One tree that is interesting is decorated with ornaments collected by Steve Nicolais as he worked in Russia for an oil company. His collection includes hand carved and painted Russian Santas, nutcracker nesting dolls and the tree ornaments. These were particularly interesting to him as they are excellent examples of the handicrafts cottage industries throughout Russia. The Santa figures are made for the tourists and are the Russian interpretation of the western world’s Santa Claus. The Christmas tree skirt with this tree was crocheted by Judy Nicolais.
The figure that Nicolais says is his favorite is the beautifully carved “Ded Moroz” which translate to “Grandfather Frost” in English, but is usually called by “Father Frost.” He delivers gifts on New Year’s Eve rather than Christmas because of the Soviet policies.
Other trees in the Museum are a silver and blue American style, native peoples’, Hispanic, German and Swedish. These trees are placed with exhibits in the main exhibit that show these ethnic groups in the main exhibit room. One tree features lace snow flakes and delicate ribbons birds and these decorations are for sale with the proceeds going to the newspaper sleeves fund. This tree along with items in the gift shop are available and would make excellent gifts.
Rio Grande County Museum, located at 580 Oak Street in Del Norte, is open Tuesday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and on Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. For more information please call (719)657-2847 or contact us on Facebook.