Anyone driving south on Santa Fe Drive might get a little side-tracked after noticing this store’s massive rooftop Santa and bright light display. St. Nick’s Christmas and Collectibles can be briefly glimpsed from your car window, but it’s worth a peek inside the festive Littleton store.
If you’ve haven’t taken the nearest exit to see what the commotion is about, St. Nick’s is unlike your average ornament store. Established in 1976, the Christmas store with 22 rooms has been frequented by Coloradans and tourists alike for over 40 years, so its inventory has only gotten bigger. To date, there are roughly 15,000 items in the store for purchase according to Nicole Sealy, one of the managers at St. Nick’s.
St. Nick’s first started as a tiny shop in the old Cinderella City shopping center in Englewood. The owners selected mostly hand-crafted ornaments from Colorado to sell and were nervous about getting customers. They didn’t have much to worry about though.
“The owner, Sue, purchased too many Christmas ornaments. She was worried they wouldn’t sell and that she’d spent too much money. It was a tiny little store, but they flew off the shelves,” Sealy said. “She realized, ‘We’re onto something. This is great.’”
Today, St. Nick’s sells ornaments, collectibles and Christmas decor from around the world including countries such as Poland, Russia, India, China and the United States. Items include ornaments you can get personalized for free, vintage ornaments from varying decades, exquisite blown glass ornaments and ornaments of legendary and famous people. Sealy says that many requests for specific styles of decor come in and the staff tries to accommodate customers’ needs as much as possible.
“We try to get a good variety. You’d be hard-pressed to find an ornament that didn’t fit [your theme]. The sky’s the limit. If you can think of it, we probably have it,” Sealy said. “We like to listen to our customers and see what they’re looking for. Everyone likes the Christmas decorations and ornaments that remind them of their childhood and of course, that changes with each generation that shops with us. But some traditions are the same across the board. We all want Santa on our tree.”
Sealy’s favorites are the blown glass ornaments.
“They’re beautiful. They add so much sparkle to your tree and they’re very traditional. That’s my personal favorite,” she said.
The craziest part of St. Nick’s is that every year, most of the ornaments and collectibles will be replaced after the holiday season to make room for new decor. After Christmas, the store will hold a huge sale and sell the ornaments and collectibles for 50% off. They’ll get rid of their inventory, close for January and February, restock with new items and reopen again in March.
It’s a lot of work, but the constant tradition and ever-changing inventory mean customers are always being surprised. St. Nick’s is dedicated to staying open year-round, which hasn’t proven to be difficult considering Christmas only comes once a year.
“We have our die-hard Christmas fans that’ll come in when we reopen in March. It’s just a nice quiet place to shop. People know that. They like to come in and just feel happy during the year even when it’s not Christmas. There are a lot of tourists in the summer. Everyone likes to come in and get a Colorado ornament as a memento from their trip here,” Sealy said. “It’s important to us [to be open year-round]. We have a store, so we might as well be open. Christmas usually brings joy to people and shopping with us just adds to it — even in June.”
Keeping the spirit alive for people is important at St. Nick’s. Sealy says the Littleton community is the main reason the business is running.
“It’s the people. It’s our customers. They keep coming back here year after year. It’s a happy place for a lot of people and for generations and it brings joy. We get to be a part of peoples’ Christmas traditions and memories, which is beautiful and that’s why we keep doing it,” she said.
St. Nick’s Christmas and Collectibles is located at 5221 South Santa Fe Dr., Littleton, CO 80120 and is open from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. St. Nick’s will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Christmas Eve and closed on Christmas Day.
All photography by Brandon Johnson.