Updated: See our Holiday Gift Guide: 50+ Unique Colorado Gift Ideas for 2021.
If loved ones can’t come home for the holidays this season, send a bit of Colorado love to them. Destinations across the state have launched “shop local” campaigns and this year, shoppers can find a campaign near them on a shareable map presented by the Colorado Small Business Development Center and the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade. Communities across the state, from Limon to Durango and from Snowmass to Fort Collins, are taking part in a shop local campaign, and each community offers a variety of local holiday gift offerings.
Why shop local? Shopping locally is one of the best ways to help Colorado’s economy during the pandemic. In fact, when shoppers buy $100 locally, $70 stays in the community by increasing employment, supporting the purchasing power of hometown workers and generating tax revenue to fund quality-of-life initiatives like local infrastructure improvements, public education and emergency response.
For the Foodie:
From the chocolate connoisseur to the aspiring chef, the four-cornered state boasts a ton of options for those who want a taste of Colorado from home. Uncorked Kitchen’s fabulous classes have turned virtual with online cooking classes. A unique idea comes from the eastern plains, where Lebanese-owned Scaff Brothers handcrafts a mild salsa with cantaloupe grown from the region. For the passionate carnivore, Sweetwood Smokehouse Jerky produces a slow-smoked, double-wide fatty jerky stick that’s a far cry from those sold in most stores today. Nuance Chocolate is a bean-to-bar chocolatier with a wide range of cocoa-based products made by admittedly certified chocoholics. Those with a sweet tooth will also get a kick out of Enstom’s toffee, which has been hand made with only the finest, freshest ingredients since 1960. Helliemae’s Caramels has perfected a Sea Salt Caramel that satisfies both salt and sweet cravings. The home bartender in your life will surely love The Real Dill’s Bloody Mary Mix, which uses cucumber-infused water—a byproduct of their pickling process—as its star ingredient. And for the home cook who likes to sprinkle in some history, the Anasazi bean is an heirloom-variety legume that comes out of an agricultural plateau in Western Colorado, once home to thousands of Anasazi Indians who cultivated the bean.
For the Craft Libations Lover:
Get your loved ones something they can toast with time and time again. Ciders are a must for the season, and Bigs B’s is an orchard that has made its way into the hard cider industry before it was cool. The Family Jones has a limited edition Whiskey package that includes two 750ml bottles of American and straight rye whiskey, along with two more bottles of ready-to-pour cocktail classics distilled in Colorado. If your loved ones rather go for clear, get them a bottle of award-winning vodka from the Rising Sun Distillery, the state’s only Black-owned and organic distillery. Colorado is known for CBD, and Dram Apothecary’s Adaptogenic CBD Sparkling Water is a perfect beverage for someone who wants all the chill and none of the hangover. For wine lovers, Colterris Wines and the Winery at Holy Cross Abbey make great Centennial State-grown varietals. If they’re in it for the experience, a virtual wine tasting with Blanchard Family Wines is a great option. To give the gift of a fine brew, wrap up a six-pack from Dos Luces, a Hispanic-owned brewery with award-winning corn-based beers. Bring the Denver happy hour experience home with the Happy Hour Handbook, a new compilation of appetizer and cocktail recipes from bartenders and chefs at Denver’s most renowned and beloved bars and restaurants that will also receive the proceeds from the book sales.
For the Adventurer:
What makes a better gift for the outdoor enthusiast than gear from the outdoor adventure epicenter? Adventurist Backpack Co. is a new, quickly growing brand that designs minimalist backpacks, with a cause. For every backpack sold, they provide 25 meals to families in need across the U.S. Perfect for a day of play in Snow’s Perfect State, or being used as an everyday face covering, Knotty Tie has an array of neck gaiters that are ethically made in Denver. If keeping warm is the name of the game, get them Colorado-based clothing from Voormi, a premium outdoor apparel brand built for the road less traveled. If your loved one is hitting the slopes, a pair of Grass Sticks custom handmade poles with Colorado-made Wagner Skis might be the perfect gift to get them on their way. Need something indestructible? Consider protecting their gear with Otterbox antimicrobial products. Of course, this holiday, everyone is looking to get back to doing the things we love – safely, of course. Friction Labs recently developed its Secret Stuff Hygienic Liquid Chalk for climbers, made with a base proven by CU Anschutz to inactivate SARS-CoV-2 and keep hands drier, for longer. Wrap up The Hidden Life Around Us, a book with endless Colorado photography to bring a piece of the state home. For those who cannot make it to Colorado this winter, give the gift of backcountry knowledge with a free avalanche awareness course offered online by the Colorado Mountain School or give a fly membership with hand-tied flies from nonprofit Fishing the Good Fight, which leverages the proven therapeutic benefits of fly fishing to raise money for men’s mental health organizations.
For the Health and Wellness Guru:
Can’t make it to one of the many hot springs throughout Colorado? Worry not. The healing minerals of the world’s deepest hot spring, Pagosa Hot Springs, has been captured in the form of bath salts and sprays for home enjoyment. Carbondale-based Osmia is a clean beauty, woman-owned company with beautiful gifts that use all organic and Colorado ingredients. For the skincare obsessed, send them a bottle of a consciously crafted elixir made by Apothecary Company, owned by a holistic aesthetician who makes her products in small batches out of Loveland. Score goat milk soap, bath bombs, bubble bath and even CBD bath bombs from none other than Goat’s Goods, a made-in-Steamboat family-run business. For those tea lovers, Boulder’s famous Dushanbe Tea House is offering loose-leaf teas packaged in a tin modeled after the teahouse’s colorful and intricate ceiling.
