Colorado cool is red hot this holiday season

Colorado craft brews and beverages, outdoor equipment, getaways, foodie haunts and a virtual catalogue of amazing gifts are what everyone wants to get and give this year, even if they don’t know it, pro-local business expert say.

It’s expected that a state like Colorado, blessed as vast playground for outdoor enthusiasts, would boast a catalogue of cool Colorado-ish things to play outside.

Lesser known is that this is the place where giving the gift of theater, rare booze or only-place-on Earth cosmetics make for perfect holiday gift giving.

Here are a few of the oh-so Coloradical gifting ideas we’ve run across this year.


A Colorado Resort Daycation | Starting at $25

What’s more relaxing than a day by the pool at one of Colorado’s swanky resorts? For your friends and family who are local, you don’t have to gift a night at Vail’s Hotel Talisa or The Jacquard in Cherry Creek. Resort Pass allows you to treat your favorites to a daycation. Look at you, being the best gift-giver of them all. Starting at $25, a day pass to a handful of Colorado resorts gets all the access an overnight guest would get without having to purchase a room. A spa pass, for an extra fee, adds bonus deals on massages and facials.


A Class with Create Cooking School | Starting at $59

If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. If you give a man a cooking class from Create, you level up his kitchen game and hopefully reap the benefits of his fresh culinary education. Don’t worry, we won’t tell anybody this gift is kinda for you too! Create, located in Aurora’s Stanley Marketplace, offers classes for those who are brunch-obsessed, wading into new cuisines or wanting the tastiest date night. Classes range from the traditional German dinner to French pastries to a perfect Korean BBQ. A gift card makes giving a Create class easy, and there’s no shortage of experiences to choose from. Classes start at $59. A calendar of events can be found online.


Cozy Wool Slippers | $50

That very dreamlike, neutral color scheme aesthetic that feels really comfortable and natural has a name. The Danish call it “hygge” and it exists in Colorado, Vail Valley to be exact. The Hygge Life shop and cafe is everything that’s comfy and cozy. The Cuff Slippers are a hygge must, experts from the internet’s chicest sources say. Hygge Life has been featured in publications such as the New York Times, Goop, Forbes and Dwell.  A gift from Hygge Life is like giving the best feeling from northern Europe, but it’s local and oh-so-snug.



The Best Colorado Beauty Products

Colorado’s high altitude and dry, wacky winter weather are a recipe for skin disaster! Luckily we’re equipped with some of the best beauty brands right here a mile high and beyond. Gift givers rejoice! For your self care-obsessed list, try a Daily Essentials Kit from LoHi-based FIG+YARROW (also available at Target) or a rosehip face mask or desert scent-inspired bath tablet from Formulary 55, headquartered in the heart of Pueblo. You can sometimes peep Formulary 55’s products in various West Elm and Anthropologie stores across the country plus a bevy of specialty stores.


Pretty Latte Art | Starting at $150

The completely Instagrammable latte art your favorite barista is serving up is totally doable at home. But it’s going to take some tips from the pros and a lot of practice. Drink up! This isn’t something just any ol’ Keurig can do. Let’s start with a class from Ozo Coffee, which offers classes to beginners and experts alike. The classes are designed around the fundamentals of quality espresso and frothy milk beverages. Yum. You better reserve yourself a spot too.


Herbal Bitters for Rad Cocktails | $30

The perfect Colorado bourbon (or any booze, really) is topped with locally-made bitters. Trust! DRAM Apothecary, based in Colorado, drums up some of the best all-natural flavor profiles. Wild Mountain Sage pairs well with gin or whiskey. Put the warm, spicy Hair of the Dog bitters in a Manhattan or a tea, whatever floats your boat. Just make sure you gift the set, which features a sampling of each of the six DRAM bitters. Feeling extra generous? Add a pine syrup to your cart. It’s literally the taste of the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Evergreen needles are foraged right here at home.


Mr. B’s Wine & Spirits Gift Card

Who doesn’t love going into a liquor store and being immediately overcome with choice paralysis? Well, maybe that isn’t ideal, but it’s nice to have options — and at Mr. B’s Wine & Spirits, in the middle of the Stanley Marketplace, there is no shortage. Whether their poison be grapes, barley pops or any variety of spirit, a gift card to Mr. B’s is guaranteed to wet the tongue of the imbiber on your list. And the coup de gras of this upscale package store is their Scotch Vault, which holds at any given time, approximately 200 varieties of this highland treat.


