Thursday, December 12, 2019

A Taos Christmas, Winter in Taos what to do in Taos during the winter

Winter in Taos to many is known as ‘ski season’. A few years ago while attending a promotional event in Los Angeles people asked about Taos’ busy season, meaning Winter. Time and time again I found myself explaining to travel writers that Taos is actually an ‘art colony’, that busy season is actually July, August, September, and a bit of October. 

Winter Storm over Taos Mountain

There are four ski resorts within 30-50 minute drives from the Taos Historic District. This is quite a large tourism industry for Taos County during the winter months of December through March with a bit of April. Many visitors to the ski resorts rarely take time to visit the multitudes of shops and galleries located in the town of Taos. 

Two Graces Taos Truck

Through the years there’s been less and less interaction between businesses in the town of Taos and the 4 ski resorts. In the 80’s various Taos art galleries sponsored a shuttle bus to take ski patrons into town several times a week and drop them off at the galleries along Kit Carson Road. Once they’d arrived and gotten off the bus the thirsty and hungry skiers would rush off to local bars & restaurants rather than shop or look at art. Even with the new ownership of the Taos Ski Valley it’s still the same, winter in Taos means it’s a time when skiers ski. Yet if you are one of those rare people who can handle both, ski time and shopping time, welcome and thank you for taking a look at the unique and wonderful shops of Taos.

Taos Ski Valley 

Eighteen ways to tell it’s Winter in Taos

1.) People from Santa Fe ask, “Is that ‘Taos’ mud on your jeans?”
2.) Brown paper bags with candles or electric lights line the walkways and roof lines.
3.) How high your firewood is stacked becomes a sense of pride.
4.) Black Ice on Cantu Hill warnings become Facebook post norm.
5.) Taos Ski Valley becomes a ‘hot spot’.
6.) Suddenly everyone you meet has a part time job at the Ski Valley.
7.) Half the population hibernates, while the other half enjoys skiing.
8.) You attend at least one of four ceremonial events at Taos Pueblo.
9.) You check ski conditions even though you don’t ski.
10.) Your car is covered in snow instead of mud.
11.) Bald Eagles return to nest along the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument.
12.) Posole with Hatch Green Chile becomes the soup of choice on every menu.
13.) Snow on adobe rooflines brings you to tearful reminiscences. 
14.) A good book becomes invaluable.
15.) A cup of Hot Cocoa with a sprinkle of cinnamon and red chile is once again the best thing you ever drank.
16.) The aroma of Pinon wood, burning in fireplaces.
17.) Everyone agrees that their grandmother makes the best Biscochitos.
18.) Friends, Neighbors and Strangers are greeting each other with warm smiles and Holiday Cheer.

 Eagle in Flight photograph courtesy of Gak Stonn, Taos Print & Photography Services

“The winter evening came quickly all about us in the village street, even while the west held its color for a long time. Then there was a magical, hushed feeling in the air and people’s voices, out-of-doors, dropped to a lower key in unconscious reverence for nightfall.” ‘Edge of Taos Desert’ Mabel Dodge Luhan 1937

Winter in Taos photograph courtesy of Gak Stonn, Taos Print & Photography Services

What to Do in Taos for the Holidays 2019

33rd annual Yuletide Tree Lighting in Taos Plaza
Dec. 6, Friday 4-7PM

Taos Festival of Trees at El Monte Sagrado
Dec. 6, Friday 6:30-9:30PM

22nd Annual Millicent Rogers Museum Holiday Fiesta
Dec. 7, Saturday 11AM-3PM

Lighting of Ledoux
Dec. 7, Saturday 5-7PM

Annual Taos Inn Christmas Tree Lighting
Dec. 7, Saturday 6-7PM

Robert Mirabal Christmas Show at TCA
Dec. 13 & 14 7PM

Bonfires on Bent Street & John Dunn Shops
Dec. 14, Saturday 4-7PM

Las Posadas at San Francisco de Asis Church
Dec. 16-24 5PM

The Nutcracker at TCA
Dec. 20-22, 2PM & 7PM

Kit Carson Road Winter Solstice Holiday Farolito Walk
Dec. 21, Saturday 4-7

Taos Pueblo Procession of the Virgin & Bonfires
Dec. 24, Tuesday begins at 4PM, Vespers Mass 5PM

San Francisco de Asis Church Midnight Mass
Dec. 24, Tuesday 11:30PM

Our Lady of Guadalupe Church Midnight Mass
Dec. 24, Tuesday 12midnight

Taos Pueblo Matachina Dance 2019
Dec. 25, Wednesday begins at 11AM throughout the day

Town of Taos New Years Eve Celebration w Michael Hearne, Taos Plaza
Dec. 31, Tuesday 7:30-10PM

Taos Ski Valley New Years Eve Torchlight Parade
Dec. 31, Tuesday 5:30PM

Taos Pueblo Turtle Dance
Jan. 1, Wednesday begins at 9AM

Los Comanches Celebration of Las Mananitas
Jan. 1, Wednesday 9-12 Ranchos de Taos 

