $5. 10am-2pm. oklahomahof.com
NOV. 11 FREE Edmond International Festival at Festival Market Place (30 W 1st St, Edmond) features display booths, live performances and authentic cuisines. 11am-2pm. facebook.com/UCOISC FREE Second Saturday at Oklahoma Contemporary (11 NW 11th St) features a family-focused day of artmaking, performances and gallery adventures for visitors of all ages. November’s theme is 3D landscapes. 1-4pm. oklahomacontemporary.org
NOV. 16 FREE OKC Tree Lighting Festival in Bricktown (2 Mickey Mantle Dr) features live performances and the traditional countdown to the tree lighting, plus family-friendly activities such as photos with Santa Claus, kids' letter writing station, inflatables and more. 5:307:30pm. downtownindecember.com
NOV. 17-18 Elf in Concert at Civic Center Music Hall (201 N Walker Ave) features the heartwarming holiday classic on a giant screen as every note of John Debney’s score is played live. Adults, $60 & up; kids (12 & under), $33. Friday, 8pm; Saturday, 2pm. okcciviccenter.com
NOV. 17-FEB. 4 Devon Ice Rink at Myriad Gardens (301 W Reno Ave) features outdoor ice skating on 5,500 square feet of real ice. $14; $9 without skates; members, $10. Monday-Thursday, 3-9pm; Friday, 3-11pm; Saturday, 11am-11pm; Sunday, 11am-7pm. myriadgardens.org
PRESTON SINGLETARY (AMERICAN TLINGIT, BORN 1963). XÁAT (SALMON), 2018. BLOWN, HOT-SCULPTED AND SAND-CARVED GLASS; STEEL STAND; 89 1/4 X 25 1/2 X 3 IN. COURTESY OF THE ARTIST. PHOTO BY RUSSELL JOHNSON.
NE AR OPENING NOV. 11 Preston Singletary: Raven and the Box of Daylight at Oklahoma City Museum of Art (415 Couch Dr) features a multi-sensory experience combining glass, video and audio to tell the story of Raven, a creator figure in Northwest Coast Native American culture. Raven takes visitors on a transformative journey through darkness into light. Free with admission. Adults, $16.95; kids (17 & under), free. TuesdaySaturday, 10am-5pm; Thursday, 10am9pm; Sunday, noon-5pm. okcmoa.com
NOV. 12 FREE Native American Flute Circle at Norman West Library (300 Norman Center Ct, Norman) features a musical presentation to learn about Native American flutes. Kids can try out percussion instruments and flutes after the session. 2-3pm. pioneerlibrarysystem.org
NOV. 16-DEC. 29 FREE Treefest at Red Earth Art Center (100 N Broadway Ave) features Christmas trees adorned with
handmade ornaments created to showcase Native cultures. 10am-5pm. redearth.org
DEC. 21 FREE Winter Solstice Celebration at First Americans Museum (659 First Americans Blvd) features a reflective experience with interpretive walks up the FAM Mound and a round dance while observing the setting of the solstice sun through the mound tunnel. 3-6pm. famok.org
FAR NOV. 3-5 Choctaw Nation Annual Powwow at Choctaw Cultural Center (3702 Choctaw Rd, Durant) features one of the nation’s largest powwows. Experience the sights and sounds of dancers from all over the country. Free with admission. See website for schedule. choctawculturalcenter.com
NOV. 4 SkasdiCon at Northeastern State University (612 N Grand Ave, Tahlequah) features Indigenous artists and creators, panel discussions, film screenings and a family-friendly cosplay competition. Free to attend. 10am-5pm. skasdicon.com
METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / NOV-DEC 2023
N O V/ D E C C A L E N DA R
Wild-ones Wildlife Walks at Martin Park Nature Center (5000 W Memorial Rd) features a guided hike through the park where you'll have the opportunity to see and learn about the amazing wildlife all around us. Preregister. $2. 9-10am. okc.gov
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back in Concert at Civic Center Music Hall (201 N Walker Ave). Watch the film while OKCPhil performs the exciting John Williams score live with the movie. Dress up encouraged. $27 & up. 2 & 8pm. okcphil.org
Drop-In Art at Oklahoma City Museum of Art (415 Couch Dr) features a handson activity inspired by the works of artist Preston Singletary. Free with admission. 11am-4pm. okcmoa.com
NOV. 18-19 Luther Pecan Festival in downtown Luther (Main St, Luther) features local artists, artisans, musicians, food, contests, crafts and more. 10am-4pm. lutherregister.news Hot Wheels Monster Trucks Live Glow Party at Paycom Center (100 W Reno Ave) features Hot Wheels Monster Trucks as they compete in the dark. $25 & up. Saturday, 12:30 & 7:30pm; Sunday, 2:30pm. paycomcenter.com
NOV. 24-DEC. 23 A Territorial Christmas Carol at Pollard Theatre (120 W Harrison Ave, Guthrie) features a re-imagining of Dickens’ classic tale with an Oklahoma spin. Best suited for ages 7 & up. Adults, $35; kids (12 & under), $10. See website for show times. thepollard.org Caroling Cruises on the Bricktown Canal (115 E California Ave) features a 45-minute musical excursion with live music performed by local artists aboard a water taxi. Adults, $23; kids (6-12), $20; kids (5 & under), $14. Thursdays & Fridays, 6:30 & 7:30pm. artafloatokc.org
NOV. 24-DEC. 24 A Christmas Carol at Lyric’s Plaza Theatre (1727 NW 16th St) features Ebenezer Scrooge, a host of ghosts and other Charles Dickens characters in a new production. $25 & up. See website for show times. lyrictheatreokc.com
NOV. 24-DEC. 30 Winter Glow at RIVERSPORT OKC (800 Riversport Dr) features ice skating, curling and indoor climbing experiences, all decorated in a holiday theme. Adults, $19.99; kids (12 & under), $14.99. See website for schedule. riversportokc.org
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Cirque Dreams Holidaze at Civic Center Music Hall (201 N Walker Ave) features cirque artists and popular holiday music. $33 & up. 6pm. okcciviccenter.com
