By Amanda McCarty
If there were ever a case to be made for the existence of time travel, I believe the most convincing evidence could be found in the nostalgia of the holiday season. I don’t think anything holds the power to transport us to the past quite like the spirit of December coming on.
For me, it’s the soft, comforting lullaby of Christmas music mingled with the fragrant notes of cinnamon dancing through the air. The ache in my crimson-stained fingertips from threading delicate strands of cranberries and popcorn. The candy glow of multicolored lights.
These mundane-yet-poignant experiences take us back to a time when we held sanguine beliefs in Santa Claus, flying reindeer and the goodness in all people. And while these moments look different for everyone, they all share a common thread: the tradition of gathering with those we cherish most to share these experiences.
As you sink into the comforting embrace of a new Christmas season, it’s important to connect with your own family traditions and rituals — even if that means creating new ones of your own. Because we all need to share the joy of reigniting the childish sense of wonder within us all.
If you’re searching for ways to unlock those cozy feelings of nostalgia and belonging, Choctaw Country offers many opportunities to create new, lasting memories. I pray they continue to fuel the magic of the season for you and your family for many years to come.
1. Book a Cozy Getaway
Sometimes you just need to get away from it all to really connect with the people who matter. Kiamichi Cabins offers a variety of luxury hideaways nestled in the pines of Broken Bow and Hochatown. It’s the perfect place to gather with the family by the warm glow of a fire and watch the rest of the world — and if you’re lucky, the snow — drift quietly by.
2. Create a New Tradition
Kick off the holiday season with a truly unique experience at the Endangered Ark Foundation in Hugo, Oklahoma — a sanctuary for the endangered Asian elephant species. Holiday in the Ark begins Friday, November 25 and includes holiday craft centers, elephant feeding and interactions, holiday-themed lands and plenty of photo ops with Santa and Mrs. Claus, the elves, the Grinch and, of course, the elephants! This special event runs Saturdays and Sundays through December 18, and tickets are on sale now.
3. Catch a Christmas Parade
Round up the kiddos for a Cowboy Christmas like no other at Atoka’s Wild West Christmas Parade. Scoot your boots to live music, chow down on delicious food and tip your hat to Santa at this beloved family event. The festivities begin at 6pm on Saturday, December 3.
Just a few minutes north of the Oklahoma/Texas border, Durant lies close enough for a quick but meaningful trip into Oklahoma with the family to experience the Durant Christmas Parade. Join us downtown in the beautiful “City of Magnolias” on Tuesday, December 6 for “A Very Nutty Christmas” — this year’s theme for the annual holiday celebration. The fun begins at 7pm with a festive procession of floats, candy stations along the parade route and a special appearance by Mr. and Mrs. Claus.
4. Take in the Lights
There’s nothing quite like taking in the magical glow of Christmas lights on a chilly, December night. And the display of lights at Christmas in the Park on the beautiful Choctaw Capitol Grounds in Tuskahoma is one of the best in the area. Join us on Fridays and Saturdays in December from 6pm-9pm for free hot chocolate while you enjoy this enchanting drive-through exhibit.