Christmas Plan B:
11 Things to Do if Your Christmas Plans Get Canceled Last-Minute
Well, we just found out that our Christmas plans are canceled due to a COVID exposure on the other end. Now that Joss is vaccinated, and Daniel and I are boosted, we were looking forward to a Christmas with out-of-town family! But it looks like we’ll be hunkered down in Tulsa after all. Of course, we both succumbed to seasonal colds earlier this week and don’t feel great as it is, so it’s probably for the best. We’re currently on the hunt for at-home COVID tests (he took one earlier this week – negative), but Daniel said they’re proving hard to come by.
All this to say, I have two days to plan a low-key but hopefully memorable Christmas for our family! We got the party started earlier this week, meaning all our presents have been opened. Since we planned to be out of town, it just worked out timing-wise to have our family Christmas on Monday night. Whoops!
Since I figured we’re not the only people in this situation, I wanted to put together a list of ideas. I asked members of our Facebook group, TulsaParents, to help. Thank you so much to Jen H., Samantha R., Jennifer M. and Kristi Roe Owen for contributing some great ideas!
ETA: A couple of these ideas take place indoors in what could potentially be crowded settings. Last time we went to the movies, we were able to social distance easily – there were only a few other families in the theater. But that could be different on Christmas. Review the CDC’s holiday health tips before going out!
1. Make Owencorn and watch a Christmas movie
This idea came from Kristi Roe Owen, fellow TulsaKids blogger. You can find her recipe for Owencorn here, although she pointed out that there’s no real recipe. It’s basically just popcorn with whatever add-ins your family prefers. She recommended watching “A Christmas Story.” As Joss has never seen that, and I’ve only seen it once – in high school! – that might make the cut. I also keep seeing mention of Terry Pratchett’s “The Hogfather,” so that might be a fun option as well.
2. Show kindness
Jen H. recommended volunteering or making DIY presents. Since we’re under the weather, I don’t think volunteering is on the table. But if you’re interested, check out TulsaKids’ list of 10 Places to Volunteer as a Family in Tulsa.
Making gifts or cards for others would be a great option, though. It may be too late to make a craft supply run, but we can see what we have around the house. We definitely have plenty of card-making supplies! If you just have felt, string and scissors, you could easily make some cute ornaments to give to neighbors.
Another TulsaParent said her family will be taking coffee to some of the homeless camps in the area.
3. Take a walk
The weather is supposed to be unseasonably warm, making conditions ideal for an evening Christmas light walk! Our neighborhood has some cheery lights, so that would be a great way to get some energy out and enjoy the magic of the season. Joss is already going stir crazy just from being on Winter Break while I’m at work. So anything we can do to get outside is a plus. You could also go to a park, or take a hike at Turkey Mountain. Oxley Nature Center’s Interpretive Center is closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but (if I understand their Facebook post correctly), you could still hike on their trails.
4. Family games
Luckily, we purchased a new family game, Spaceteam, for Christmas! Joss picked it out at Whitty Books last week, and he is really looking forward to playing! But old favorites are fun to play as well, and staying in your holiday PJs all day can give anything a festive touch.
5. Go see a movie
This is one I hadn’t even considered, but is an excellent idea from Jennifer M. AMC Southroads is showing the following films, among others, on Christmas: Spider-Man: No Way Home (PG-13); Sing 2 (PG); Encanto (PG); West Side Story (PG-13); The Matrix Resurrections (R); Ghostbusters: Afterlife (PG-13).
6. Bake Christmas cookies!
We already have leftover Snickerdoodles. And I just whipped up these three-ingredient peanut butter cookies this morning! But that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t be up for another round of baking. You can find a ton of options in this collection of Christmas Recipes from the TulsaKids archives!
7. Search for Christmas lights
Maple Ridge neighborhood is an excellent place to drive around looking for Christmas lights. We used to live in the apartments at 21st and Cincinnati, and loved walking through the neighborhood around Christmas. If you’re up for a longer drive, the Garden of Lights at Honor Heights Park in Muskogee will be open from 5:30-11 p.m. on Christmas Day. Cost is $5 per car or $10 for bus/passenger van. Cash or credit cards are accepted upon arrival. And Rhema Lights in Broken Arrow are open nightly from 5:30-11:30 p.m. through January 2. Donations accepted, but no admission fee required.
8. Celebrate Jolabokaflod
By now, you’ve no doubt heard of Jolabokaflod, the Icelandic Christmas Eve tradition of gifting – and then reading- books. If not, here’s some history. I know I have a stack of books waiting to be read, and I love the idea of just spending Christmas Eve – or Christmas Day – or both – reading books while enjoying a warm beverage. Joss’s reading is really coming along, but unfortunately I doubt he’s at a point yet where we could all sit down separately with our books and read silently. But we could certainly do some family reading, and you never know, maybe he’d surprise me!
9. Build Legos
I was very tempted to brave Target and purchase a large-ish Lego set to put together on Christmas Day. I don’t think it will happen, but I do think this would be a fun activity to do together! Just wish it were a bit cheaper to do. We’ve been enjoying the Harry Potter Lego sets lately, so it would be fun to pair one of those with a Harry Potter movie marathon. Or Star Wars, Marvel, even Queer Eye! Whichever you prefer.
10. Christmas Eve Service
If you’re not personally quarantining, most churches host special Christmas Eve services. I love the ones with live animals, kids acting out the Nativity story, and worrying about fire as the whole congregation lights candles while singing “Silent Night.” Asbury Tulsa is hosting several options on both Dec. 23 and 24. First Presbyterian downtown has a live Children’s Nativity service at 5 p.m. on December 24 (as well as other services). Their sanctuary is probably one of the most beautiful in town around the holidays, decorated with greenery and all that beautiful wood! And First United Methodist downtown is hosting a “Chaotic Candlelight Christmas Eve Service” geared towards families.
11. Enter TulsaKids’ Holiday Fun Photo Contest 😉
If you haven’t already entered our Holiday Fun Photo Contest, sponsored by The Orthopaedic Center, why not set up a DIY holiday photo shoot over the weekend? Don your best festive attire, or recreate one of those vintage Christmas tree photos. Or, since it’s going to be 70 degrees on Christmas Day, have some fun playing on the idea of Christmas at the beach or something. It should be fun, plus, you could win $100!
How are you planning to spend Christmas Day? Did your holiday plans get canceled last-minute? If so, I hope all is well and that you’re able to find memorable ways to celebrate in any case. Merry Christmas!