NOV. 30 How the Grinch Stole Christmas in Concert at McKnight Center (705 W University Ave, Stillwater) features the classic holiday movie starring Jim Carrey with the Symphony Orchestra performing the film score live on stage. $25 & up. 7pm. mcknightcenter.org
NOV. 30-DEC. 9 Little Women: An Immersive Holiday Experience at Harn Homestead (1721 N Lincoln Blvd). Travel throughout the property with Marmee as she and a cast of beloved characters share their joy, struggle, love and loss in an immersive classic Christmastime production. Best suited for ages 10 & up. Adults, $15; kids, $15. See website for show times. harnhomestead.com
DEC. 1-15 The Snowy Day and Other Stories by Ezra Jack Keats at Oklahoma Children's Theatre (2501 Blackwelder Ave). The magic and wonder of a lovely snowfall, as seen through the eyes of a child, is conveyed as young Peter explores and enjoys the snow. Best suited for ages 5 & up. Adults, $13; kids (2-12), $10. See website for show times. oklahomachildrenstheatre.org
DEC. 2 Saints Santa Run at SSM Health - St. Anthony (1000 N Lee Ave) features a festive, family-friendly 5k race, a 1-mile fun run and a free 50-yard kids’ dash. Benefits the Downtown Oklahoma City Partnership. $25-$40; kids' dash, free. 8-11am. downtownindecember.com FREE Cowboy Christmas Parade at Stockyards City (1305 S Agnew Ave) features a parade, Christmas music, Cowboy Santa and more. 10am-3pm. stockyardscity.org
Kids Take Over the Cowboy: Holidays at the Museum at National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum (1700 NE 63rd St) features a celebration in Prosperity Junction with Santa, crafts, a scavenger hunt, historical characters and more. Free with admission. 10am-2pm. nationalcowboymuseum.org FREE Holiday Stroll at the Edmond History Museum (431 S Boulevard, Edmond) features old-fashioned holiday crafts, cocoa, photos with Santa and more. 1-4pm. edmondhistory.org FREE Lights on Broadway Holiday Events in Automobile Alley (Broadway Ave, between 4th & 10th St) features local shopping, window displays, pop-up activities, special promotions and giveaways, plus family-friendly programming. 3-7pm. Also held: Dec. 9 & 16. downtownindecember.com
DEC. 2-3 Oklahoma Nutcracker at Nancy O'Brian Center for the Performing Arts (1801 Stubbeman Ave, Norman) features original choreography and professional guest artists performing an Oklahoma adaptation of the beloved classic. $20-$30. Saturday, 7pm; Sunday, 3pm. normanballetcompany.org
DEC. 3 Cowboy Christmas Ball at National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum (1700 NE 63rd St) features a yuletide dance with Michael Martin Murphey headlining an evening of entertainment for the entire family. Kids in attendance can meet Santa. Dinner included. Reservations required. Members, $75; nonmembers, $90; kids, $30. 5-9pm. nationalcowboymuseum.org
DEC. 5-20 Holiday Classic Movies at Harkins Theatre (150 E Reno Ave) features special presentations of classic holiday films on the big screen including The Polar Express, Elf and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. $5. Tuesdays, 7pm; Wednesdays, 1pm. harkins.com
DEC. 7 Nutcracker! Magical Christmas Ballet at Hudiburg Chevrolet Center (6000 S Prosper Blvd, Midwest City) features an international cast including Ukrainian Principal Artists. $40 & up. 7pm. nutcracker.com
The percentage of high school students who used smokeless tobacco in 2019:
3.8% U.S. 5.7% Oklahoma Rural teens are more likely to use tobacco and face tobacco-related health risks. The Down and Dirty program customizes messages on smoking, dipping and vaping prevention to resonate with rural teens’ values and needs.
For more information, visit DownandDirtyLife.com.
N O V/ D E C C A L E N DA R
DEC. 8-17 OKC Ballet’s The Nutcracker at Civic Center Music Hall (201 N Walker Ave) features a holiday performance of the story of Clara, her Nutcracker Prince and the Sugar Plum Fairy. Sensory-friendly performance on Dec. 18. $30 & up. Friday, 7pm; Saturday, 2 & 7pm; Sunday, 1 & 5pm. okcballet.org
DEC. 10 FREE Chanukah Festival at Scissortail Park (415 S Robinson Ave) features traditional live music and dancing, carnival rides, hot kosher food and drinks, Dreidel Man giving out treats, a giant menorah lighting, public officials like Mayor Holt and more. 4:30-7pm. jewishokc.com
DEC. 15-17 Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey at Paycom Center (100 W Reno Ave) features musical performances blended with aerial artistry, modern comedy and acts on highwire, trapeze, bicycles and more. $25 & up. Friday, 7pm; Saturday, 11am & 3 pm; Sunday, 2pm. paycomcenter.com
PHOTO BY JANA CARSON
Jane Austen’s Christmas Cracker at Shakespeare on the Paseo (2920 Paseo). Dance, sing and eat sweet treats among a wonderful cast of characters decked out in their finery for the Christmas holidays. All ages welcome. $25 & up. See website for showtimes. okshakes.org
FREE Deck the Hall of Fame at the Oklahoma Hall of Fame (1400 Classen Dr) features themed crafts and educational activities for the whole family. Families can meet Santa, make reindeer food with Mrs. Claus and spend quality time together learning about extraordinary Oklahomans. 10am-2pm. oklahomahof.com
DEC. 8-10 RACE’s Hip Hop Nutcracker at OCCC Visual and Performing Arts Center Theater (7777 S May Ave) features a reimagining of the classic holiday story with local artists, students, an original storyline and hip hop music. All ages welcome. $23-$28. See website for show times. racedance.com
DEC. 8-17 Seussical at Sooner Theatre (101 E Main St, Norman) features a musical comedy based on the many children's stories of Dr. Seuss. All ages welcome. $33 & up. See website for show times. soonertheatre.org
