"Holiday Heritages" is this year's theme for decorating the Governor's Residence.Kathryn Scott Osler, The Denver Post
Battling sale crowds or scouring stores for the year's hottest toy will seem about as significant as a snowflake in a storm after viewing the "Holiday Heritages" decorations unveiled this week at the Governor's Residence at the Boettcher Mansion.
This year, "Colorado's Home" at East Eighth Avenue and Logan Street is "decorated to reflect the diverse heritages and history that have shaped" the state, Gov. John Hickenlooper said in a statement.
The mansion opens for free holiday tours today.
In addition to paying homage to the American winter holiday melting pot, this year's decorations draw from Asia, Africa, Europe, American Indian and Latin American traditions.
First lady Helen Thorpe chose the "Holiday Heritages" motif.

From left, menorahs adorn a table in the dining room; objects from India decorate a room off the entrance; and items representing Ireland fill another room. 
 The job of bringing that theme to life fell (for the third year in a row) to Denver artist Karen Bozik."This house and its furnishings are extraordinary," Bozik said Monday about using the 1908 mansion as a conceptual canvas for an international take on the holidays. "It's quite an honor."
Bozik enhanced the mansion's modest permanent holiday-decoration collection with donations from the likes of the Mizel Museum, the Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls and Toys, the Denver Kwanzaa Committee, and her own handmade ornaments.

Visitors are now greeted at the door by Bozik's paper snowflake and icicle tree display. And a table of collectible dolls selected to interpret the song "It's A Small World (After All)" stands near the grand staircase, opposite the Kwanzaa-themed family game room.

That room is punctuated by works from the Rocky Mountain Wa Shonaji Quilt Guild and a kinara, or Kwanzaa candelabra, that once belonged to the well-known, late storyteller (and Denver Kwanzaa Committee co-founder) Opalanga Pugh. The decorations underscore that "there is diversity in 'Colorful Colorado'," said Thedora Jackson, executive director of the Denver Kwanzaa Committee.

Masnur Tambunan, left, Erwina Silalahi and Saleh Lawrence Frey play Christmas music with a taste of Indonesia.   (Photos by Kathryn Scott Osler, The Denver Post)
Silvana Vukadin-Hoitt assembled an Eastern European display outfitted with traditional service ware and museum-quality heirlooms, including an antique Slovenian accordion. She said the tablescape underscores the essential role of food to the holidays."Political and national differences melt away when you invite someone to your home and break bread with them," said Vukadin-Hoitt.

Elana Ashanti Jefferson: 303-954-1957 or ejefferson@denverpost.com
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