Dead Sexy Scents | $36

Romantic and ethereal. That’s how Centennial-based TokyoMilk describes its “Dead Sexy” perfume. With notes of deep vanilla, ebony, exotic wood and white orchid, this scent is sure to kill your gift game. In the best possible way, of course. TokyoMilk, found online or at a bevy of local specialty shops, makes a number of fragrances that are unique and just waiting to become your gift recipient’s next go-to scent. No mass-produced, overpowering department store parfum this year. The only negative we review we could find? Four out of five stars, and the con was the excess boxing.


Jubilee Roasting Company Photo by Sara Hertwig

Jubilee Roasting Co. Coffee | From $13

Contrary to commercial jingle lore, there’s nary a sadder way to start your day than with a mucky cup of instant coffee. It’s watery, it’s bland and it circumvents the general rule that foods and beverages should require at least some diligence and preparation before consumption — otherwise, leave it to the astronauts. And not to name names, but there’s a certain red jug of brown dust that has a particularly nefarious reputation among snootier bean barons. Please, don’t let your loved ones be doomed to an upcoming National Hangover Day (see: Jan. 1) with nothing but that crimson tin of sawdust. Instead, make sure all nearby cupboards are prepared and stocked with some o the good stuff from Aurora’s own Jubilee Roasting Company. Cranking out fine cups o’ mud since late 2015, the East Colfax hive packages fresh beans that would look good under any tree, stocking, or even carelessly hung mistletoe. The company’s signature sack, the Moonbuggy Blend, will set you back just $13. Visit or check out the shop in-person at 1452 Kenton St. for more information.


The cast of Tuck Everlasting at the Vintage Theater through January. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Just the ticket

Various theaters | From $20

Show me the funny, or show me the tragedy. Aurora has set itself apart from the metro area’s vibrant and remarkable theater scene during the past few years. You can impress your friends and give a memorable gift that never spoils or takes up space at a handful of award-winning regional theater venues close to home.

The Aurora Fox Arts Center theater, Vintage Theater, John Hand Theater and PACE arts center all serve up enthralling and riveting live-theater experiences for everyone.

The Vintage offers an outta-bawdy experience with holiday cabaret drag shows, also “Homo for the Holidays,” set to music, or an evening with A Harry Belafonte. More how about tales from the worst romantic in the world, or more. Stage side, Vintage is boasting the inspiring “Tuck Everlasting” through Jan. 15. Call 303-856-7830 or visit

Or make a seriously memorable impression on your friends and family by sending them to see “Squirrels” at the Aurora Fox next month. Billed as “Bring it on, you cute and cuddly, little b*tches!,” this dark comedy dances through a host of American ‘isms and is sure to cause a scene when it opens Jan. 17. There’s plenty of lighter and even musical fare at the Fox down the road, but you’ll be remembered handing out these tickets. Call 303-739-1970 or visit

Further south, the PACE Center in Parker is bringing the way-familiar and more family friendly “Mathilda, The Musical” to the metro scene starting Jan. 17.  It’s the much-loved and timeless Roald Dahl classic set to award-winning Broadway score and loaded with stage magic and stunts. Gift tickets to the perfect show for families or families sans kids, present satisfaction is practically guaranteed. Call 303-805-6800 or visit

Of if your favorite aunt or uncle or beloved is into pure gaffs and laughs, the Fireside Theater Company at the John Hand Theatre on Lowry is offering the stage version of “Calender Girls” for a few more weeks. Elder babes in the buff and stuff draw laughs on the stage through Dec. 22. Make this one an early gift and get the review over Christmas Dinner. Call 303-562-3232 or visit


291 Whiskey | From $47

Whiskey and mountains, that’s what Colorado does. Alright, that may be a bit of an overstatement, but those two passions are certainly ubiquitous favorites among transplants and natives alike. And Colorado Springs-based Distillery 291 is a nearby institution that manages to exquisitely marry the pair. Owner and founder Michael Myers has been cranking out damn-fine fire water in the shadow of Pike’s Peak for slightly more than seven years, and in that time he’s already managed to put Jimmy Beam’s crew into a proverbial full nelson. With a slew of variations to choose from — including several “white” whiskeys distilled to replace vodka or tequila in cocktails — you can’t go wrong with any of the roughly one dozen bottles currently advertised on the 291 website. Our pick is the single-barrel Colorado bourbon whiskey — a no-nonsense bottle of logic to calm your head after a doozy of a week, or month, or year, or life, or — well, you get the point. The stuff goes down smooth and tastes damn good, to boot. Like any halfway-decent bottle of liquor, prices start at about $50. Locally you can find Myers’ hooch at The Big Liquor Store in Aurora, or just about any package store west of Yosemite Street. Head to for more information.