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Curiousiday: Hooray for the Holidays at Sam Noble Museum (2401 Chautauqua Ave, Norman). Learn about winter holidays around the world. Free with admission. 10:30am-5pm. samnoblemuseum.ou.edu FREE Second Saturday at Oklahoma Contemporary (11 NW 11th St) features a family-focused day of art-making, performances and gallery adventures for visitors of all ages inspired by winter weather. December’s theme is Snow Glow. 1-5pm. oklahomacontemporary.org Holiday Hoops at Scissortail Park (403 SW 10th St) features 3-on-3 basketball games, Santa Slam-Dunk and other contests. Preregister. Prices vary; spectators, free. 6-9pm. scissortailpark.org
Merry Mitchmas at Mitch Park (1501 W Covell Rd, Edmond) features a festive 5k & 10k through a scenic winter wonderland in the park. Benefits Homeless Alliance. $35. 9am-noon. redcoyoterunning.com FREE OKC Parks Trout Derby at Route 66 Park (9901 NW 23rd St). Catch rainbow trout while exploring exhibitor booths. Kids (ages 5-15) will receive a free fishing rod and reel courtesy of the Police Athletic League. Preregister. Noon-3pm. okc.gov
DEC. 30 Noon Year’s Eve Eve Celebration at Oklahoma City Museum of Art (415 Couch Dr) features scavenger hunts, music, art activities, story time, refreshments and a countdown to noon with a balloon drop. Free with admission. 10am-noon. okcmoa.com
DEC. 31 Noon Year’s Eve Celebration at Jasmine Moran Children’s Museum (1714 W Wrangler Blvd, Seminole) features festive crafts, science experiments, refreshments and a countdown with a balloon drop, music and dancing. Free with admission. 10am-12:30pm. jasminemoran.com
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N O V/ D E C C A L E N DA R
NOV. 11-JAN. 1 Safari Lights at the OKC Zoo; drive-thru, $70 per vehicle; walk-thru, $16 per person. Discounted pricing available for members. 5:30-11pm OKC ZOO
HOLIDAY LIGHTS NOV. 16-JAN. 7
NOV. 24-JAN. 1
Lights on Broadway in Automobile Alley, dusk ’til dawn
Lights at Scissortail Park, 6-10pm
Chill Your Cheeks Run at Chisholm Trail Park (500 W Vandament, Yukon) features a 5k run and 1-mile Jingle Walk that begins and ends amidst Christmas in the Park, Yukon’s holiday light display. $20 & up. 4:30-6pm. yukonok.gov
Bricktown’s Canal Lights, dusk ’til dawn
NOV. 17-JAN. 1 Luminance: An Enchanted Stroll at Mitch Park, 5-10pm
NOV. 18-DEC. 31 Chickasha’s Festival of Light at Shannon Springs Park; weekdays, 6-10pm; weekends, 6-11pm Yukon’s Christmas in the Park at City Park & Chisholm Trail Park, 6-11pm Woodward’s Crystal Christmas at Crystal Beach Park; weekdays, 6-9pm; weekends, 6-10pm
NOV. 22-DEC. 31 Lights from the Heart at Purcell Lake, 5:30-10pm
NOV. 23-JAN. 1 Downs Family Christmas Light Display in Norman, 6-10pm
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DEC. 1-25 Midwest City Holiday Lights Spectacular at Joe B. Barnes Regional Park; weekdays, 6-10pm; weekends, 6-11pm
UNIQUE HOLIDAY LIGHT EXPERIENCES NOV. 11 FREE Braum’s Holiday River Parade on the Oklahoma River (800 Riversport Dr) features water skiing elves, holidaythemed boats, a laser light show, fireworks and more. 6-8pm. riversportokc.org
NOV. 15 Safari Lights Sensory-friendly Night at OKC Zoo (2000 Remington Pl) features a less sensory-stimulating environment with lower crowd attendance, limited flashing lights and reduced sounds. Drive-thru, $70 per vehicle; members, $60; walk-thru, $16 per person; members, $14. 6-9pm. okczoo.org
NOV. 30 Walk the Lights at Joe B. Barnes Regional Park (8700 E Reno Ave, Midwest City) features walk-thru access to the holiday lights display. Attendees can also enjoy live music, hot chocolate and the chance to meet Santa and other holiday characters. $5; kids (5 & under), free. 5:30-9pm. midwestcityok.org
DEC. 2-16 FREE Lights on Broadway Holiday Events in Automobile Alley (Broadway Ave between 4th & 10th St) features local shopping, window displays, pop-up activities, special promotions and giveaways and family-friendly programming. Saturdays, 3-7pm. downtownindecember.com
N O V/ D E C C A L E N DA R
NOV. 24-DEC. 17
Mistletoe Market at Oklahoma City Convention Center (100 Mick Cornett Dr) features clothing, gourmet foods, gifts, children’s items, jewelry and more from a variety of carefully selected vendors from Oklahoma and across the country. $10-$50. Friday & Saturday, 10am-7pm; Sunday, 11am-5pm. mistletoemarket.org
Holiday Pop-Up Shops in Midtown (399 NW 10th St) features an outdoor market with rotating, local vendors, plus a Christmas tree lot, live music and surprise visits from Santa. Friday & Saturday, 10am8pm; Sunday, 10am-6pm. okcpopups.com
Winter Holiday Art Market at First Americans Museum (659 First Americans Blvd) features First American artists, plus story time and the chance to meet Indigenous Santa. Free to attend. 11am-4pm. famok.org
Pumpkin Harvest Craft Festival at Jackie Cooper Gym (1024 E Main St, Yukon) features more than 40 booths from across the state selling candles, wood crafts, needle work, home décor and more, as well as a bake sale benefiting Friends of the Park. Free to attend. 9am-3pm. yukonok.gov
NOV. 17 Merry Marketplace presented by Luminance at Mitch Park (1501 W Covell Rd, Edmond) features a holiday pop-up shop experience with a variety of local vendors, live music and more. Free to attend. 4-8pm. Also held: Dec. 8. edmondlights.com/events
Register for classes now! The Ballet and Movement Arts Center of Moore
Tis the Season Market and Concert at Scissortail Park (415 S Robinson Ave) features shopping, live music and holiday performances. 5-9pm. scissortailpark.org
DEC. 3 Sleigh Bells Market at the OKC Farmers Market (311 S Klein Ave) features local vendors and a holiday drink menu. Free to attend. noon-5pm. revolve-productions.com
We ask a lot of our dogs during the holidays. The best gift we can give our family is a stress free holiday.