For the Arts and Makers Enthusiasts:
Support local makers and give a one-of-a-kind gift this holiday season. Have your loved one shine with a made-by-hand jewelry piece from Avery Lee Design. Know a coffee lover? What better way to enjoy your morning sip than out of a handcrafted mug from Love Emma Ceramics. Send them a design-forward letter from Inky Tomato Letterpress. If your loved one likes a challenge, Liberty Puzzles creates handmade wooden puzzles of Colorado’s most iconic mountain ranges – the Flatirons in Boulder and Aspen’s Maroon Bells (or get one custom-made). Need more ideas? Studio8369 in Grand Lake sells Colorado art, photography, pottery, gourd art, sculptures and so much more. Artisans of Mancos is an artist-owned and managed cooperative featuring 20 artists, who have an array of hand-crafted items such as jewelry, leather items, calligraphy and stained glass. For the makers themselves, give the gift of an innovations studios virtual art workshop from the Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Snowmass.
For the Fashion Forward:
For the fashionistas in your life, get them a custom, quality-made Kemo Sabe fedora to top off their outfits. Royal Stag, a family-owned business, also makes high-quality hats honoring the traditional craftsmanship of the past, but with an eye towards the current generation of style-makers. Denver-based CoFi Leathers offers a Mollie Crossbody convertible clutch that is unique, practical and print can even be tailored to fit the exact style of your loved one. Western Rise offers versatile men’s clothing from high-quality materials for optimum performance, no matter the weather, season or occasion, and its holiday sale is on now. Rockmount Ranch Wear knows the West isn’t just a place but a state of mind, and one you can share with the western wear enthusiast on your list. Rockmount’s iconic snap button shirts have been featured in movies from The Misfits to Brokeback Mountain and the classic bandanas can make a fashion statement as a face covering.
Indecisive? Give a Taste of Colorado With a Unique Gift Box:
Not sure what to get them? Not a problem. Transport friends and family to a “Higher State of Mind” with a gastronomical box from Blanco Cellars and Little Cheese Shop, which includes a variety of Colorado-made spirits, cheeses and more. Woman-owned and family-run, Mulay’s Sausage Specialty Gift Boxes offers a package that includes a wide variety of premium Colorado sausages and meatballs for meat lovers. Cured, Boulder’s specialty grocer and cheese shop, offers a Colorado gift box with craft products from all four corners of the state, and includes yummy cheeses, salami, crackers, peach-jalapeno preserves, hot sauce, pickled beans and chocolate. Colorado Crafted is a modern alternative to traditional gift baskets and offers collections of high-quality Colorado-made souvenirs, gourmet foods and artisan gifts packaged in a stylish box or tote.
Holiday Markets (both in-person and virtual):
Holiday markets abound for Coloradans and out-of-staters via new virtual market offerings. Head to Durango for their socially-distanced Winter Solstice Artisan’s Market to cross off those hard-to-gift loved ones off your list. Leadville and Twin Lakes is offering an online Holiday Marketplace from Nov. 20 to Dec. 23 that features local artists, businesses and nonprofits. Support farmers and all things agricultural, by heading over to the ECAA Community Market to get a few food items shipped to you for your holiday dinners. A two-day virtual extravaganza will celebrate the best of Southern Colorado creatives, makers and artisans at Pueblo’s Holiday Bazaar. Visit Fort Collins recently launched an ecommerce site to drive holiday sales to local businesses, in addition to hosting a three-day virtual Makers Market. Denver’s best flea market, Horseshoe Market, is now digitized and features over 100 local entrepreneurs with items available by just the click of a button. Also, be sure to check-out High Mamas’ 12 Denver Holiday Markets You Don’t Want to Miss.
Give the Gift of a Safe, Self Guided or Private Colorado Experience:
For a unique experiential gift, Bridgestone’s Winter Driving School in Steamboat Springs is the most fun you’ll have on ice. Designed with public health in mind, Treasure Box Tours is a Denver-based tour company that offers boxed kits that include a self-guided day-tour packet with snacks and souvenirs from Colorado businesses. Rent your own private hot spring and spend time soaking with a loved one at Mount Princeton Hot Springs. Households who would like a break from the everyday routine can safely roadtrip through the state via their very own 4×4 Mercedes Sprinter van rental from Aspen Custom Vans. Or see spectacular views of the Continental Divide and Byers Peak Wilderness from above on a socially-distant balloon tour from Grand Adventure Balloon. Need to keep the kids busy? Get a three-hour VIP tour of the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo to get one-on-one time with the zoo’s friendliest animals. Create your own private speakeasy with your household at Marble Distilling, an award-winning, sustainable distillery that’s female-founded. For the thrill-seeker, gift a Breathtaker Alpine Coaster ticket that’ll take riders through over a mile of forest at about 28 MPH on an elevated coaster track. The ultimate socially distant experience can be had with the Colorado Cross Country Ski Association’s season punch pass that provides 18 trail passes at ten resorts and Nordic centers across Colorado.
To view a shareable map of Colorado businesses presented by the Colorado Small Business Development Center and the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, visit coloradosbdc.org/shop-local.