Celebrate the Season with Tesoro Cultural Center

The holiday season is upon us once more, and we welcome you to celebrate with Tesoro Cultural Center. Our favorite holiday traditions are rooted in cultural traditions unique to southern Colorado and northern New Mexico. We hope you will join us in making these traditions your own by celebrating with us this year!

Farolito Lighting & Pinecone Ceremony


When: Sunday, December 1, from 4-6 p.m.

Where: On the grounds of The Fort Restaurant (19192 CO-8, Morrison, CO 80465)

Cost: This event is free (with a suggested donation of $5 per person to support Tesoro Cultural Center) and open to the public, however we request that you RSVP via Eventbrite.

*Please wear warm clothing, as this is an outdoor event.

Every year, the Farolito Lighting & Pinecone Ceremony (a Fort tradition for more than 25 years) honors a member of the community who has enlightened the hearts and minds of others. This year’s honoree – who will also light the Farolitos during the event – is Joe Halpern, a dedicated volunteer to Colorado history education and preservation who served on the board of directors of History Colorado for 24 years, including 20 years as Vice Chair.

Instead of a Christmas tree, farolitos – paper bags filled with sand and a candle – are lit to usher in the holiday season. The tradition of lighting farolitos is believed to have originated from Spanish merchants who were inspired themselves by Chinese Paper Lanterns.

Developed by The Fort’s founder, Sam’l P. Arnold, and his wife, Carrie, the Pinecone Ceremony was inspired by events across the world that honor loved ones who have passed away or live far away during the holiday season. During the ceremony, guests are invited to write a message to their loved one, tuck it into a pinecone and toss it into the bonfire as thoughts and prayers are sent up into the night sky. The tradition dates back to 19th century, and it was believed that as the fire burned the pinecones, the messages were transported to the heavens.

Feel the warmth of the fire, and sing along to Christmas carols from the 1830s and 1840s with strolling musicians and students from the Colorado School of Mines. Mexican hot chocolate, hot cider and traditional biscochitos will also be available. We encourage you to register via our Eventbrite page to attend.


Members-Only Holiday Auction Costume Party

When: Sunday, December 8, from 5-8 p.m.

Where: The Fort Restaurant (19192 CO-8, Morrison, CO 80465)

Cost: $25 per person. Members only.

Shop, dine and celebrate the holiday season while supporting Tesoro’s educational programs and community events at our members-only Holiday Auction Costume Party. The annual auction includes art, pottery, jewelry and more from award-winning artists including Juan Lopez, Farrell and Ray Pacheco, Milton Lee and more, as well as gift certificates from local vendors, such as the Denver Center for Performing Arts and the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

Come dressed in your favorite buckskin, military uniform or other 19th Century dress to enter Tesoro’s costume contest. The best dressed will win a prize.

If you’re not yet a member of Tesoro Cultural Center, join today.

Las Posadas

Photo: JP Creative Group

When: Monday, December 24, at 4 p.m.

Where: On the grounds of The Fort Restaurant (19192 CO-8, Morrison, CO 80465)

Cost: This event is free and open to the public, with a suggested donation of $5 per person to support Tesoro Cultural Center.

*Please wear warm clothing, as this is an outdoor event.

In many small Hispanic towns across southern Colorado and northern New Mexico, the holidays are marked by a centuries-old religious celebration known as Las Posadas, which lasts for several weeks and includes a reenactment of Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem as depicted in the Christian Bible. The commemoration is believed to have been started in 1586 by the Friars of San Agustin de Acolman. Originally held in a church, the custom spread as the centuries progressed.

We’re proud to partner with the Christian Life Movement to produce a condensed version of the tradition, in which children are invited to participate in a reenactment of the biblical scene. Following the reenactment, children will get to hit the seven-pointed piñata, representing the force of faith against the seven cardinal sins, and enjoy scrambling for the piñata candy in celebration of Christmas. Musicians will play customary Las Posadas songs, and complimentary biscochito cookies, hot cider and Mexican hot chocolate will be served.

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