Ballet and creative movement. Classes held at: Adelante Studios 201 N. Broadway Suite 201 in Moore
Give the gift of: • Obedience classes • Boarding school • Private lessons • Behavior curbing
BalletMoore@gmail.com ABT® CERTIFIED TEACHER IN PRE-PRIMARY THROUGH LEVEL 7 OF THE ABT® NATIONAL TRAINING CURRICULUM.
J.D. McCarty Center
The J.D. McCarty Center in Norman is a hospital for children with developmental disabilities. We offer inpatient and outpatient services.
Our services are tailored to meet the unique needs of children with disabilities and are designed to improve their skills and confidence and promote independence.
2002 E. Robinson St. Norman, OK
What we offer Therapy services
Free therapeutic screenings Specialized clinics Summer camp
44 METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / NOV-DEC 2023
405-621-5635 | 9217 NW Expressway, OKC
YOUR FIRST CLASS IS ON US! 405.721.8807 OKLAHOMACITYDANCESTUDIO.COM
Returning This Holiday Season Book Now! OKCThePolarExpressRide.com
Where to find Santa NOV. 4-DEC. 24
FREE Photos with Santa at Santa’s Wonderland at Bass Pro and Cabela’s (200 Bass Pro Dr, 1200 W Memorial Rd) features a 4x6 studio-quality photo, giveaways and other activities. Reservations required. basspro. com/santa, cabelas.com/santa
FREE Sing-along with Santa at Myriad Gardens (301 W Reno Ave) features sing-alongs, read-alouds, crafts and more. Saturdays, 10am-noon. myriadgardens.org
DEC. 2 FREE Village Wonderland by For the Village at Saint John Missionary Baptist Church (5700 N Kelly Ave) features a winter festival with music, the chance to meet Santa, hot cocoa, crafts, face painting, a cookie hop and bounce house. Noon-3pm. forthevillageinc.org FREE Christmas Village at Chisholm Creek (13230 Pawnee Dr) features live music, performances by OKC Ballet, the chance to meet Santa Claus, live reindeer, festive activities and various Christmas characters, plus a unique Christmas market. Benefits Positive Tomorrows. 5:30-9pm. chisholmcreekchristmas.com
DEC. 9 FREE Photos with Santa Blair at Myriad Gardens (301 W Reno Ave). Meet Santa Blair and pose for photos in his sleigh. 2:30-5pm. myriadgardens.org
DEC. 23 Drop-In Art at Oklahoma City Museum of Art (415 Couch Dr) features a holiday frame craft and photos with Santa. Free with admission. 11am-4pm. okcmoa.com
Find a full list of local Santa events here. METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / NOV-DEC 2023
Train equipment and event elements vary by location. Inquire at your local venue for full details. THE POLAR EXPRESS and all related characters and elements © & ™ Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. WB SHIELD: TM & © WBEI. (s23)
N O V/ D E C C A L E N DA R
Date Night NOV. 3-4
OKCPhil presents From Chinatown to La La Land at Civic Center Music Hall (201 N Walker Ave) features Golden Globenominated composer Bryan Bryne and the OKCPhil. $27 & up. 8pm. okcphil.org
Martina McBride's The Joy of Christmas Tour at McKnight Center (705 W University Ave, Stillwater) features an intimate and cozy holiday concert with renditions of timeless holiday classics. $50 & up. 7:30pm. mcknightcenter.org
DEC. 1 Conservatory After Hours at Myriad Gardens (301 W Reno Ave) features live music, champagne and holiday lights. Attendees can also shop the Gardens Gift Shop and walk the lights glowing on the exterior grounds. Prices vary. 5-7pm. Also held Dec. 8 & 15. myriadgardens.org
DEC. 1-2 A Very Merry Pops at Civic Center Music Hall (201 N Walker Ave) features an all-new holly jolly extravaganza with Grammy winners Take 6 and Oklahoma’s own Sandi Patty performing holiday favorites with the OKCPhil. $27 & up. 8pm. okcphil.org
Westminster School encourages independence and hard work. Pre-K through 8th Grade | Financial aid available
DEC. 3 Handel’s Messiah at Civic Center Music Hall (201 N Walker Ave) features Handel’s Baroque-period oratorio Messiah performed by Canterbury Voices with the OKCPhil. $23 & up. 7-9:30pm. canterburyokc.com
DEC. 26-31 Tina – The Tina Turner Musical at Civic Center Music Hall (201 N Walker Ave) features an uplifting comeback story about a woman who broke barriers and became the Queen of Rock n’ Roll. $36 & up. See website for show times. okcbroadway.com
FOSTER HOPE AS A
FOSTER PARENT Specialized Foster Parent Support Trauma-certified Therapists Priority Placement in Early Education Centers 24/7 On-call Support & Specialized Training
Call Rebecca Skarky at 405-524-0631, Ext. 123 for a private tour! 600 NW 44 STREET, OKC | WESTMINSTERSCHOOL.ORG
46 METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / NOV-DEC 2023
Homeschool Days November 8 10 am - 2 pm Online pre-registration is required
Deck the Hall of Fame December 9 10 am - 2 pm Recommended for children ages 3 - 12
Visit OklahomaHOF.com for more info.
