Lighting Ledoux, a homegrown holiday tradition

By Dena Miller
Posted 12/4/19

In considering the many December festivities throughout town, Lighting Ledoux is one of the most anticipated and, well, enchanting.

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Lighting Ledoux, a homegrown holiday tradition


Taoseños love their red and green chiles, but it's more than a plate smothered in "Christmas." The month-long celebration of the season, Yuletide in Taos, embraces the abundance of multicultural traditions with a joyfulness that is uniquely our own. From the aroma of piñon wafting through the streets, to the bewitching glow of fire and ice against a backdrop of the majestic Sangre de Cristos Mountains, Taos defines for so many what being "home for the holidays" is all about.

In considering the many December festivities throughout town, Lighting Ledoux is one of the most anticipated and, well, enchanting.

It starts at 5 p.m. Saturday (Dec. 7). The event gets its name from the winter tradition of lining walkways and roads with farolitos, small paper bags weighted with sand and illuminated with a single votive candle. Along the way, others also light luminarias, small bonfires to chase away the chill. Using this as inspiration, the event originated simply as a way to attract holiday shoppers to this historic thoroughfare, but has grown into its own beloved local tradition.

Watch for the join-in-if-you-will parade that follows the Taos Volunteer Fire Department's Engine 9, which is giving the vintage "Maria" a much-needed rest this year.

Engine 9, decked to the gills in Christmas lights, will accompany both Father Winter and the Fiestas de Taos Royal Court from Taos Plaza to the entrance of the Harwood Museum of Art at 238 Ledoux Street. A children's choir will be waiting to greet them under the portál, ready to serenade everyone with the songs of the season. Grab a cookie, sip some hot cider and enjoy.

Inside, Father Winter and his elves will be handing out gifts to children visitors, who will also have a chance to do snowflake-cutting, paper-chain making, and fine art-sheet coloring, according to Jayne Schell, the Harwood's Museum Educator. "Often, the Royal Court also comes in to color and create with the kids," she said.

Outside the Harwood, other Ledoux Street businesses and galleries will have special hours, treats and blazing luminarias to ward off the chill of a wintry alpine evening.

• Among them, Wumanti Earth Native Sanctuary, 203 Ledoux Street, will have its adobe fireplaces lit, traditional Turkish sword dances, belly dancing, and powwow-style drumming for your entertainment. Samples of their hemp Hero Bars and other hemp goodies will be offered during the evening, Benjamin Welch said. "We'll also have a special raffle available for purchase in which you could win a prize donated by [local gallerist] Michael McCormick."

Shree Yoga, 112 Camino de la Placita, is also celebrating its 10th anniversary and will be a warm spot to duck into. Manager Liz Fox said that owners Genevieve Oswald and Suki Dalury plan to offer chances to win class passes and other studio merchandise. "This is a celebration of not just our anniversary but of the holiday season in general," Fox said.

• The consignment shop Reneux, 126 West Plaza Drive, is pulling out all the stops to "glitz things up and give sweets to the sweets," said owner Sheila Ross. "It's such a fun, social evening. We think recycling is more important now than it's ever been, so we want to make it fun and create a passion for fashion through recycle, re-wear and re-use. This is a great night to make that case to the community." And, assisted by the "wonderful, beautiful" Michael Mingo, Ross will be offering refreshments and "lots of holiday cheer to all the beautiful bodies out there, regardless of size."

It's sure to be a memorable evening and a window into what our holidays have in store for us.

"Yuletide is a great time for locals and visitors to come together and experience New Mexico's finest holiday traditions along with some traditions that are uniquely Taos," Karina Armijo, Director of Marketing and Tourism for the town of Taos, told Marissa Le of The Waite Company. "We offer a variety of events for everyone to enjoy and we look forward to welcoming-in visitors looking for a twist on the traditional holiday getaway."

The public relations and marketing firm also noted that in 2017 and 2018, Taos was recognized by the U.S. News and World Report as the third best Christmas destination in the world, ranking above major global cities like London, Zurich and Amsterdam.

So, no plane tickets are required for you to capture some holiday magic. Stay home, here in Taos, and rejoice in all that surrounds us.


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