Red Apple Cyser Mead from Dragon Meadery | From $19

One of Aurora’s best-kept and booziest secrets is located inside an unassuming garage across the street from Olympic Park. For nearly seven years, Shane and Alexandria Fox have been quietly cranking out 375-milliliter bottles of mead — that sweet, syrupy hooch enjoyed for centuries by Vikings, pharaohs and, now, Aurorans. The Fox’s sumptuous creations make a fantastic stocking stuffer and even better belly-calmer after one too many helpings of figgy pudding. One of their most popular bottles, the red apple cyser, features wild flower honey and fresh-pressed cider to produce a bottle of not-quite-liqueur, not-quit-wine that goes down almost too easily. Nab the stuff by contacting the purveyors themselves on Facebook, or visiting Aurora’s Chambers Wine & Liquors on East Iliff Avenue or Corner Star Wine & Liquors on East Briarwood Circle.


Cache La Posters from Pine Print Shop | From $30

It’s no secret that Americans could stand to sport one or two fewer cliche signs on the walls of their kitchens or bedrooms. Seriously, how many vaguely artisanal placards declaring “Live. Laugh. Love.” or “I always cook with wine — sometimes I even put it in the food!” do we really need in the world? Luckily, the crew at Pine Print Shop in Fort Collins has a bevy of alternatives this holiday season, all of which are printed in-house at the Pine space on East Olive Street. Pine is selling half a dozen Cache La Poudre-themed prints signed by the artists who made them, including Cameron Nelson, Bonnie Bladen and others. More than 80 percent of the sales go to benefiting the environment, so you can rest a tad easier knowing your dollar isn’t getting pocketed by some corporate overlord. The roughly 18 inch by 24 inch images printed on french or cougar paper make the perfect bespoke gift for that special ram in your life, though we suppose buffaloes, pioneers, roadrunners and bears would like them, too.


Yes. Fudge.

Fudge of the month club from Stedman’s | 3-month subscription starting at $42

It might seem a little odd at first to see a line out the door of a shop attached to a gas station, but that’s exactly what happens most days outside of the Stedman’s Old Time Soda, Sweets and Other Treats shop attached to the Shell gas station in the Chaffee County town of Buena Vista. (That’s Bew-na Vista, for those playing at home.) But that’s because this place sells good — like, really good — homemade fudge. It’s all but mandatory to get out of your car to try a plethora of fudge flavors ranging from dreamsicle and rocky road to maple nut and chocolate walnut anytime you’re venturing down U.S. Route 285. Of course, you’ll need to sample all of the flavors to ensure you put together the perfect mix for a friend or family member’s gift. Or, from the comfort of your Aurora crib, you can sign your hubby up for a three, six or 12-month subscription to the joint’s fudge of the month club, which ships a half a pound of fudge anywhere within the continental U.S. the first of each month.


Sake from the Colorado Sake Company | Single bottles from $13

The Centennial State has its very own purveyor of sake? You bet your gosh darn bippy it does. Opened in summer 2018 after a change in state law, Colorado Sake Company cranks out its own barrels of the Japanese beverage that gets you silly like wine, but is made kinda sorta like beer. Co-founder and brewer William Stuart’s American Standard or Horchata Nigori make terrific, velvety and slightly off-kilter residents under the tree. Or, if you prefer to, like, spend time with people in person, write your S.O. an IOU and take ‘em to a date night at Stuart’s buzzy new comedy club in the back of his tasting room in Denver’s RiNo neighborhood, now known as the Denver Comedy Lounge. The spot features sets every Friday and Saturday night at 8 p.m. and 9:45 p.m. But if you want to enjoy the sauce in the comfort of your own La-Z-Boy, nab the hooch in Aurora at Camelot Liquors, Highpoint Liquor or Hampden Crossing Liquor.


