Published on : Tuesday, October 6, 2015
Invigorate your holiday season with a gift-giving strategy that fulfills the giver and the receiver alike. Here’s a list of unique Colorado-inspired offerings that range from toys and tools to sleigh rides and adventure gear sure to spark smiles, warm homes, and invite adventure. When it comes to gift-giving Colorado style, wrap up presents that evoke memories of a visit to the Centennial State, offer the opportunity to make a memory on an upcoming visit, or tempt the future with gifts that embody the essence of the state.
If it’s an “order-in” year, gift your western-loving friends and family leather goods from Zapata Ranch’s Ranchlands Store: leather bags, knife cases, cast-iron handle holders and dog collars. For the horse fanatic, consider a custom ordered saddle from Sherer Custom Saddles. Make Colorado your holiday destination and fulfill your winter wonderland fantasies at dude ranches across the state; enjoy skiing and sleigh rides at The Home Ranch north of Steamboat Springs or spend days Nordic skiing at the Latigo Dude Ranch. If your Colorado-cation is planned for another time of year, gift your travel mate a certificate for cowboy school at the Colorado Cowboy Company or leather making classes at The Makerie in Denver.
Holidays summon history and tradition at places like Mesa Verde National Park, where the Luminaria Holiday Open House is a beautiful and unique opportunity to experience ancient history in the southwest. At Bent’s Old Fort, step into the season with old-fashioned wagon rides, taffy pulls and toy making during their Holiday Celebration. Celebrate the mining town of Leadville with old-fashioned Christmas ornaments that can be collected for years to come. For a modern twist on a historic tradition, climb aboard a snowcat-drawn sleigh that carries you to a Scandinavian five-course dinner in a secluded mountain retreat at Ragnar’s in Steamboat Springs. In Golden, join Victorian carolers on a candlelight walk and witness the Olde Golden Christmas Parade as it meanders through historic downtown. Enjoy small-town holiday fun at the Georgetown Christmas Market; roast chestnuts, ride horse-drawn carriages through historic Georgetown, and shop for hand-made gifts at their outdoor European-style market.
Colorado is known for its award-winning craft brews, and those festive creations are reason alone to celebrate this holiday season. Whether from the bar of a local brewery or the comfort of home, enjoy any number of Colorado’s top winter brews. For a beer-inspired holiday, consider gifting loved ones a “Colorado Beer Map”– The Beer Drinker’s Guide to Colorado. The handy map contains over 500 listings of breweries, cideries, wineries and distilleries, with coupons from all across the state. It’s the perfect travelling companion to taste your way across the state.
Follow the Colorado wine trails on a holiday tasting excursion. For a winter wine tour, head to Palisade, where craft Colorado wines are bountiful. In Stratton, the Claremont Inn Bed, Breakfast and Winery boasts winter wines and holiday murder mysteries. Bring a taste of Colorado to the table with this mulled wine recipe from Cottonwood Cellars in Olathe:
1 bottle Lemberger wine, 10 oz water, 2 cinnamon sticks, 1 oz mulling spices w/out sugar tied in cheesecloth to a cork,
1 small orange covered with whole cloves, ½ cup brown sugar, 2 prunes
Place everything but the wine in a saucepan and bring to a simmer, pour into a crock put and put on low (don’t let it boil), add Lemberger and serve.
Whether a holiday wish from afar or an aid for spirit on the slopes, try “The Decc” from Distillery 291 – an après sport, citrus clove whiskey liqueur. Liven up your gathering with Sinister Cider from Syntax Spirits or make your own white Christmas with Montanya’s “White Room” rum cocktail. With a chill in the air and snow on the ground, nothing warms the holidays like Colorado’s Deerhammer whiskey; try the Downtime Single Malt or the Buena Vista Brandy in a nostalgic eggnog.
