When I first moved to Colorado, one of the things I missed most about my old home, was not being there for the holidays. Actually, there were a lot of things wrapped up in that one thing.

My Christmas Traditions Growing Up

My parents saved all those pictures of me and my sister with Santa Claus and my mom would display them during the holiday season.

She would start decorating around Thanksgiving so that when Christmas rolled around, our house would be ready. My dad was responsible for trimming the outside of the house with lights. Each year, he would go through each light strand to make sure they all worked properly before they got hung.

There were handmade ornaments on the tree and lots of goodies made between Thanksgiving and Christmas. My parents had an Elf on the Shelf. Not like the ones you find nowadays. I’m not sure he had a name, and he didn’t get into mischief either. He stayed perched atop an ornament hung from the ceiling and silently watched over us to make sure we didn’t make trouble.

Once we had children, we incorporated some of each of our family’s traditions into our own.

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Blending Our Family Christmas Traditions

Our family has an Elf, who arrives at our house around Thanksgiving every year. His name is Max. He doesn’t get into much trouble either. He reports to Santa each night and moves to a new position in our house each day. In past years, I’ve thought Max should stay in our house year-round, just to report to Santa all the time about any wrongdoings in our house.

My husband takes care of decorating outside our house, and, like my dad, painstakingly checks each strand of lights before putting them up. He told me long ago that he wanted to decorate our house like the Griswolds from “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” someday. There used to be a house in Greeley that decorated their home that way, but I read that they sold all their decorations back in 2021 and moved to another home.

Bee Haddock
Bee Haddock

We have a rather small, but tall, Christmas tree. About half of our ornaments were handmade by our girls. My favorite ones are glass balls with my girls’ handprints turned into snowmen and Santas.

The girls and I also do a lot of baking. Two years ago, we made 8 different batches of cookies over one weekend. The recipes each made about 4-5 dozen cookies. I brought a lot of cookies to work that year.

Colorado-Centric Christmas Traditions

I’ve read that many people in Colorado take advantage of various Santa ski events. You dress up like Santa and ski down the mountain. I’m not much of a skier, but my husband might enjoy that activity.

Let’s not forget that Colorado is home to The North Pole – Santa's Workshop. It’s located just outside of Colorado Springs and is fun for the whole family. You can ride the rides, and the kids can visit Santa on their Christmas wish list. Be sure to check their website for information before you go, as some days require reservations in advance.

You could also pay a visit to Lakewood, Colorado for Camp Christmas - Denver Center for the Performing Arts. It’s an immersive artistic experience intended to celebrate the ways we do. They have trees, ornaments, lights, a classic carousel, hot cocoa, and visits with Santa. I’d never heard of it until this year, but it looks to be an interesting adventure that you could include in your holiday traditions.

Each year I try to incorporate a new Christmas family tradition. I wonder what it will be this year.

Light Up the Grand Valley 2020 Entrants: All the Light Up the Grand Valley Entries for 2020

During the 2020 holiday season, we asked our audience to show us their Christmas decorations. We received some great photos from the area's best-decorated houses.

The first photo in the gallery was our 2020 winner, who received $500. We're running the contest again this year, so stay tuned for more details.

The Grand Valley's Best Holiday Light Displays for 2021

Take a look at some of the Grand Valley's best holiday lights displays below. Think your house is one of the best decorated in the neighborhood? Send it to us and you could win $500.

Grand Junction Christmas Light Displays of the 1940s

These decorations don't compare to the magnificent blue light display you'll see in the neighborhood in the northwest part of town. It was a different time. Even at that, there's something heartwarming about these 1948 decorations.

These are the best of the best of 1948. I regret I don't know which house placed first, second, etc. In the end, it doesn't matter. They're all great. Take a look at the gallery. Who knows? You might see a house you recognize. For that matter, you might see someone you recognize.

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