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Archive Post Dec. 8, 2016: Holiday Decorations for The Colorado Governor's Residence

For the fourth year in a row, interior design members of ASID competed for the opportunity to provide holiday decorations for the Governor’s Residence at the Boettcher Mansion. “Colorado’s Home,” as the Residence is known, welcomes well over 5,000 guests during the holiday season to view the decorations. The creative inspiration for this year's decor is "Colorado's Kith and Kin," celebrating Colorado's Sister Cities.  The concept of sister cites was conceived after World War II and was intended to foster friendship and understanding between different cultures and between former foes as an act of peace and reconciliation.

Nature, Tradition & Community The Palm Room design is a celebration of nature, tradition and community intended to peak curiosity and exploration into the relationship between Denver and its sister city, Takayama. Both cities share a common geography, with Takayama located in the heart of the Japanese Alps and Denver at the base of the Rocky Mountains. The foundation of the design is centered on nature with arborous garland, frosted pinecones, twinkling lights and scents of spruce and cedar representing the deep connection these two cities have with their mountainous landscape. 

In collaboration with Denver’s Japanese Consulate and the City of Takayama, local children from the Hida Takayama region were invited to make beautiful paper cranes to decorate the central tree in the Palm Room.  The end result is a layering of nature, tradition and community creating not just a Christmas display, but also celebrating our collaboration, our diversity and our common appreciation for rich and thoughtful design. 

Paper Cranes

In Japan, the crane or tsuru is an important symbol of happiness, longevity and good luck as it was thought that cranes would live for a thousand years. According to the Senbazuru legend, those who fold a lei of 1,000 paper cranes will be granted a wish. This legend was popularized by a young girl named Sasaki Sadako who survived the bombing of Hiroshima in 1945 only to contract leukemia a few years later. She began folding paper cranes in the hope of being granted the wish of health upon completing 1,000. Sadly, she did not succeed in her wish, but her story inspires many to accept the challenge each year and donate the leis to shrines throughout Japan, most notably the Peace Memorial in Hiroshima.

Traditional Japanese Dress

The “hostess” for the Palm Room is modeling traditional Japanese fashion. She is wearing a navy blue tsukesage kimono with a chrysanthemum and peony pattern. A gold fukura-obi is wrapped around her waist and secured with a braided cord called an obijime. The pattern on the fukura-obi depicts The Fifty-Three Stations ofcthe Tōkaidō. The Tōkaidō (“Eastern Sea Road”) was the main travel and transport artery of Japan during the Edo era. Fifty-three stations along the road provided food and lodging for travelers. The “hostess” also carries an oil-paper umbrella, or wagasa, with surface paintings of the red-crowned crane. 

The Takayama Festival Building on this natural foundation, the decoration and color palette is influenced by the Takayama festival.  The Takayama Festival is known for being one of the three most beautiful festivals in Japan and is held twice a year to celebrate the coming of Spring and Autumn.  The Festival is famous for its magnificent floats, or yatai, richly designed with golden brown lacquering, detailed woodcarving, decorative metal-work and elaborate embroidery. The yatai are paraded through town traversing vermillion-colored bridges and along riverbanks intertwined with colors of green and gold tree leaves and pink cherry blossoms. We are fortunate to have two miniature yatai on display in the Palm Room complements of the Denver Mayor’s office and a local Denver resident. 


Sarubobo means “monkey baby,” and is unique to the Hida Takayama region. These human-like dolls were traditionally made by mothers for their daughters as a blessing for a happy marriage and smooth childbirth. In the Palm Room, there are 40 small traditional Sarubobo from Takayama on the central tree and one large doll tucked in with the presents. 

Thank you...

Japan-America Society of Southern Colorado The Japan-America Society of Southern Colorado is an educational and cultural organization promoting increased awareness, education, and understanding between the citizens of Southern Colorado and Japan.  To find out more visit Consulate-General of Japan in Denver The Consulate-General of Japan works with officials and affiliates in both countries to further increase and strengthen political, economic and cultural exchanges.  To find out more visit Denver Sister Cities International Awarded “Best Overall Award in 2015” for its programming and progress, Denver Sister Cities International (DSCI) is comprised of passionate, peace-stirring citizens infatuated with the idea of global friendships.  Its mission is to promote peace through mutual respect, understanding and cooperation with cultural, educational and economic endeavors.  DSCI provides rare opportunities to engage with cities around the world through cultural exchanges and collaborations.  To find out more go to City of Takayama The City of Takayama has received three stars in the Michelin guidebook for its stunning “Old Town” where wooden buildings from the Edo Period are still in use and for the Takayama Festival with its magnificent floats.  The City of Takayama offers a wide range of cultural experiences to welcome visitors and develop more interest in traditional Japanese culture, history, nature and society.  To plan your visit go to FREE HOLIDAY TOURS The Governor's Residence, Governor's Residence Preservation Fund, American Society of Interior Designers and Colorado Homes & Lifestyles welcomes the public to attend our FREE holiday tours offered Thursday, December 8 through Sunday, December 11 and again on Thursday, December 15 through Sunday, December 18 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. For more information visit


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