United's festive fixture list kicked off with a Boxing Day Saturday afternoon home game against Bolton Wanderers.
And with the coronavirus numbers heading in the wrong direction, Brunton Park was one of just three venues (Exeter and Tranmere the others) allowed to have fans in attendance on the day.
Dean Furman was missing having picked up a knock at the midweek reserve game against Rochdale, and captain Nick Anderton was self-isolating as a precaution, having come into contact with somebody away from the club on Christmas Day who received news later that evening that a Covid-19 test result had landed as being positive.
United had the fierce Storm Bella wind behind them as they kicked towards the Waterworks End and they won a free kick as Santos wrestled Alessandra to the floor when a lobbed pass from Hayden came their way. Guy bent the delivery into the six-yard box and Hayden netted his fourth of the season as he made sure he got the telling touch.
The lead was doubled just two minutes later when Alessandra was fouled once again, this time tight by the corner flag. A superbly worked set piece routine saw Guy roll a pass to the near post, and Alessandra left Gilks with no chance as he clipped a lovely finish on the run into the back of the net to take his personal tally to five for the campaign.
Carlisle came again as Patrick found space, and he dropped a shoulder to send a firm pass at Mellish. The midfielder got a touch but it was heavy and Gilks gathered it up.
It was Patrick who almost added to the scoreline moments later when a long Kayode throw was headed by Santos. It came to the striker and his connection had to be palmed behind by the keeper.
With still only 10 minutes played Guy caused all kinds of problems with a corner that skipped across the face of goal. Hayden was there, but he couldn't control it and it dropped to safety.
The lively Omari Patrick then forced a great save out of Gilks when he twisted into space 24-yards out. A pilderiver was unleashed but a two-handed push took the ball over the bar.
More excellent work from Patrick led to a pass to Guy and another cross into the area. Mellish met it on the full, and his touch invited Kayode to have a go. Santos did well to get in the way.
Kayode volleyed over the bar as United kept the pressure on, and Alessandra should have bagged his second in the next attack as he broke free with the ball at his feet. He drew Gilks as he opted for power, but that took his effort just an inch over the bar.
Bolton's first real attack of the half came on the 30-minute mark when Delfouneso pulled wide to win a corner. Guy made important first contact, and the follow up shot from Sarcevic was cleared by Riley.
Visiting boss Ian Evatt was booked as tensions rose on the touchline, and he had more to grumble about as Omari Patrick produced an exquisite finish when the ball came his way after Alessandra and Kayode had battled for it. He was just inside the area, but he made absolutely no mistake as he guided it into the bottom corner.
Over-confidence in midfield handed the visitors a lifeline just before the break when Doyle was able to steal possession. He fed it wide, and a deflected cross spooned up as it spun to the back post. George Thomason was there to head it into the roof of the net from close range.
United thought they'd restored their cushion in time added on when a Kayode long throw was flicked on by Bennett. Mellish was in space but he couldn't get any purchase on his header and Gilks pulled it into his chest.
And Mellish dragged a good chance wide of the post when he was put clean through by a touch from Kayode and a rebound off Tutte. He had the target at his mercy but he miscued his kick, much to the relief of the visitors.
Carlisle were first to show in the second period when Kayode stole possesion inside his own half. He fed it through for Alessandra to go on a run, but his cross went behind as he tried to return the favour for his strike partner.
Bennett showed great awareness to prevent Sarcevic from getting a clean sight as he tried to spin as a pass came his way. The block was perfect and the target protected.
Patrick bent one wide at the other end as he took the ball under control after it had bounced awkwardly, and the Blues almost picked a way through when Riley burst from deep. He lost it under his feet and Bolton pushed forward, with Isgrove finding room to cross. Hayden was back to provide vital cover.
Farman punched well from an inswinging Isgrove corner that threatened to creep in, and his kick from deep created a half chance for Alessandra. He caught a weak clearance on the volley and Gilks had to readjust to make sure he caught it.
The hosts had defending to do as Bolton tried to use the advantage the wind gave them. but the blue line stayed solid as everybody kept their concentration levels high.
Chances were still being created and Kayode combined with Riley to allow Alessandra to overlap. He turned his man and Kayode was a whisker away from finding the header.
Alessandra, in a rich vein of form, stood deep for a Kayode throw and it came his way as the clearance skipped off the surface. A good first touch was followed by a deft second one, and Gilks could only watch as a rasper clipped the top of his bar.
Joe Riley was a yard above the same outcome when the Blues once again won possession back. The midfielder had just one thing in mind as he went for it, and it drew appreciative noise from the crowd as it dipped just over.
United missed another great chance to extend their lead when Kayode started a move in his own half as he left his marker in his wake. He worked his way to the edge of the area, using Toure as a bounce board, but his 20-yard effort zipped over the target.
Kayode was stopped in his tracks by Guy as he threaded a lovely pass into his stride, and that proved to be a pivotal moment as Delfouneso reduced the deficit to just one goal with five minutes left to play when he stabbed an Isgrove delivery home from close range.
And Kioso levelled things up two minutes later when he headed in from just 10-yards out as a ripped corner delivery kept the Blues pegged in.
Thomason hit the outside of the post deep into time added on, after an intricate move, and Kioso was sent off when he committed one foul too many.
A spin from Mellish which hit the post was the last chance of the game, and the width of the woodwork meant a Boxing Day share of the spoils.
Carlisle United - Hayden (5), Alessandra (7), Patrick (36)
Bolton Wanderers - Thomason (44), Delfouneso (86), Kioso (87)
Carlisle United - Riley (24), Bennett (45), Mellish (48), Farman (64)
Bolton Wanderers - Jones (22), Evatt (35), Kioso (50 & 90 - sent off), Thomason (81)
Carlisle United - Farman, Hayden, Bennett, McDonald, Armer, Riley, Guy, Mellish, Kayode, Alessandra, Patrick (Toure 77). Subs - Dewhurst (gk), Reilly, Charters, Dixon, Bell, Obiero.
Bolton Wanderers - Gilks, Jones, Almeida Santos, Delaney (Greenidge 76), Delfouneso, Doyle (Brockbank 90), Sarcevic (c), Tutte, Thomason, Baptiste (Isgrove 46), Kioso. Subs - Crellin (gk), Comley, Crawford, White.
Referee - Ross Joyce
Assistant Referee 1 - Graeme Fyvie
Assistant Referee 2 - Anthony Moore
Fourth Official - Simon Clayton
Attendance - 2,000