Christmas Traditions Abound
11/29/2016 6:08:08 p.m. - Hobbs, NM. [Story by Dorothy Fowler, Hobbs News Sun]
As he has done for many years, Gus, the animatronic cowboy at the Western Heritage Museum and Cowboy Hall of Fame, is having a field day as he watches museum employees and volunteers from the community make the museum ready for Christmas guests at the annual Traditions Around the World exhibit.
The exhibit, a tradition during the Christmas season in Hobbs, is scheduled to open with an event Thursday from 6-9 p.m. when ticket holders will get the first look at 45 Christmas trees prepared by non-profit as well as for-profit exhibitors. Decorators have been preparing their trees for the opening show for several days and several were planning to complete decorating their trees by Wednesday afternoon. Monday, Gus watched Connie Chavarria, activity director at Desert Springs Nursing and Rehabilitation Center and Michele Schley, administrator in training at Desert Springs, put ornaments made by their respective residents on a tree. "Our residents made all these ornaments," Chavarria said of the ornaments she and Schley were hanging.
Susan Spousta, captain at the local Salvation Army Center, said she helped residents with the ornaments and pointed out a wooden penguin painted yellow and white instead of black and white.
"The people who worked on these are really creative and they have their own ideas about how they want things to be," Spousta said. Spousta was also putting the finishing touches on the Salvation Army's tree.
"This is the third year I've done a tree," she said as she placed another Salvation Army lass on a branch. "There aren't any Salvation Army lads on the tree because people identify with the women who provide coffee and donuts. You can see the tree is in our colors, red, gold and blue."
Across the room, the Hobbs Police Department's tree also gleamed in blue, topped by a policeman's cap that sported a huge blue bow. Mary Lyle, education director at the museum, said in addition to usual police paraphernalia, they added donuts and coffee cups to this year's tree.
Each of the 45 trees in the exhibit is a themed tree, Lyle said. At the entry to the museum, visitors are greeted by a cowboy tree that contains plaques with wise sayings, such as "When you count your blessings, count your horse twice."
One of the several new trees is one decorated with items that evoke memories of gingerbread.
Ginger Taylor, who works at the reception desk of the museum, decorated the tree.
"I went to Hobby Lobby and saw all these gingerbread things and my name is Ginger and I just decided that would be a good theme." she said as she pointed to a soft, fabric gingerbread man.
Even the poinsettias on the tree are made of ginger-colored burlap.
Many of the trees are contributed by businesses and professional designers in the area. Each of them is also themed and color coordinated.
In the main exhibit room, Bonnie Moran's snow village, a display of an electric train and village scenes will be on view.
Accidental Harmony, a singing group dressed in Victorian costumes will roam the halls singing Christmas carols.
In exhibit room north of the auditorium, artifacts from southeast New Mexico will be on display. They include a wall telephone from the late 19th-early 20th centuries and an old fashion pump organ.
Those historic items will be sharing space with Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus, who will be available for conversation and to pose with visitors who want want to take pictures with their own cameras.
The first of the museum's Christmas guests will arrive Thursday evening at 6 p.m., provided they've already bought a ticket to the opening night of the Christmas exhibit at the museum. Tickets are $10 for adults 13 and older and $8 for kids 4-12. A portion of the proceeds from ticket sales will help provide the annual Christmas party provided by Phi Theta Kappa honor society for local children in foster care. For more information about tickets call 575-492-2678.
Lyle said no tickets will be sold at the door.
"We wanted to cut down on the congestion at the door and if the weather is bad, we didn't want people lined up outside in a storm," Lyle said. "Besides, we're almost sold out. If people want to come, they need to get their tickets now."
This year ticket holders will not only have the opportunity to taste cuisine from many different countries, they'll also be able to go into the auditorium to hear a concert by the Flying J Wranglers, who will present a 45-minute show.
"This is not a come and go concert," Lyle said. "Once people get into the auditorium, we want them to stay there for the whole concert. We've had different kinds of entertainment over the years, but this year we've gone back to our roots with a western band," Lyle said. "And we'll begin to branch out from there again next year. What this museum is about and what the Christmas traditions show is about is celebrating the diversity in our community. We want everyone to enjoy it."