Big Six Camp Chair from Big Agnes | From $150

Don’t let Bear Grylls fool you: Glamping is fantastic. Setting up your living room in the middle of a National Forest, or Bureau of Land Management plot may not get the best reputation on social media, but it certainly has its perks, chief among them a well-cushioned and happy derriere. Steamboat Springs-based outfit Big Agnes makes some of the better glamping-minded items on the market — couple’s sleeping bags and insulated tent comforters are some of their more noteworthy products — but their big six chair is a must-have for any comfort-minded camper. The 3-pound, 20-inch tall chair pops up in a jiffy, holds your keister in style and is built to endure the inevitable tip-over after you’ve indulged in one two-many fireside beverages.


Topo Designs x Ursa Major Travel Kit | From $54

If you’ve managed to avoid the explosion of Topo Designs across the Front Range in recent years, you’ve either never been to Denver’s RiNo neighborhood on a Friday night, or you need to check your eye prescription. Started by Coloradans Jedd Rose and Mark Hansen about a decade ago, Topo hats, shirts, jackets and packs have quickly become staples of the hip and famous — and Denver schlubs who know a friend at the company. Regardless, Topo schwag is coveted enough to make any influencer giddy at the annual yankee swap. This year, Topo’s collaboration with skin care firm Ursa Major, produced a neat little package of toiletries — deodorant, soap, face wipes, face wash and face balm — tucked within one of Topo’s oh-so-handy accessory bags. For slightly more than one Ulysses. S. Grant, the kit makes a trendy and practical present for natives and newbies alike.


Hammonds Candies | From $3

You could pick up your stocking stuffer staples — candy canes and the like — just about anywhere, and you’d be showing just how much you don’t give a flip in doing so. Instead, consider saturating those decorative stocks with Denver confections from Hammond’s. Sure, there may be a few folks on your gift list who deserve a lump of coal crammed where the sun doesn’t shine, but they probably aren’t even worth the effort. For them, drop between $3 and $8 on the “Oops!” candy that Hammonds sells. But for everyone who made your “good list,” gift bag or organic mint pillows will run you $8.95. For something a bit more substantial, the chocolate bar five pack includes, you guessed it, a quintet of artisanal chocolate chunks for $30. Diet tips not included.


Premium Facial Kit from Taspen’s Organics | From $15

If the eyes truly are the window to the soul, the face must be the whole exterior facade. And if that is, indeed, the case, that exterior needs at least an annual power washing — shutters, trim, siding and all. But before this whole “face as a building” metaphor gets too convoluted, we’ll just say this: Wash your damn face. But, please, for the love of Billy Shakespeare, no more of that CVS-brand rubbing alcohol. You’re better than that. This year, it’s time to spring for something a tad more opulent — OK, a lot more opulent. Taspen’s Organics, founded in Conifer, offers a wealth of tinctures, creams, toners and the like to make you looking and feeling like gosh darn royalty this holiday season. From their $70 wrinkle serum for crows feet, to $20 foaming facial cleansers, to $20 beard oil for that family member with the full face follicles, Taspen’s offers reasonable trinkets for every person, and face, on your list.


Coloradical T-Shirts | From $32

Few, if any, can claim true “native” status in our beloved Square State. Here at the Sentinel, we typically reserve the coveted moniker for bonafide Cherokee, Arapahoe, Ute and other tribe members. We’d encourage you to do the same. What’s clear, though: folks from all stripes love being in Aurora and traversing our epic state. We’ve got a majestic stretch of the Continental Divide, the headwaters of the Colorado and Arkansas Rivers, some of the top ski resorts in the state and a coveted spot in the middle of the U.S. If we’re invaded by Russia tomorrow for meddling in a Crimean election, we’ll be one of the last hold-outs. These are all things to celebrate, people! Do so by buying things. In this wish-list, we’d be remiss to exclude Coloradical-brand garb. The Denver-based t-shirt company makes super sick shirts emblazoned with images of lazy, hazy sunsets, mountains and Red Rocks. They’ve also got hats and beanies. Click on over to to learn more.


