There are collectors and then there are collectors, people for whom adding pieces to an array of particular designer items is an irresistible pursuit. The latter perfectly describes Vicke Mahler-Helmer, a longtime customer of St. Nick’s. She laughs, “I decorate for Halloween and Christmas. Thanksgiving the lost holiday.” No doubt. Her home is currently festooned with a huge array of Halloween-themed items. She has a mind-boggling collection of witches, lights, trees, moving ornaments of every sort — and they are all precisely placed on tables, in cabinets, and accented with every variety of lighting available. Thus, things twinkle with purple and orange bulbs or emit a moody light guaranteed to lure even the most avid realists into a Halloween mood.
While Ms. Mahler-Helmer’s Halloween-themed home may be a tad overwhelming, it is sure to fascinate any and all visitors. As one example, she has an enormously extensive collection of D56 pieces, many of which were purchased at St. Nick’s. Store Manager, Chris Davis, states, “Everyone just loves it when Vicke comes in! We love her stories and her sense of humor. Plus, she’s a great doll maker and has terrific taste!” He adds, “I’ll look up and she’ll be surrounded by four store personnel, all of whom are loving the process of helping her find new items.”
Speaking of new items, Sue Sealy, Owner of St. Nick’s, states, “We absolutely love shopping for merchandise with Vicke in mind. We’re always wondering what things she’ll find of interest and even get things specifically for her! It makes trips to market especially fun.” Currently, Ms. Mahler-Helmer has (literally) thousands of pieces; in addition to D56, she also loves: Christopher Radko, Mark Roberts, Enesco, Old World Christmas, Jim Shore, December Diamonds, just to name a few — and she’s always on the lookout for new ways to enhance her collection.
She serves a “Witches Tea” and has friends over who love to go to her home and witness what can only be called an impromptu museum of All Hallow’s Eve items, meticulously arranged and set up to be shown to their best effect.
Asked about her penchant for collecting, she said, “Well my parents and my grandfather collected things. Coins, stamps, vintage cars. So I guess it’s in my blood!” Ms. Mahler-Helmer grew up in Southern California, Orange County to be exact, and she’s been a Denver-area resident for many years. And she has loved St. Nick’s since the moment she initially walked in the door. In fact, when her friends are faced with buying her gifts, they head for the premiere locus of Christmas and seasonal collectibles on Santa Fe. She laughs infectiously and notes, “They’ll say, ‘It’s from St. Nick’s. So you’ll love it!’”
Vicke is witty, kind, and utterly charming. She is fond of using her spaces decorated with collectibles for meditations of sorts. “I like to sit in front of some of these houses, for example, and imagine a story. It starts to just flow and it becomes a whole series of scenes relating to the house.” She muses about this as well as trips to Europe and other locations of interest. But she always returns to the pieces at hand. They are her “center” for resting, gathering her thoughts, and exercising her expansive imagination.
Moreover, she’s enormously generous. At one point, she gifted Denver’s Fisher House with a huge collection of Dickens Village pieces. She said, “It was something I could do to ease the lives of women and children there.” Unfortunately, the pieces were sold off, but that didn’t dim Vicke’s enthusiasm. Like her home, it still sparkles brightly and, one must surmise, that it always will. She’s one of a kind and that’s a shame. The world could use many more exactly like her. St. Nick’s is happy to host her any time, any season. The pleasure and the privilege is ours. And that’s from all of us at St. Nick’s!
Sue, Shawn, Chris, and all the St. Nick’s Elves