Taos Pueblo Deer Dance 2020
Jan. 6. Monday 1PM (usually more like 2:30-ish)

Church Steeples in Snow photograph courtesy of Gak Stonn, Taos Print & Photography Services

“Never shall I forget the Christmas dances at Taos. Twilight, snow, the darkness coming over the great wintry mountains and the lonely pueblo. Then suddenly, again, like dark calling to dark, the deep Indian cluster-singing around the drum, wild and awful suddenly rousing on the last dusk as the procession starts. And then the bonfires leaping suddenly in pure spurts of high flame, columns of sudden flame forming an alley for the procession.” ‘New Mexico’ D.H. Lawrence 1931

Helen Blumenschein etching of Taos Pueblo in Winter

Luminarias and farolitos are everywhere enhancing the glowing atmosphere of the Holidays in Taos this season. Luminaria refers to a bonfire, while the paper bags or plastic bags with electric lights are known as farolitos or ‘little lamps’. 

Rooftop view of Farolito installation

This Yuletide the Taos Main Street project has worked with over 50 merchants to install farolitos to rooflines of the various Taos Historic District businesses. 

Taos Main Street Board Members setting up Farolitos at Casa Benavides

Several historic areas in Taos have set aside weekend celebrations during the month of December. Each Saturday one after another section will provide unique shopping experiences for locals and visitors. The first of these is Lighting of Ledoux with an annual farolito walk, then Bent Street Bonfires and on the last Saturday before Christmas, the Winter Solstice Farolito Walk along Kit Carson Road takes place. 

Wreath with Kokopelli at Copper Moon Gallery on Kit Carson Road

In the snow-filled air of Taos, Church bells will be ringing on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Wherever you are this winter, create magic and keep Taos in your heart. Have a blessed Holiday season.

Taos is all Heart, always

Kit Carson Road Annual Winter Solstice Holiday Celebration 
Visit these stores, museums, galleries and B&B’s for Holiday shopping.

Couse-Sharp Foundation,138 Kit Carson - Visitors can view the ‘construction site’ interior of the forthcoming Taos Society of Artists Lunder Research Center. Enjoy cookies & hot cider.

Casa Benavides B&B, 137 Kit Carson - Taos Roots (Taos Tree Project) offering T-shirts benefiting those in need and refreshments. 

Untitled Fine Art & Untitled Editions 125 - 133 Kit Carson - Refreshments & Music.

DAFA/David Anthony Fine Arts, 132 Kit Carson Road - Local and International Art.

OptiMysm, 129E Kit Carson - 20% discount all day, Holiday cookies & hot apple cider.

Palaski Fine Art, 129 Kit Carson - Fine Art Photography serving refreshments.

Bryans Gallery, 121 Kit Carson - Old Pawn & Contemporary Indian Jewelry and Art.

Parsons Gallery of the West, 122 Kit Carson - Traditional Taos Art.

Heritage Fine Arts, 122 Kit Carson - All Gallery Holiday Christmas Show.

Benedictine Monks of Taos 108 Kit Carson at Cabot Plaza - serving Benedictine Coffee and good Holiday Cheer.

The Ranch at Taos, 119A Kit Carson - An all artist show with Christmas gifts and stocking stuffers. Discounts available all day on everything in the gallery.

Wilder Nightingale Fine Art, 119 Kit Carson - ‘Embracing Winter’ Exhibition of New Pastels by Kathleen Smith. Beverages & Refreshments sponsored by Coffee Apothecary.

Angie Coleman Studio, 117 Kit Carson - Visit with Angie serving refreshments in her studio.

Kit Carson Home & Museum, 113 Kit Carson - Serving hot chocolate around a bonfire in the courtyard, the gift shop will be open.

Fine Art Atelier & Gallery, 108 Kit Carson - Light refreshments.

Dragonfly Blue, 109 Kit Carson - An evening of Ekphrasis. 

Greg Moon Fine Art, 109 Kit Carson - Don’t forget that art makes a great gift that gets passed down for generations, reward yourself with what you desire.

Taos Print and Photography Services, 107 Kit Carson - We will serve warm tea and cold cookies and cool cards and hot art.

Copper Moon Gallery, 105 Kit Carson - Refreshments.

Two Graces, 105 Barela Lane at Kit Carson - 20% off stocking stuffers & carefully curated inventory featuring a selection of Pozzi Franzetti rusted metal sculptures. Open the entire day.

Window Display at Parsons of the West gallery on Kit Carson Road

“May you find yourself in Taos, before the devil knows you’re there.” An old wise tail phrase about Taos from the early 1900’s.

The Sanchez Building at the corner of Barela Lane and Kit Carson Road, 
home to Two Graces, Copper Moon Gallery, and Gak Stonn Taos Print & Photography.

Please note photographs are by Robert Cafazzo of Two Graces, 105 Barela Lane unless otherwise stated as photographs by Gak Stonn.

I will be offering a Winter Solstice Petroglyph tour on Saturday morning December 21, 2019, check my Facebook status for upcoming details.

This article is courtesy of Robert Cafazzo who is solely responsible for content.

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