6 large eggs plus 2 yolks, ½ cup plus 2 Tbsp sugar, ¼ tsp salt, 4 cups whole milk, ½ cup Buena Vista Brandy, 1 Tbsp vanilla extract,
½ tsp grated nutmeg, ¼cup heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks, and additional grated nutmeg for garnish
Combine eggs, yolks, sugar and salt in heavy pot, whisk until combined. Continue whisking while pouring milk in a slow, steady stream until incorporated. Place on low heat and stir continuously until it’s thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove any small cooked bits of egg. Add Buena Vista Brandy and nutmeg; pour into a glass pitcher and cover. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or up to 3 days before finishing. To serve: pour heavy cream into a bowl and whip until it forms soft peaks; fold whipped cream into cold custard mixture until combined. Serve in chilled cups or and garnish with a sprinkle of nutmeg. Yield: 12 servings
Hunter’s Wish List
Plentiful small game, large-game, the world’s biggest elk-heard and lengthy hunting seasons ensure Colorado is at the top of any hunter’s list. Support their pursuit with Colorado-made hunting gear from Karifu, offering everything from tipi’s to parkas and packs; or, consider keeping your hunter well-sheltered with handmade tents from Denver Tents. Excite the adventurer with gift certificates for hunting classes from Colorado Parks and Wildlife or from outfitters like Newman Adventures. For bird hunters, give a pheasant hunt and trip to Longmeadow Event Center or an executive hunting weekend at Platte River Fort.
From Gold Medal Waters to remote mountain streams, anglers keep Colorado at the top of their bucket list. The fishermen on your list are sure to appreciate a Colorado-custom-made Bamboo fishing rod from South Creek Limited, or hand tied flies from Jakes Fly Ties. Consider an adventurous ice-fishing excursion at lakes across Colorado or make Majestic Dude Ranch your destination for holiday fishing.
For the Body, For the Soul
Pamper your loved ones with a delightful new scent from DRAM Apothecary, handcrafted soaps (or soap making classes) from Caramel Apple Farm, a beautifully packaged gift set from Dirty Water Soaps Works, Lavender Hydrosol from Dayspring Farm, or soy wax Magic Fairy Candles. Or, as part of a Colorado-cation, give the gift of luxurious spa treatments, a soak in natural hot springs or a solo retreat to Crestone’s Mountain Zen Center.
For the Love of Fiber
Whether it’s a class from Table Rock Llamas, yarn from the Yarn Outlet, Dom wool hats from Icebox Knitting or mittens from Edelweiss Alpacas, Colorado fiber is a warming holiday gift. For milling services or freshly spun yarn, try Yampa Valley Fiberworks. Pleasant Journey Alpacas offers everything from yarn to loom rugs to felted scarves, while wearable art from Wild Hair Alpacas is a sure favorite with fiber lovers.
If Colorado holds a special place in the hearts of you and your loved ones, keep the memory alive or entice future travels with a Colorado-made gift basket. For easily shippable gifts guaranteed fresh and made with love, opt for juices, jams and cider from Delicious Orchards, honey from Honeyville, cheese from Jumpin’ Goat Dairy, bean-to-bar chocolate from Nuance Chocolate, cantaloupe salsa from Scaff Brother’s in La Junta, and Pine Syrup from DRAM Apothocary. If you need a little direction, the Colorado Food & Agriculture Gift Guide is filled with ideas.
Make It Festive
Let the deep green, pine-scented needles of ponderosa, fir and juniper grace your doorway in a wreathe from Llama Pack Farms in Masonville. For a fresh take on tradition, order the White Elegance Holiday Wreath, packed full of lavender from Sage Creations Organic Farm. At the Covered Bridge Farm in Montrose you can create and decorate your own wreath. If you’re in Colorado, consider harvesting your tree on a historic train ride into the wilderness on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, where you can cut the pine of your choosing and bring it home via the train.
Hand Crafted Pleasures
For those with a deep appreciation for unique and thoughtful goods crafted by hand, a sled from Mountain Boy Sledworks will provide winter adventures with a craftsman’s touch. Gifts from the M12 Collective reflect the distinctive artistic talent of the Centennial State, while quilts from Mennonite communities celebrate a well-honed craft. Lotions from Lily Farm Fresh and Colorado Aromatics, and Vital Living Lip Shitz Balm are all hand-made pleasures. Craft your own herbal ornaments at gifts at Three Leaf Farm’s Natural Yuletide workshop.
Take Them Outside
Colorado is, perhaps, best known for its epic mountains, abundance of state parks, expansive vistas and adventures. Give the gift of exploration, with park passes to a Colorado State Park or a subscription to Colorado Outdoors Magazine.
From interactive adventures to quality-crafted souvenirs, Colorado’s wide array of unique offerings ensures every present given and received is meaningful. Make gift-giving an enjoyable experience this season with Colorado-inspired gifts and create a holiday tradition and memories for years to come.