1400 Classen Drive, Oklahoma City 405.235.4458
Oklahoma City’s most important resource is our people. Behind our city’s locally-owned businesses and organizations are owners and employees dedicated to serving the community and our families, each with their own special stories of how their business came to be and how their work is making a difference. Each business included in this guide represents a specific category. Find more information about the businesses and the individuals featured at metrofamilymagazine.com/faces-of-metrofamily.
Meet the Faces of MetroFamily 48 Home Creations 49 Wymer Brownlee Wealth Strategies 50 YMCA of Greater Oklahoma City 52 Francis Tuttle Technology Center 53 SoccerCity OKC
THE FACES OF HOME CONSTRUCTION
ome Creations was founded in 1981, shortly after brothers Jalal and Mohammad Farzaneh graduated from the University of Oklahoma. Having immigrated from Iran on student visas to attend OU, they were anxious to put their schooling and heritage in entrepreneurship to work in building their own business, truly chasing the American dream. More than 40 years later, the brothers and their families still run the ever-expanding business, taking pride in providing quality homes to their customers and in supporting the community and their beloved university through their many donations. Home Creations strives for excellence in all areas of their business, but they are especially focused on energy efficiency and safety features. Their homes have very high energy efficiency ratings, which benefit both the environment and the homeowners, who enjoy savings in the short and long term. Ongoing engineering and safety improvements in their homes, especially around tornado and high wind safety, provide added security and peace of mind. Potential home buyers can take advantage of Home Creations’ “Make an Offer” promotion that starts Nov. 1, good on any existing inventory home that is purchased and closed by the end of the year. Contact them for details.
Ali, Vahid, Hossein and MJ Farzaneh Owners
2240 N Broadway, Moore | 405-692-2222 | homecreations.com
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SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION
Wymer Brownlee Wealth Strategies
THE FACE OF FINANCIAL PLANNING FOR FAMILIES
usy families don’t often have the time or resources to think through all the financial management issues that are important for long-term success. Aaron Waters of Wymer Brownlee Wealth Strategies understands this sentiment on a personal level. With two children and a third on the way, he and his wife are in the midst of parenting life. But Waters’ extensive experience and training also helps him realize that, with a plan, families can weather the ups and downs of life more easily, saving them time and money in the long run.
and planning for the “what ifs” in life, like advice about saving for a home, what kind of mortgage is best for your situation and how to save for your child’s education.
“With our second child being born with special needs that resulted in large medical bills, I know first hand how life can change suddenly,” says Waters. “I have a passion to help families set goals, create their plan and then work with them along the way to tweak that plan as needed.”
Waters helps families save time and hassle by providing a comprehensive approach to life planning issues. Among the services he offers are investment management; estate planning; tax planning and preparation; retirement planning; insurance; debt management; SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION
“The heart of what we want to provide is a place where anyone, no matter where they are in life, can find peace of mind,” adds Waters. “We want individuals, families and businesses to be prepared for the changes life inevitably brings us. One of my greatest privileges is to walk with families through that process.”
Wealth Advisor, Shareholder 13900 N Portland, Suite 101, OKC 405-748-4000 wymerbrownlee.com Securities offered through Avantax Investment ServicesSM, Member FINRA,SIPC. Investment advisory services offered through Avantax Advisory ServicesSM. Insurance services offered through an Avantax affiliated insurance agency.
METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / NOV-DEC 2023
YMCA of Greater Oklahoma City
THE FACES OF COMMUNITY AND WELLNESS The YMCA of Greater Oklahoma City, rooted in the principles of youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, is an organization committed to uniting and strengthening our community. At its core, the YMCA strives to provide every individual, regardless of age, income, or background, with the means to flourish.
These four extraordinary leaders within the YMCA embody these principles and values, and through their dedication, drive and commitment, ensure the YMCA’s mission thrives in central Oklahoma’s diverse and vibrant community.
eri Valdez started at the YMCA more than 20 years ago and has been growing and expanding her skills and leadership ever since. As she began her work at the Y, the mission and the people around her inspired her to finish her college degree so that, when the opportunity to be promoted to a director position arose, she was ready. Valdez is intentional about serving others, providing leadership by example and helping prepare the next generation of leaders to be the best versions of themselves. Valdez also experiences the power of diversity and inclusion in her leadership position at the Y. As she puts it, “When teams and community members of different backgrounds come together, regardless of ethnicity, culture or socioeconomic differences, it fosters the sense of belonging. There is power in diversity and I leverage it every day.” “We are all different and unique and I am intentional with modeling respect to all, even with our differences,” adds Valdez.
Associate Executive Director for Youth Development
hroughout her roles at the YMCA, Rose Jackson has learned to embrace change, acknowledging the needs to keep current projects flourishing in addition to taking on new projects, and to nurture those around her to help them identify and reach their goals. Further, Jackson recognizes that she must adapt to her constituents. “Leadership in my role at the Y embodies my ability to adjust to the ever-changing needs of our community and the children and families we serve,” says Jackson. “My ability to look at change through a different lens has allowed me to grow in my role and be able to help those around me grow, too.” Meeting community needs is found in embracing diversity, whether that be the religious and cultural beliefs of the families served at the Y or the varying family structures represented, such as single parent homes, foster parents, grandparents as parents, dual mom or dual dad homes. “Families come in a variety of shapes, sizes and backgrounds,” adds Jackson. “In my interactions with members and staff at the Y, it is important to listen first to ensure I have all pertinent information before making any decisions.”
Downtown District Associate Executive Director of Youth Development
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aMone Redd has been passionate about working in sports with the YMCA his entire career. Starting in Texas and then moving back home in November 2021 to become sports coordinator for the Edmond YMCA and now as the sports director, he is excited to model the sports programs after his vision for what young people need in conjunction with the principles of the YMCA and its partners. As part of his leadership role at the Y, Redd starts any project by asking questions: What do I want the next generation of our communities to look like? What problems will they face in the future? What do they need to learn today that will equip them to achieve tomorrow? “Once those questions have been answered, we need to pick up one brick at a time and get busy!” declares Redd. One mantra Redd ascribes to that further defines his leadership style: If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together! “My experience is that it takes a team to get things done,” adds Redd. Issues surrounding diversity and inclusion are critical to who he is as a person and leader. “As a Black man, I carry the pride and history of Black Americans with me in every room I step foot in and every table I sit at,” states Redd. “We all come from different places. Everyone has a different upbringing. Diversity on a team is critical to achieving heights unseen.”
