Christmastime in The Cloud City
The Yuletide Report: From Santa to Church Service
The run-up to Christmas has begun in America’s highest city as the countdown to December 25 is officially underway in Leadville Today. With sunshine and blue skies mixed in with a little bit of much-needed snow in the forecast this week, the hope remains for a White Christmas. Local children and their families have had several opportunities to visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus to share Christmas wishes and receive gifts of toys, food and clothing through the generosity of many Lake County businesses and organizations.
The Holidays Zoom Along With Santa
Nearly 30 Leadville children got in a Zoom call with the holiday couple on December 14 & 15. The series of conference calls was sponsored by Centennial Real Estate of Leadville, allowing the youngest merrymakers to share their Christmas wishes from the comforts of their homes. Even after all the added screen time these younger students have experienced in this COVID-19 year, Mrs. Claus reported that the kids were all talkative and seemed to enjoy seeing the couple LIVE from their own home, complete with a sparkling yuletide tree.
The Legacy of a Christmas Party Continues
The annual Leadville Trail 100 Legacy Foundation Christmas Party was also held last week at The Center. “It was different this year, with families and Trail 100 Legacy Foundation friends watching the live stream instead of being here in person,” reported Mary Jelf, Business Manager with The Center Early Childhood Programs. “But there were still lots of smiles and a definite holiday spirit in the air.”
This special event marked 37 years in 2020 and in many ways mimicked its first year. Back in 1982, another bleak Leadville Christmas was marked by the closure of the Climax Mine leaving a town devasted by job loss with many families unable to put food on the table, much less presents under the tree.
From the very first year of the Leadville Trail 100, founders Ken Choulber and Merilee Maupin hosted a holiday party for local kids. For many of these children during its early years, this party provided the only gifts they would receive. Local police officers were asked to join in the gift-giving, so the kids could see them in a kind and caring role, rather than the knock at the door, coming to deal with some trouble at home.
Now in 2020, the Leadville children are facing the challenges presented from a global pandemic as their school schedules and home life undergo become disrupted. Fortunately, the foundation and school staff found a way for these kids to still able to benefit from the funding support from the LT100 Legacy Foundation and Leadville Race Series. Class teachers compiled the gift lists and shopped for gift themselves to ensure that every little boy and girl got something they really want.
In past years, the local Fire and Police departments would come to help Santa and Mrs. Claus give out the gifts. Unfortunately, in 2020 with public health restrictions in place due to COVID-19 in-person school gatherings have been re-worked requiring many parents to join in the celebration via Zoom, with kids remaining in their classrooms as they opened their special gifts after listening to Santa and Mrs. Claus’ recorded message.
It was still a special day for all involved and a sweet reminder of the good things that are still here. It might a small thing, and maybe some kids don’t need another gift – but there is a long history here, the legacy of a community supporting a community and working to make things better.
From the Legacy Foundation: Thank You! To each of you who have generously donated throughout the year and throughout the history of the Leadville races. You have made a real and tangible difference to so many kids in this community, and you have even helped make a few dreams come true. We are grateful for your gift and hope you know how much we appreciate having you a part of our Leadville Family! Happy Holidays to you & yours! ~ The LT100 Legacy Foundation.
Christmas Mass at Annunciation Church
The Mass schedule for Holy Family Parish includes four options for one of the holiest days for Catholics in Leadville Today. Attendees should be advised that public health restrictions are in place at historic Annunciation Church with all persons required to wear masks, adhere to the social distancing measures in place and be willing to wipe down their pew with a disinfectant cloth provided by ushers at the end of the church service.
Father Rafael Rico-Torres moved church services inside in November after months of conducting Mass in the parking lot of St. Joseph’s Church during the spring, summer and fall months of the pandemic.
Parishioners and visitors are encouraged to plan ahead for Christmas and New Years’ church services as they are usually well-attended. The schedule is as follows.
Sheriff, EMS Give to Leadville Families
Sheriff Amy Reyes and the Lake County Sheriff Office (LCSO) hosted a special holiday event for families on Sunday, Dec. 20 from 1 – 4 p.m. outside the Lake County Courthouse. Sheriff Reyes expressed that they wanted to put something together “because we know so many kids are going to be going without this year,” for the holidays.
Volunteers from the LCSO, Fire Rescue, local EMS and other emergency responders helped by setting up, decorating, donating, and handing out gifts and goodies. The event followed COVID-19 public health guidelines by setting up the event so kids and their families could drive up, socially distance hello and convey their wishes, and get their gift from Santa. It was a special afternoon of holiday cheer. Thanks to all who helped – may you get something extra in your stocking!
What’s Cooking for Christmas
It’s a holiday week which means extra folks in town and hopefully a chance for local eateries to make up for the business they’ve lost due to the restrictions which remain in place by local public health officials concerning capacity, delivery, etc. Most Leadville restaurants will be open and ready for business in the days ahead. Check their social media platforms for their latest specials, hours, etc.
However, for Friday, Dec. 25 be sure to plan ahead. Christmas Day the options can be slim in America’s highest city. Fortunately, there is one very delicious choice available with the Build A Holiday Meal menu from The Silver Llama located in downtown Leadville. Merry-makers can choose from a variety of fresh-made items for their holiday table. This marketplace will also be open on Christmas Day from 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. and is located in the Sayer-McKee Plaza.