Icelantic Skis | From $650

You don’t have to drive to Telluride to ski the steep and deep. Vail brings snow-bunnies from all over the world, Breckenridge packs the families in. Arapahoe Basin, Loveland and Eldora are mainstays for longtime shredders on boards or planks alike. And it’s no mistake that The X-Games and Dew Tour competitions bring the world’s best jibbers to Copper Mountain and Aspen. Many of us support the big ski resort industry every week, but it’s time to start supporting local ski brands. Start with Icelantic Skis, based in Golden. They’re masters of crafting gorgeous all mountain and backcountry skis for men and women. Do not underestimate their graphics —mysterious and beautiful — or a smooth decent on these planks in any conditions. Visit their Golden store at 1300 Washington Ave, Golden or online at





Kelty outdoor store

Despite the glitz, Boulder has some redeemable qualities. The mountains are impressive — and so are some Boulder-based outdoor companies. Kelty is at the top of the list. For about 70 years, the Colorado mainstay has been crafting solid and sleek tents, sleeping pads, backcountry backpacks and a host of other outdoor necessities like sleeping bags, trekking poles and camp chairs. Winter is here to stay (as of writing, this Sentinel staffer’s car is buried under a foot of snow) but we’ll all be back in the mountains soon enough for camping and backpacking trips. If you want to test your mettle, Kelty gear will also keep you alive before the snows melt. Either way, visit their Boulder store at 6235 Lookout Rd. Boulder or click ferociously to


High Country News subscription | $37 for a year

In case you haven’t noticed, there’s some top-notch journalism coming out of Colorado, besides the always award-winning Sentinel Colorado in your hands. Near the top of that list is High Country News. For decades, the Paonia, Colorado-based outlet has been serving up regional investigative and environmental-centered reporting that is not to be trifled with. Who owns the most land in the American west? How do prisoner-firefighters view their jobs? And what will become of the West’s water woes? All these things, and a myriad perspectives, have made up the magazine’s pages this year. Have it delivered to your door and full digital access for under $40 bucks a year. The actual cost is just over $3 a month. Head to to subscribe. You’ll quickly become informed and up-to-date on the West’s most pressing questions.


Sie Film Center membership | From $65

If you’re sick of seeing the latest superhero movie, it’s time you got to the Sie Film Center. The headquarters of Denver’s art-film scene, near the intersection of East Colfax Avenue and York St., regularly screens the best contemporary movies from the U.S. as abroad. Oh, and did we mention the seats are plush, the staff kind and the atmosphere bucolic? Walk in needing some perspective, or just plain entertainment; walk out with a renewed sense of your place in the city and world. Or, feel disgusted with the foreign film you’ve just seen. Either way, both are valuable reactions to art. Sign up for a membership at, starting at $65 a month, and get your butt in a seat.


Colorado Rockies Season Tickets | From $915

Getcher purple on, folks. Come March 26, our beloved Colorado Rockies baseball juggernauts will be back on the diamond to disappoint a fan near you. Just kidding. Even in the worst of times, there’s no sport as iconic as baseball. Grab a pretzel, a beer and a seat to enjoy victory and defeat alike. Whichever it be, you gotta root (root root) for the hometeam. How about turning out for the entire season? From $915 bucks to about $4,000 you can clamp down tix from opening day —  March 26 2020 — through the World Series, if you’re lucky. The ticket pricing depends, of course, on whether you’re sitting in the nosebleeds with binoculars or chilling behind home place. For superfans, though, this could be the right deal. See for yourself at


Colorado Limited Socks |
From $16

How about seeing the Maroon Bells every day… on your feet?! Denver-based Colorado Limited is one of many brands cashing in on Colorado’s natural beauty and state branding with t-shirts and apparel, but their socks shine bright. They’ve got tye-die CO flag socks, regular CO flag socks, weirdly-colored CO flag socks and socks with mountains on them. Entertain, stun and maybe even frighten your friends and family with a pair or two of these puppies — that is, if you’ve got the gumption to gift a pair of socks during the holidays. Maybe you are becoming your mother, after all! The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, as they say. Order online at or peruse in-person at 1525 S Pearl Street in Denver.