DaMone Redd, Sr. Sports Director
en years ago, Yesica Gonzalez began volunteering with one of the Y’s local food programs. In 2018 she stepped into the role of site coordinator and, since 2020, has held the position of the Y Clubhouse program director.
Developing her leadership skills has been important to Gonzalez. She takes to heart the idea that leadership must inspire and motivate others toward achieving their goals. By setting a good example and working to mentor and guide team members toward their best performance, she knows that future generations can strive for excellence and persevere through challenges. “My time at the YMCA has been instrumental in helping me grow both personally and professionally,” says Gonzalez. “By actively seeking out opportunities to learn and develop my abilities as a leader, I’ve been able to make significant strides. Ultimately, it’s through hands-on experience that we can truly build and refine our leadership skills. Seeing my professional growth and being able to inspire and guide others have been incredibly fulfilling.” Another aspect of her leadership style is to make sure diversity is appreciated and celebrated and that everyone can bring their perspectives to any project or program. “I believe in creating an environment where every person feels valued and included,” adds Gonzalez. “Together, my colleagues and I at the Y are working toward creating a safe and welcoming space for all members of our community.”
Y Clubhouse Program Director
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Francis Tuttle Technology Center
THE FACE OF CAREER & TECHNOLOGY EDUCATION
he best part of Dr. Michelle Keylon’s job as superintendent of Francis Tuttle is observing the transformation of students from starting at the technology center, unsure of themselves and questioning what they want to do, to becoming fully competent graduates, excited for a future in their chosen field.
Keylon is proud of the way Francis Tuttle helps those unsure of their direction to find a program that fits their interests and skills.
“Every month, I’m able to meet with a different set of students to discuss their experiences while at Francis Tuttle and, without exception, by the end of their tenure at our school, they are confident they can make a difference with what they know and can do,” says Keylon. “I get particularly excited because I can immediately see the impact we have on these students and, in turn, how those students go on to benefit our community and state.”
Another facet that makes Francis Tuttle so helpful to their students is the deep connection with community members who share their understanding of what skills and training are needed in the workforce today.
During her tenure, Keylon has watched students’ lives transformed by the training and education through Francis Tuttle. “One student, in particular, made a huge life decision to enter the workforce after being a stay-at-home mother of three who had not worked or been in school for years,” recounts Keylon. “She enrolled in a program to learn web design. The student was ready to make a big life change but knew in order to make it happen, she would need training to enter the workforce.” Shortly after, her sister enrolled in the same program. “It was remarkable to see multiple members from the same family thrive in their new careers after graduation,” says Keylon.
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“Any of our locations have career advisors ready to help anyone, including drop-ins, with assessments to take, brainstorming and more to find the right fit,” says Keylon.
“Each of the programs at Francis Tuttle has an advisory committee made up of members of our community who are experts in their fields,” explains Keylon. “These committees provide current feedback to teachers and administrators to make sure we’re offering the most up-to-date skills training education to students. We want our graduates to have the best opportunity to land a great position with a local, thriving business. Seeing that happen is thrilling to me.”
Dr. Michelle Keylon Superintendent
12777 N Rockwell Ave, OKC 405-717-7799 francistuttle.edu
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THE FACES OF SOCCER FUN
occerCity has been encouraging the instruction and playing of soccer for toddlers through adults in Oklahoma City for the last 12 years. As a testament to their popularity, enrollment numbers at the facility have grown every one of those years. The facility itself has four fields, three of which are regulation size, and one that is smaller, used for 10 and under leagues and other purposes. The Lil’ Kickers program serves children ages 18 months through 9 years, teaching the game at a developmentally-appropriate level and encouraging the idea of teamwork and other life skills. Imagination play, fun games and even bubbles encourage a love of soccer right from the start. Each session of Lil’ Kickers is 9 to 12 weeks long, held throughout the year, and open to new participants at any time. They even offer a chance for a free trial class (call for details).
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For adults, there are leagues for everyone. Men’s, women’s, co-ed and even walking soccer leagues are offered. Their upcoming winter session, which is always their busiest, starts Nov. 6. Looking for a unique birthday party venue? SoccerCity offers kids’ birthday party packages that include use of a field, which can be utilized for playing soccer as well as other sports such as lacrosse or football.
Audrey Kruszynski & Callie Bybee Lil’ Kickers Coaches
4520 Old Farm Rd, OKC 405-748-3888 soccercityokcity.com
METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / NOV-DEC 2023
We asked the owners of local shops around the OKC metro about their favorite family holiday traditions. Discover their top picks in this special section, and visit these locally-owned shops when you need to purchase holiday gifts.
Found Love Bridal Consignment
2420B N Robinson Ave, OKC foundlovebridal.com
"Christmas Tree Day is our family's favorite holiday tradition. It's the day after Thanksgiving; we spend the entire day decorating the house, listening to Christmas music and ending the day with takeout and homemade cookies!" Lindsie Guthrie
Literati Press Comics & Novels literatipressok.com @literatipress
1006 N Hudson, Ste 101, OKC omyhoma.com
Snow doesn’t come often to Oklahoma City, but when it does we take full advantage — snowmen, snowball fights, sledding and hot cocoa are a guarantee if we are lucky enough to wake up to see any amount of the white stuff on the ground!
