2016 Capitol ornament branches out


The designers of this year’s Capitol Christmas ornament decided it was time to branch out a bit.

Instead of showcasing, as in years past, an architectural feature of the pink-domed downtown centerpiece, the 2016 commemorative ornament celebrates the custom of sprucing the place up with decorated trees — a Christmas tradition that began in 1914 when “the mightiest cedar in Travis County” was placed at the building’s entrance, according to the State Preservation Board.

The 21st annual holiday trinket features a tree festooned with previous years’ Capitol ornaments, looming over wrapped gifts and a depiction of the pink granite building itself.

“We thought it would be kind of a fun direction to take to focus not just on the history of the building but on its traditions,” said Erin Christensen, director of retail for the board.

Since the 2016 version went on sale in August, more than 28,000 ornaments have been sold online and at gift shops in the Capitol, the Capitol visitors center and the Bullock Texas State History Museum.

The goal, Christensen said, is to sell about 60,000 of them.

Profits from sales of the $20 ornament go into a fund for Capitol preservation projects and education programs at the Capitol, Governor’s Mansion and Bullock museum.

With about 1.1 million sold in the past 21 years, the ornaments have pumped more than $8 million into the fund, Christensen said.

The State Preservation Board also is offering three other ornaments for sale this year — a Capitol dome and a star, both with a battery-powered light, and a wildflower bouquet.

In the meantime, work has already begun on next year’s commemorative ornament.

“We’re going through some designs now,” Christensen said.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Judge permanently bars Texas from enforcing ‘discriminatory’ ID law
Judge permanently bars Texas from enforcing ‘discriminatory’ ID law

A federal judge Wednesday tossed out the Texas voter ID law, saying changes recently adopted by the Legislature fell short of fixing a law that was drafted to intentionally discriminate against minority voters. U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos of Corpus Christi issued an injunction permanently barring Texas from enforcing its voter ID requirements...
Family: Man killed Wednesday was second brother shot dead in Austin
Family: Man killed Wednesday was second brother shot dead in Austin

A man who died from gunshot wounds Wednesday afternoon in North Austin is the second brother in his family to be shot and killed, according to his older brothers. Police declined to confirm the victim’s identity Wednesday, but two people at the scene identified him as their brother, 30-year-old Benson Briseño. Police got a 911 call about...
Suspect shot, ran over victim in North Austin homicide, police say

Austin police on Wednesday named a suspect in a weekend homicide — in which the victim was shot in the face and run over — but they think he fled to Mexico. Authorities have issued an arrest warrant for Gustavo Linan, 28, on a charge of first-degree murder in the death of 35-year-old Valente Garcia-Hernandez, with bail set at $1 million...
DA appeals Kleinert police shooting case to U.S. Supreme Court
DA appeals Kleinert police shooting case to U.S. Supreme Court

Exercising its final legal option, the Travis County district attorney’s office on Wednesday filed a writ of certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court to appeal Charles Kleinert’s police-involved shooting case from 2013. Wanting to bring criminal charges against Kleinert for killing Larry Jackson — an unarmed black man who was trying to...
Man in his 60s ‘swept away’ at Colorado River found dead, EMS says

EAST AUSTIN EMS: Man swept by current found dead A man in his 60s was found dead Wednesday afternoon after he was reportedly swept away by a current at the Colorado River, Austin-Travis County EMS officials said. The man went missing around 4:10 p.m., not far from the Longhorn Dam. A person who was with the man at the time saw the victim go under the...
More Stories