Pop Sockets | From $8

Those things that stick on the back of smartphones are pretty cool. You’ve probably seen them around: They look like big buttons that provide for a better hand hold when gazing up at an iPhone in bed or swiping an Android while sitting on the pot. Turns out, those things are called Pop Sockets. And believe it or not: the multinational company is headquartered in Boulder. Online, Pop Sockets has countless “Pop Grips” with buckets of graphics. Put the moon on your Pop Socket; or a black hole. We don’t care. Alls we know is, we’ve heard they’re popular with the Gen-Z crowd. Maybe you can customize your Grip with a photo of like, Shawn Mendes, or whatever. Find out at


Coors Beer. Not

Molson Coors has betrayed us. The beer behemoth is closing its Colorado corporate offices and moving to Chicago, according to the Denver Post, leaving a can-sized hole in our hearts. How could the makers of such favorites as Banquet Beer and Coors Light leave our beloved Square State? Who in their right mind thought this would be a good idea? Well, marketing rules the world, a Coors spokesperson told the Post. They need more marketing jobs, and apparently Chicago is offering those. And they’re trying to save money, the spox added. So in the spirit of giving this season, give Coors The Bird for ditching the state it claimed to love so much. Instead, support local Aurora breweries like Launch Pad, Dry Dock and Peak to Peak. Saddle up next to your neighbor at one of these bars and enjoy a beer over 5 percent. Bottles and cans of winter beers are also on sale now at various breweries.


Vander Jackets | From $145

Aurora has its very own fashion and clothing designers. And news flash: They’re crafting impressive duds. The super-diverse city we all know and love is a budding fashion hub as well, drawing the attention of serious investment (and reporters). Take Sarah Vander Neut. The Aurora resident creates flashy windbreakers and jackets from her home and is turning heads, including those at the New York Times. That newspaper and many others ran a profile of Neut this summer. Her ethos: “Colorado is not New York, is not L.A. This is our fashion statement. A jacket is something a woman is going to need for layering,” she told the Associated Press in July. We couldn’t agree more, and better, her jackets are eye-popping arrays of bright color with specs like long sleeves designed with running in mind. Support local fashion and look damn good doing it by clicking over to


Sabrina y Corina and assorted book stores

Denver’s got a homegrown, superstar writer in Kali Fajardo-Anstine. Her name is now a national one, too, after her story collection Sabrina y Corina won status as a National Book Award finalist. In this collection, she tells important stories of a Denver some find hard to remember, focusing on Latina women of Indigenous descent grappling with hardships and the relationships that thread them — for better or worse. These stories fielded strong praise from Fajardo-Anstine’s new acolytes at NBC and The New York Times, to name a few. We strongly recommend supporting local writers even when the prose is leaden and characters one-dimensional; with Sabrina y Corina, you needn’t buy the book for Denver’s sake. Order online at publisher if you’re snowed in, but this local lit bread and butter should line the aisle of any brick-and-mortar bookstore worth its salt.


DJI Mavic Mini | Starting at $399

With a new year around the bend, some may feel as though a new perspective is needed. And there is no better way to gain a new perspective than by taking to the skies for your photography and videography. DJI’s latest drone, the Mavic Mini is the perfect way to get that new outlook. With 30 minutes of flight time and an intuitive app and flight menu, you’ll be in the skies in no time. The DJI Fly App features a bevy of creator templates that send your drone into specific flight patterns for professional looking cinematic shots making editing a breeze. The Mavic Mini comes with a controller, battery, charger, spare propellers, all the cords and other accoutrements needed to take flight. The Fly More Combo includes three batteries, three sets of extra propellers, a charger and a carrying bag. The Fly More Combo is $499 compared to the $399 price of the drone, sans extras. You can order it online or buy it in person at the DJI store in Centennial.


ReRoot Gardens Workshop

Is the thumb of someone on your list more brown than green? Gift them some green thumb knowledge by signing them up for one of the many different workshops offered by ReRoot plant shop, located in the heart of RiNo. ReRoot offers a slew of different workshops, from terrarium building to a class on making Fire Cider — the wintery beverage that is guaranteed to boost your immunities during this wintery weather we will experience the next four months. This is the perfect gift for those who have an appreciation, or desire, for the greener side of life.


Photography Workshop from CPAC

Got a shutterbug on your list? The Colorado Photographic Arts Center has the perfect gift for them. CPAC offers classes all-year long, varying from intensive one-day workshops to four-week immersive courses taught by experienced instructors, running the gamut of styles from portraiture to fine art to commercial photography. But there is no need for intimidation if the eager shooter on your “nice list” is a beginner — there are Beginner DSLR classes and classes developed strictly around composition. And for the more advanced, CPAC offers classes on lighting, photo composites and photo project development. They even offer an iPhoneography 101 class. The options are many for the Ansel Adams you’re shopping for this year.


