Written by Carol Martin, Rainbows’ Finance Department
The holidays are upon us again, and there are so many things to do. It can be exhausting, trying to hit all the parties, concerts and school programs. What is most needed, however, is time to relax and have some fun with the family. If you have “FOMO,” or fear of missing out, make your own holiday bucket list and don’t worry about missing a thing!
- Lights! Botanica’s Illuminations has over a million lights and festive music, too. Admission is $10 for adults and $7 for kids 3-12. Held nightly from 5:30-8:30 p.m. (except for 12/24-25) this event will end on Dec. 31. The Arc’s Lights (formerly Lights on St. Paul) is a Wichita favorite that has been around for 21 years. Open nightly at 5:30 p.m., admission rates depend on the day. Island Park in Winfield is home to 25-year-old Isle of Lights. Admission is free, but donations are appreciated. This massive light display is open nightly 6-10 p.m. through December 30. Wichitaonthecheap.com has a complete list of all the residential light displays. These are free, most have music and you can stay toasty in your own car.
- Cookies! The only thing better than cookies—is more cookies. A Cookie Swap is a creative way to get loads of cookies while having some fun. Invite friends and family over after school or on a weekend afternoon. Make sure each person (or family) brings a dozen cookies for each person (or family) attending. Eight people equals eight dozen cookies. Bring one type of cookie and copies of the recipe. Put out some plastic bags or boxes and holiday beverages and voila! You’ll have enough cookies to last through the end of the year (if not longer). Links to two holiday recipes are here and here.
- Fun! The Saint Nick 5Klick & Little Dashers 1K on December 9 will be something fun the whole family can do together. Register here. Kids of any age are welcome to run and crazy costumes are encouraged. Held at Sedgwick County Park. According to Wichita Moms Blog, there are a lot of holiday camps and classes for kids coming up. Here’s a link to them.
- Crafts! Blow your own glass ornament at Karg Art Glass in Kechi. Sessions are available Monday-Saturday through January 13, 2018. Registration is required and cost is $30. Gather a few supplies and make these two cute crafts; one from Pinterest (Rudolph the Reindeer candy bars) and the other from Post-It (a Christmas tree for your wall).
- Music! Exploration Place’s dome theater will host daily holiday concerts through the end of the year. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for children. If the weather’s not too cold, drop by the Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum from noon-1 p.m. on Friday, December 22. A live, outdoor performance of a free Christmas Carillon from the bell tower of the museum will put everyone in the spirit. Most high schools and churches in the area are having holiday concerts, as well.
- Giving! Elderly friends or neighbors would love a small gift or gift card and a visit from your family. Donate gently used coats and blankets to the International Rescue Committee. Locally, contact Kristen.Hoffman@rescue.org. The Kansas Food Bank encourages you to hold your own mini food drive at home, work or school. Don’t forget about the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree.
- Movies! Pick a movie or holiday special to watch together. Introduce your kids to one of your childhood favorites. Make a living room picnic to add to the fun. If you’d rather visit a theater, Regal Cinemas offers $5 family holiday movies at noon every Saturday in December. New releases in theaters with kid-friendly ratings are The Star, Wonder, Coco, Ferdinand, The Greatest Showman and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.
- Vacations! While the kids are on winter break, take some time to do a day or overnight trip. Eskimo Joe’s restaurant of Stillwater, Oklahoma, is merely two hours down I-35, and has amazing burgers and cheese fries and funky ambiance to spare. Let your friends know when you’ll be there and they can watch you live on the website! Be sure to stop by the gift shop before you leave and pick up a world famous t-shirt. OSU’s pretty campus holds two museums: the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and the Museum of Art. Also in Stillwater, the Oklahoma Wondertorium is a children’s museum with cool interactive exhibits. Admission is $7 for everyone. Only two and a half hours from Wichita is the Oz Museum in Wamego (near Manhattan). If you’re a big Wizard of Oz fan, this place is bucket list material. From movie set items, original costumes, Baum books and collectibles, it is a magical spot. For lunch, stop by the Friendship House bakery, where everything is freshly baked. Their cookie of the month for December is pumpkin spice.
Whatever you do this holiday season, make it fun and make memories. Don’t forget to take photos!