Glad Tidings of a Soul-Centered Christmas

It’s been a crazy year. With Halloween, the election and Thanksgiving behind us, it’s time to brace yourself for the season of trying to be all things to all people, exhausting yourself and stretching your family to their wits’ end. You’ll need a few tricks up your sleeve.

By KD Reep

Capital hotel tree
 

Make an early resolution right now to be proactive about peace— for you and your loved ones. Central Arkansas is packed with holiday events to nurture your mind, body and spirit while entertaining your little ones. Most are free or low-cost, and all can provide you with a welcome distraction during the holidays.

SING OUT
For those who like to be loud in public, consider caroling along the path of a holiday parade. The cities of Little Rock, North Little Rock, Sherwood, Benton and Bryant all have parades in December, and there is a tour of holiday lights in towns throughout the state. For info on free events in your area, visit arkansas.com/events/free-events.

ATTEND
Join tourists during the Winter Open House at the Witt Stephens Central Arkansas Nature Center to celebrate its eighth anniversary as well as the winter season with hot chocolate, cider and dessert from the Dutch oven. Enjoy nature crafts, activities and receive a free holiday ornament with the purchase of $50 or more from the gift shop. centralarkansasnaturecenter.com.

GET CRACKIN’
Ballet Arkansas Presents “The Nutcracker,” its traditional holiday classic fairy tale ballet. Accompanied by the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, tickets for Dec. 9, 10 and 11 are available at arkansassymphony.org.

A CAPITAL CHRISTMAS
At the Capital Hotel, that is. Pick from the Sundays with Santa on Dec. 4, 11, and 18 where you can visit with the big guy from 2-4 p.m. and get a selfie with St. Nick. You also can block out the afternoon of Dec. 17 to decorate a pre-assembled gingerbread house without all the fuss. The hotel provides the house and all the candy adornments, you provide the creativity. For reservations and pricing, call 501-370-7068.

TELL A CHRISTMAS STORY
Enjoy Ralphie’s hilarious misadventures as his family struggles to enjoy an All-American Christmas on the brink of World War II. Bring your family or schedule a girls’ night out at the Arkansas Repertory Theatre’s production through Dec. 25. therep.org.

HOLIDAY CRAFTING
Adults are encouraged to create ornaments at the Millie Brooks Library every Saturday in December at 11 a.m. All supplies are provided. cals.org.

ROCK PAINTING
Join the Argenta Branch of the William F. Laman Public Library in North Little Rock for an hour of rock art painting. It’s a fun, unique way to be creative and spread a little joy throughout the community. Starts at 3:45 p.m. on Dec. 6. lamanlibrary.org.

MAKE SOMETHING
Enjoy making a craft or food item, then take it home to give as a gift. Join the DIY Makers Fair at the Argenta Branch of the Laman Public Library in North Little Rock from 10-11:30 a.m. Dec. 7. Must have a reservation, so please call 501-687-1061.

GIVE BACK
The world’s first social hospital, the Watershed, provides food, clothes and toys to people in need. Volunteer or drop by an in-kind or monetary donation at the live radio Christmas broadcast Dec. 21-23. For information, call 501-378-0176.

MAKE THE CONNECTION
Sponsor gifts for a child member of the Thrasher Boys & Girls Club. The annual tradition for the junior board of the Boys & Girls Club of Central Arkansas, Christmas with the Connection, distributes gifts to children in need. arclubs.org.

GIVE JOY
Each year in October, The Salvation Army opens the application process for its Angel Tree program, which provides gifts of toys and clothing to more than 1,100 families in Central Arkansas. Open to any family living within Lonoke, Pulaski, Saline and White counties, secret Santas can purchase a gift for angels. For more information, visit salvationarmy.org.