We have a massive extended family, so just getting the entire herd together in one place to eat pie and tell embarrassing stories about one another is always the highlight of the season. Charles Martin
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807 N Broadway Ave, OKC plentymercantile.com
“Our favorite OKC holiday tradition is Lights on Broadway. When the lights go on, we know the holiday season has finally arrived!” Brittney Matlock, shown with her mother and co-owner Traci Walton
1007 N Broadway Ave, OKC shopgoodokc.com
One of our favorite family traditions is working the Christmas Eve shift at the shop as a family. We’ve done this since the kids were babies. It started as a way to make sure the rest of our team gets a head start on the holiday, but now that the kids are older it’s just really fun. Sawyer likes to answer the phone as Buddy the Elf (‘What’s your favorite color?’) and Hadley likes to gift wrap for all of the frazzled 20-something-year-old guys who run in looking for gifts on their way to family dinner. Their favorite thing is when a customer brings their family dog shopping, too. We always share a little toast to another hard-earned holiday season together before heading home to wait for Santa. Audrey Falk
From your friends at
Visit the Holiday Pop-Up shops in Midtown OKC Nov. 24-Dec. 17 SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION
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R E A L PA R E N T S O F T H E M E T R O
#ParentLife Through MetroFamily blogs Hashtag Parenting and Weekend Warrior, local parents share their favorite things to do and discuss the issues closest to their hearts. Check out clips from some of our favorite recent and seasonal blogs — use the QR code to read these blogs in full.
I hope that creating bridges and fostering cultural understanding will make it easier for our children to thrive together in the future.
What do pushing a stalled car and parenting have in common? Sometimes we all feel ‘stuck’ amidst the chaos of our daily lives. Dad and mental health professional Michael Dickerson offers 3 simple, actionable ways parents can move from languishing to flourishing.
“Whether you celebrate Hanukkah or are just interested in learning more about it, one of the best ways to introduce our children to the holiday is through a book!”
Local mom Sarah Brown (Choctaw) provides book recommendations for families to learn together during Native Heritage Month and all year long.
“Date nights are essential for strong and lasting relationships. With days being jam packed and weekends primarily focused on family activities, date nights have allowed for a beautiful break from it all and quality uninterrupted time with my husband.” Mom of three and business owner Umo Callins shares her 3 favorite local spots for unique date nights.
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Emiley Bainbridge curated a list of books about Hanukkah for families to enjoy together.
“Who wants to stay up until midnight with littles?! That’s why we decided to do a ‘Countdown to 7 p.m.’ party.” Local mom Samantha Young gets us New Year's Eve ready with creative ideas for a family countdown party.
R E A L PA R E N T S O F T H E M E T R O
“Our oldest, the one who granted me the title ‘Mama,’ began his final year of high school. As we help him prepare for the next stage of life, I still sometimes feel unprepared, overwhelmed and sleep-deprived.” Christina Mushi-Brunt shares her poignant observations about her first-born’s senior year of high school.
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EXPLORING OKL AHOMA WITH CHILDREN
O Christmas Towns &QUIRKY BRIGHT BY LINDSAY CUOMO. PHOTOS PROVIDED.
HOLIDAY TRADITIONS ACROSS OKLAHOMA
Take a family road trip this season to experience holiday traditions new and old around our state. These three Oklahoma towns crank up Christmas in quirky, creative and charismatic ways.
Chickasha’s Festival of Light is the oldest light display in the state. Set in motion 31 years ago by a group of citizens seeking to promote goodwill and civic pride, the festival draws inspiration each year from the youthful wonder of the season, attempting to capture “Christmas through the eyes of a child,” shared Logan Lassey, the festival’s director. “We like to follow the Disneyland rule,” said Lassey, “because we want to provide a warm, welcoming experience for everyone who comes to the park.” For the past three decades, Shannon Springs Park’s 43 acres have been illuminated by millions of twinkling lights. Intricate displays range from whimsical characters to traditional holiday scenes, creating a magical atmosphere that spreads joy and holiday cheer. Families can walk, drive or ride through the light display, which is open daily starting Nov. 18 at 6 p.m. Over the years, organizers and volunteers have expanded the festival, adding a 162-foot tree that can be seen for miles, carriage rides, an ice-skating rink, camel rides, food trucks and even a Ferris wheel. Santa and Mrs. Claus stop in most Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays throughout the season.
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CHICKASHA USHERS IN THE HOLIDAY CHEER WITH FESTIVAL OF LIGHT AND A 50-FOOT LEG LAMP CELEBRATING A LOCAL CONNECTION TO THE FILM A CHRISTMAS STORY. PHOTOS BY DEAN IMAGES.
In more recent years, the holiday fun has grown to include downtown Chickasha. Inspired by a local connection to the popular Christmas film A Christmas Story, a 40-foot inflatable leg lamp debuted on Chickasha Avenue in 2020, creating quite a buzz. Rumor has it that a creation by local artist and art teacher Noland James was the inspiration for the unique lamp in the movie. Chickasha’s towering leg lamp got an upgrade last holiday season, adding 10 extra feet and a new, more permanent fiberglass construction. The lamp is now the centerpiece of the Science & Arts Plaza year-round. This December, stop in to pose for a photo with the lamp, check out downtown’s Christmas tree nearby, peruse a Red Rider BB Gun exhibit and then hop aboard the Santa Shuttle, a round-trip ride from Chickasha Avenue to Shannon Springs Park. For $2 a person, the shuttle will transport families from downtown to the Festival of Light, touring festive neighborhoods along the way. The shuttle and the BB gun exhibit will be open on select weekends in December and shuttle tickets are available for purchase at 100 W. Chickasha Ave. Kids 3 & under ride for free and strollers are welcome aboard the shuttle. Proceeds benefit Chickasha Public Schools. For more information about the Festival of Light, visit chickashafestivaloflight.org.
A world of imagination
EXPLORING OKL AHOMA WITH CHILDREN
CHICKASHA FUN FACTS • The festival broke the 4 million light mark last year! It takes 50,000 lights alone to create the big tree. • Volunteers spend more than 1,300 hours putting up lights each year. Some of the founding volunteers are still involved more than 30 years later. • The mayor, his family and others dedicate two 8-hour days to string lights on the bridge, one of the festival’s most popular features.
