Tips for Transplants: Rules for January in Denver

Denver in January: magical, sure, but this is a little ridiculous.
Denver in January: magical, sure, but this is a little ridiculous. Rob! at Flickr

Well, 2016 sure was a dumpster fire, wasn’t it? (And not just because that was the year that we began to lose the dumpsters.) Between the depressing and divisive election, the unrelenting celebrity deaths, and the personal crap we all deal with anyway, there’s one more reason that people stayed up late on New Year’s Eve: to watch 2016 perish.

So in the interest of ringing in 2017 well, let’s review the ten rules for the month of January for new transplants to Denver. Because living well is the best revenge we can have on 2016.

click to enlarge Nice job, Mr. Griswold. - AMY ALETHEIA CAHILL AT FLICKR
Nice job, Mr. Griswold.
Amy Aletheia Cahill at Flickr
10. Keep your lights up until the end of the Stock Show.
Because it sounds like one of those old high-school-freshman tricks, like selling a senior pass for a non-existent school elevator, some people don’t even believe this rule. But it’s true: The city has a tradition of keeping its holiday lights up well into January, and not because we’re too lazy to take them down. Rather, it was a way in the old days that the residents could attract and reward out-of-town visitors to the venerable National Western Stock Show, and its still a tradition. Take your tree down, get the house back to the semblance of normalcy to which it aspires for eleven months out of the year — but keep the twinkle lights shining.

9. The city will pick up your Christmas tree.
Not only will it pick it up for you, but it will recycle it into mulch that later ('round about May) you can pick up and use in your gardens, as long as you don’t mind the occasional stray tinsel. Pick-up days are specific — this year, it's January 7 and 14 — and it’s a great way to get rid of your dried out old Christmas decoration without having to chop it up and hide it in your garbage can over the course of several weeks.

8. Remember, every NFL team must eventually rebuild.
Okay, okay, so we didn’t make the playoffs. So we didn’t have the same strength that in days of old (like last January) moved heaven and earth. But what we are in Denver — or should be, anyway — is loyal to the orange and blue. Yes, it was a tough season (and a punishingly strong AFC West, if you don’t count the floundering crybaby Chargers), but Elway will make some changes (including a new coach), work the draft and give it another go come fall.

click to enlarge The Pepsi Center invites you to remember that basketball and hockey exist. - DAVID HERRERA AT FLICKR
The Pepsi Center invites you to remember that basketball and hockey exist.
David Herrera at Flickr
7. Oh, and remember basketball and hockey.
Not making the playoffs might mean no football in January (after New Year’s Day, anyway), but we do still have other pro sports in the first month of the year: The Nuggets and the Avalanche are a great reason to yell at your TV (or, hell, get loud at the Pepsi Center) in the snowy gray chill of January.

6. When legends die, we should honor them.
Denver avoided much in the way of local celebrity losses in 2016, but the national and worldwide tragedies in music and entertainment were enough to keep most of us reeling anyway. We’d try to list them, but there are too damn many people we’re going to miss as we proceed into 2017, and we don’t want to leave anyone out. But, seriously: January is when all this desperately needs to turn the corner. On the bright side, let’s take a note from Denver’s response to the passing of Prince, one of the greatest artists in modern music, back on April 21. Film on the Rocks added a special showing of Purple Rain, complete with a spine-tingling musical show afterward. When it’s our time, may we all go out with that much gratitude and that much love.

Keep reading for more of our January tips for transplants.

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Teague Bohlen is a writer, novelist and professor at the University of Colorado Denver. His first novel, The Pull of the Earth, won the Colorado Book Award for Literary Fiction in 2007; his textbook The Snarktastic Guide to College Success came out in 2014. His new collection of flash fiction, Flatland, is available now.
Contact: Teague Bohlen