Boulder Holiday Traditions

Boulder has always celebrated the arrival of winter and the holiday season in many ways! One longtime signal of colder weather is the appearance of the lit star on Flagstaff Mountain. It was first installed in December 1947 and continues to serve as a beacon on cold, dark nights.

 

The city celebrates winter even without snow! Here, Stuart Mace and his sled dog team pull Santa in a holiday parade in 1946:

Photo courtesy of the Carnegie Library for Local History / Museum of Boulder Collection

 

When snow does fall, the creek and mountains make for a beautiful winter scene. This undated photo shows a snowy Boulder Creek with Flagstaff Mountain in the background:

Photo courtesy of the Carnegie Library for Local History / Museum of Boulder Collection

The tradition of decorating the County Courthouse dates back decades; this photo shows the iconic downtown building lit up in 1959. The next photo shows an employee checking the light installation with the Flatirons in the background (1965).

Photo courtesy of the Carnegie Library for Local History / Museum of Boulder Collection

Photo courtesy of the Carnegie Library for Local History / Museum of Boulder Collection

Photo courtesy of the Carnegie Library for Local History / Museum of Boulder Collection

 

 

Over the years, many local churches offered opportunities to get in the holiday spirit. Here are two young boys making holiday crafts in 1966.

Photo courtesy of the Carnegie Library for Local History / Museum of Boulder Collection

Even during the Great Depression, Boulder was in the giving spirit. During the 1935 holiday season, men serving in the Civilian Conservation Corps in Boulder set up a toy repair workshop. In addition to their day jobs on Flagstaff Mountain, these men fixed hundreds of toys for local kids at the camp located at Baseline and 6th St.

Photo courtesy of the Carnegie Library for Local History / Museum of Boulder Collection

Photo courtesy of the Carnegie Library for Local History / Museum of Boulder Collection

For many years, the US Forest Service offered a “cut your own tree” sale. Driving up Boulder Canyon to Sugarloaf Mountain (depicted by the map below) became an annual tradition for many Boulder families. Cars topped with freshly cut trees made their way back to Boulder, as shown in this 1974 photo.

Photo courtesy of the Carnegie Library for Local History / Museum of Boulder Collection

Photo courtesy of the Carnegie Library for Local History / Museum of Boulder Collection

Santa has made many appearances over the years in Boulder. In 1951, he posed with kids (and dogs!) in front of the County Courthouse, and in 1974, he greeted moms and kids outside the County Courthouse.

Photo courtesy of the Carnegie Library for Local History / Museum of Boulder Collection

Photo courtesy of the Carnegie Library for Local History / Museum of Boulder Collection

For more information on the history of holiday celebrations in Boulder, we encourage you to check out the Museum of Boulder’s extensive archives. You can also enter our contest for a chance to win a 12-month family pass to the Museum of Boulder, enter here before January 10th.

This post was written by the Museum of Boulder, in partnership with Elevations Credit Union.

Author Elevations Credit Union

Follow our team for a behind-the-scenes look at one of the Best Companies to Work For in Colorado!

More posts by Elevations Credit Union