Last year, Sapulpa debuted the Route 66 Christmas Chute, a unique holiday display stretching along several blocks of the city’s
charming downtown streets. Stroll down a brightly lit section of Historic Route 66 under 800-foot-long canopies brimming
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THE 800-FOOT-LONG CANOPIES IN SAPULPA'S CHRISTMAS CHUTE ARE ADORNED WITH 10 DISTINCT THEMES.
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EXPLORING OKL AHOMA WITH CHILDREN
with an astonishing array of elaborate decorations that transform Dewey Avenue into a festive wonderland.
gingerbread house building. Local stores and pop-up shops stay open late.
The Chute was a huge hit in its first year, drawing thousands of visitors from all over, said Cindy Lawrence, the executive director of Sapulpa Main Street.
“We’ll have igloos available to rent so families can grab something to eat from one of the food trucks or a local restaurant and have a cozy place to hang out,” said Lawrence.
“The smile on people’s faces, all of the joy and excitement, seeing people having the best time in downtown Sapulpa was wonderful,” shared Lawrence.
The Chute opens Nov. 16 and reservations for the Okie Igloo Village can be made at okiekidzinflatables.com.
A team of business owners and community volunteers are determined to make this year bigger and better. In addition to even more over-the-top décor, there will be special events and activities every weekend including live music and other performances, arts and crafts for kids, snowball fights, a live nativity, caroling and
As one of the oldest towns in the Sooner state, Enid offers plenty of family fun and history, but the holiday season ushers in even more. Main Street Enid is celebrating the 30th anniversary of their annual celebration, Enid Lights up the Plains, on the Friday after Thanksgiving. To kick things off with a bang, opening night will feature a variety of activities including live music, a nighttime parade, carriage rides, photos with Santa, a fireworks show and a few surprises.
ORGANIZERS HAVE SPECIAL ACTIVITIES PLANNED INCLUDING LIVE MUSIC, VISITS FROM SANTA AND MRS. CLAUS AND CARRIAGE RIDES.
SAPULPA FUN FACTS • The Chute is comprised of approximately 21,000 square feet of decorations, 35,400 lights and 10 different themes, all of which you can walk under! • Volunteers spend two weeks (more than 10,000 hours) constructing and decorating the Chute.
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MAIN STREET ENID'S 8-MINUTE FIREWORKS SHOW, WRAPS UP AN EVENING FULL OF HOLIDAY CHEER ON NOV. 24. PHOTO BY HIGHER IMAGE LLC.
EXPLORING OKL AHOMA WITH CHILDREN
In December, Main Street will host holiday markets, caroling, a hot chocolate and soup crawl and more. The Holidays on Ice rink adds to the fun with its own special events including a Rave on the Rink DJ dance party and a movie night. The rink is open daily from Nov. 17 to Jan 7. Admission is $14 with skate rental and $10 without. Kids 5 & under skate for $10. Next to the rink, The One Enid, a multi-event holiday experience, is debuting a brand-new artificial Christmas tree, affectionately known as The Christ Tree. In years past, the tree was a towering fresh-cut evergreen that earned the title of the world’s tallest Christmas tree! But being the world’s tallest in a state known for its sweeping winds posed some significant challenges. In fact, the 2021 tree was damaged by high winds.
ENID’S HOLIDAYS ON ICE RINK IS OPEN DAILY THROUGH JAN. 7. PHOTO BY PATRICK WINE.
ENID FUN FACTS • The Christ Tree is made of 625 panels and requires six semi-trucks to transport all the pieces. • The parade happening on Nov. 24 features 100 lighted floats, ending with Santa in his sleigh.
The new metal tree will stand 122 feet tall and will be covered in nearly 35,000 lights. Each week, the tree will feature a new choreographed light show set to music. Families can watch and listen from their car or get out to enjoy an up-close view of the tree. The One has special events planned throughout the season including a lighting ceremony on opening night Dec 3, a petting zoo on Dec. 9 and photos with Santa on Dec. 16. Learn more about Main Street Enid’s holiday events at mainstreetenid.org and The One’s events at theoneenid.com.
Kids Programs Whether your child loves the arts, STEM, sports or all of the above, find the perfect fit for their interests. See all the programs online.
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L AST LOOK
5 Favorite Gifts for Kids this Holiday Season BY KIRSTEN HOLDER. PHOTOS PROVIDED.
If you’re shopping for gifts that encourage learning, togetherness and fun, check out our favorite new toys and games for the holidays!
Jade the Magical Touch Dragon
Tree House Play World from Bababoo and friends
This ride-on dragon is perfect for littles. The dragon horns light up when riding, plus petting the nose activates lights and sounds. It doesn't light up unless you pet softly, which is a great teaching tool for handling the family pet. Ages 1-3. flyer.radioflyer.com
Let imagination take over as adventure comes to life. The Bababoo set includes 31 pieces and provides a whole range of fun activities. Spark your explorer’s creativity while enhancing their concentration, hand-eye coordination and spatial understanding. Ages 2+. bababooandfriends.com
Encourage your child’s creativity and love for art-making. This ingenious app turns your child’s artwork into beautiful hardcover books, perfect as a keepsake or gift for grandparents. It’s as simple as taking a picture of the artwork, uploading it into the app and ordering your book. scribble.art
Tech Deck 25th Anniversary Pack
Ride, flip and grind down memory lane. This special anniversary pack includes eight fingerboards featuring the coolest graphics over Tech Deck’s 25-year history. Play as-is or use the included sticker pack and skate tool to customize your board just like the pros. Ages 6+. Available at Target or Amazon.
Beat the Parents: Disney Edition
Bring the family together through Disney movie trivia. Go head-to-head with active and drawing challenges to see who comes out on top. Ages 8+. Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
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View the full list of our favorite holiday gifts at metrofamilymagazine.com/top-gifts-for-kids.
Enter our Ultimate Holiday Contest Dec. 1-12 for your chance to win packages of toys, games, road trips and local attraction tickets.