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A New Mexico Christmas

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Christina Stock Photo While parents are chatting and visiting, children can play under the beautifully decorated Christmas trees at the Historical Society for Southeast New Mexico open house.

The Historical Society for Southeast New Mexico is having its annual Christmas Open House Extravaganza

By Christina Stock

Vision Editor

One of the most charming holiday traditions in town happens on Dec. 8 from 1 to 4 p.m. in a come-and-go event at the Historical Society for Southeast New Mexico Museum and Archives, 200 and 208 N. Lea Ave. It’s the annual Christmas Open House Extravaganza, where both buildings are decorated with the help of the Morning Garden Club, and the public is invited to walk through the elegant house, which is today a museum. There will be refreshments and a plethora of surprises.

This year, Amy McVay-Davis, executive director of HSSENM said, the Morning Garden Club chose the theme, “A New Mexico Christmas.”

Janice Dunnahoo is HSSENM’s chief archivist and a member of the garden club. In an email, she hints what the public can expect. “The garden club is going to decorate in a very unique theme, as in bright colors, flowers, cut-outs and table decorations. It will be the most unique yet. I can’t give away too many details about the decor theme, as that part, we want to be a surprise.”

“I’ll be decorating the archives facility,” McVay-Davis said. “I am going to do some memorial tributes. There will be a little bowtie Christmas tree in honor of Judge (Alvin F.) Jones. We will have mini-bowties for individuals that have not been able to get one. We are doing the same thing with all of our legendary men that we lost. There will be a memorial for David González, Morgan (HSSENM original member Morgan Nelson), Elvis (retired HSSENM chief archivist Elvis Fleming) and Judge Jones.”

Recently, HSSENM celebrated the dairy industry at its annual Heritage Dinner. McVay-Davis said that for those who couldn’t attend the dinner, she will put up panels honoring them.

Asked about the traditional entertainment, McVay-Davis said, “I do believe RHS (Roswell High School) and GHS (Goddard High School) choirs will be present; I know Santiago Vasquez will again have one of his vintage vehicles here and the Pecos Valley Brass will be here.

“I just posted on Facebook, David Gracy II will be here for a special book signing of his newest book regarding George W. Littlefield and it has quite a long title: ‘A Man Absolutely Sure of Himself: Texas George Washington Littlefield.’”

Littlefield has a connection to New Mexico as his ranch was in the New Mexico Territory and in Texas, though he was a banker and businessman out of Austin, Texas. According to his biography at the University of Texas at Austin, Gracy earned the Governor Bill Daniel Professor Emeritus in Archival Enterprise in the School of Information at the UTA. He worked 11 years on directing archival programs at Texas Tech and Georgia State universities as well as nine years as State Archivist of Texas. He is the author of several archival technique and historical books.

Another author, who writes about unusual Southwestern lore, will be attending the event and sign books: local historian John LeMay, whose newest book just came out, “Cowboy & Saurians: Dinosaurs and Beasts as Seen by the Pioneers.”

“We will also be having a mini exhibit of Peter de la Fuente here in the museum on the second floor,” McVay-David said. De la Fuente is the eldest son of Carol Hurd, a fourth-generation painter in the famous artist family, and grandson to the late painter Peter Hurd. For those who are not familiar with Hurd, he was an American painter who was commissioned to paint the official portraits of two heads of state, U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson and King Faisal of Saudi Arabia. Some of his works can be found at the Roswell Museum and Art Center, as well as at the Hurd Gallery in San Patricio, his former home in Hondo Valley.

In case you, the reader, haven’t visited HSSENM museum recently, its renovations are now completed, which includes the fashion room, where different time periods are showcased, the children’s room and a painted timeline.

During HSSENM’s open house event, a silent auction with unique one-of-a-kind items will take place, there will be door prizes, refreshments and cookies, too.

For more information, call 575-622-8333.