Coloradans are welcome to bask in Christmas cheer at the Governor’s Residence at the Boettcher Mansion in Denver, which is open for holiday tours for the first time since 2019.
The first tours were on Dec. 3 and 4, but the public has two more chances to visit: Sunday, Dec. 11, and Sunday, Dec. 18, from 12 to 3 p.m. The free tours, at 400 E. Eighth Ave., take visitors through different rooms that showcase the theme for 2022: “shiny and bright,” which is meant to signal optimism for the future after the two-year hiatus for COVID-19.
“This year’s really special because it’s the first year back,” said Lisa Kaufmann, chief of staff for Gov. Jared Polis. While the team chose to decorate just the exterior in 2020, they put up Christmas trees and held outdoor events last year.
“We hope that everyone is feeling a sigh of relief that the pandemic is truly behind us, and that we have a lot to look forward to as a state,” Kaufmann added Monday.
Each room on the ground floor of the mansion showcases different holiday displays of metallic ornaments and shiny decor. For instance, the drawing room features a vintage tinsel tree from the 1950s, borrowed from the deputy chief of staff for the lieutenant governor.
One noteworthy tradition is the Gold Star Family Christmas tree, which pays tribute to the lives of Colorado service members lost in duty, Kaufmann said. “Some Coloradans are no longer with us this holiday season, and we want to honor that.”
A Gold Star Family is defined as “the immediate family member(s) of a fallen service member who died while serving in a time of conflict,” according to nonprofit Hope For The Warriors.
Former first lady Frances Owens first started the custom after the September 11 attacks. Gold Star Families are hosted at the mansion during the holidays.
Celebrators of Hanukkah aren’t left out of the festivities, either. As both Polis and his husband Marlon Reis are Jewish, there’s a special space for menorahs in the mansion, too.
The Colorado Governor’s Residence, which spans 25,000 square feet, includes 27 rooms, three floors and a ballroom in the basement. It was originally built for businessman Walter Cheesman for $50,000 in 1908. However, he died before construction was finished, with Colorado native Claude Boettcher buying it in 1923 for $75,000.
Polis lives primarily in Boulder with his family, but uses the house for news conferences, weekly cabinet meetings, roundtables and other events.
About 80 interns, staff members, friends, family members and more volunteered to help decorate the mansion, which they completed in two days. Visitors can mingle and buy ornaments after their tours.
“Our message is one of optimism,” Kaufmann said. “There’s a lot to be proud of in the state, and we have a bright future.”
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