Bark Box Subscription

We all know the pet lovers, and odds are, there’s at least one on your Christmas shopping list. There is no better way to spoil a pup and their human by setting them up with a monthly subscription to Bark Box, which comes to their door full of toys and treats, just for the fur babies. Each month features a different theme and each box has two toys, two bags of all-natural dog treats and one chew. The themes are always fun and clever, like Knights of the Hound Table or Chewrassic Bark. Human food comes in subscription services, so why not one for the pets? This is a gift that gives all-year long and is sure to bring smiles to humans and their four-legged friends.


Twist & Shout Records Gift Card

There’s no question that you know someone who loves music. Don’t know the hottest 8-track out right now? No problem! Get the music lover on your list a gift card to one of Denver’s last remaining record shops, Twist & Shout. This haven for all things music has become one of the premier locations to find rare and out of print vinyl, in the country. They also sell CD’s, DVD’s and BluRay’s, vinyl toys and a variety of soft goods. There is no doubt that the melophile on your list will be able to find something that strikes the right chord at this decades old music house.


Speed over to Christmas in Color display

Nothing says Christmas in Colorado like a dragstrip, right? The answer is actually yes, as Morrison’s Bandimere Speedway — aka “Thunder Mountain” — has transformed itself into Holiday Hill through Jan. 4. Usually the lights on the track nestled above bustling C-470 come on the tree that starts dragsters on their G-force push to the finish line, but 1.5 million LED lights have been added to get you into the holiday spirit. The Christmas in Color offering — which has also transformed Water World — allows a leisurely drive through a wonderland of candy canes, snowmen and arches draped in lights that pulsate in accordance with Christmas music that plays through your car radio. So pull out the credit card and treat your family to the Christmas gift of light, with a ticket (only one needed per carload, no matter how big that legal carload is) available at and is the preferred method of purchase. Tickets start at $27 and vary depending on the day of the week. Closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas days, but regular hours are 5:30-10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 5:30-10:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 5:30-10 p.m. Sundays through Jan. 4. Bandimere Speedway is at 3051 S. Rooney Road in Morrison.


Gaze on the Maroon Bells in your living room

The advent of smart phone cameras make it easy to personally document the stunning beauty of anywhere in Colorado you might travel, but professionals have the time and patience to dedicate to getting the absolutely perfect shot. A good photograph can transport you anywhere in the world and what better places to be sent than on the tranquil edge of the water at the Maroon Bells. Maybe you trekked 100 miles from the Aurora area to the remote beauty just west of Aspen, but you probably were mostly in it for the hike and the exercise. Your cell phone picture likely captures some of the majesty, but the three-panel slate photograph offered by can’t be beaten. With UV scratch and fade resistant protection, they can be hung just about anywhere and stand the test of time. At roughly four feet wide and two feet tall, the Maroon Bells can come to life in your living room or you can send it to somebody you really care about (as it carries a $595 price tag) or you can choose Longs Peak at Bear Lake, Lone Aspen Rocky Mountain National Park, Aspen Grove Independence Pass or Lupine at Sunrise. Orders usually ship in 1-2 business days after order, so you can get it sent in time even if you procrastinate (but don’t).


Give the gift of a Via Ferrata

Colorado is full of outdoor enthusiasts, so if you have a rock climber in your family or circle — or even somebody who just enjoys a bit of a challenge — giving the gift of the Via Ferrata at the Royal Gorge will be a certified winner. With the combined resources of nearby Canon City and The Royal Gorge Bridge Co., who each own a share of one of Colorado’s treasured national wonders, a Via Ferrata (translated to “iron path” in Italian) opened in 2019 that gives a different view of than any of the other ways to view the canyon (walking the bridge, taking the gondola or pushing out into space above it on one of the rides). Following a gradual hike down into the canyon, trained guides lead guests back up to the top by way of a ladder-like path firmly anchored into the granite walls of the canyon. Clipped in with caribeners for safety, guests can usually finish the full journey in 2 1/2 to 3 hours. No need for climbing experience (the only restriction is guests must be 12 years old or older) and the attraction is open year round (weather dependent). Join on to one of the prescheduled daily tours (10 a.m., 10:15 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 2 p.m., 2:15 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.) for the shortest tours ($135) or 9 a.m., 9:15 a.m., 1 p.m. and 1:15 p.m. for the 4 1/2 to 5-hour tours ($165) or call ahead to book a private tour for up to four people. Visit or call 719-276-8320 for reservations.