The Ultimate Holiday Guide To Colorado Crafted Gifts and Experiences

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From Gift Ideas to Festive Staycations; Experiences and Activities: Colorado Has The Holiday Punch-List Covered

The state’s thriving culture and craftsmanship ensure there are many imaginative and thoughtful ways to give the spirit of the region. Colorado is also a real-life winter wonderland dotted with magical festivals, events, and activities to get visitors in the mood of the season.

Colorado offers much inspiration for the holiday season. The state’s thriving culture and craftsmanship ensure there are many imaginative and thoughtful ways to give the spirit of the region. Colorado is also a real-life winter wonderland dotted with magical festivals, events, and activities to get visitors in the mood of the season. Below is a guide from all corners of Colorado to use as a tool in finding the perfect gift, or more importantly, to give the gift of a memorable holiday experience.

Step Back in Time
Roast chestnuts, ride horse-drawn carriages and shop for hand-made gifts in historic Georgetown and its outdoor European-style holiday market. Witness the joys, pleasures, and pastimes of the 1840's at Bent’s old Fort western trading post. The spirit of the season comes alive with wagon rides, games, toy making, taffy pull, piñata break, frontier cooking, storytelling, and other holiday festivities culminating in candlelight tours. Holiday activities kick off nightly with Gold Camp Christmas in Victor and Cripple Creek complete with a self-guided tour of the area’s decorated mine head-frames (the above-ground structure of the shaft) and the Elf Emporium loaded with gifts made by local crafters. Catch a glimpse of ancient Colorado history at Mesa Verde National Park’s Luminaria Holiday Open House. A visit to the Colorado Model Railroad Museum in Greeley brings out the inner child during its Holiday Festival of Trains.

Revel in Holiday Markets and Festivals
Don’t miss some of the state’s best Christmas markets and holiday open houses including Greeley’s Festival of Trees and the Festival of Enchantment in Pueblo. The Boulder County Winter Farmer’s Market in Longmont is an ideal place for gift buying alongside seasonal local produce. Palisade Olde-Fashioned Christmas features a parade of lights, a soup challenge, and craft vendors. The holiday season also brings festive art fairs, pop-ups and maker sales across rural Creative Districts across the state: Mancos Creative District hosts the Mancos Olde Fashioned Christmas with an art fair and festive celebrations in town, Salida Holiday Festival features caroling, arts and crafts and tractor-pulled hayrides. Pueblo Creative Corridor hosts seasonal weekly art walks and sales throughout the holiday season.

A Natural Colorado Christmas
Visit a Colorado tree farm or acquire a Christmas tree cutting permit from the US Forest Service harvest your tree. For a special twist, harvest that holiday tree on a trip with the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. Let pine-scented needles of ponderosa, fir, and juniper grace your doorway in a wreath from Llama Pack Farms in Masonville or create and decorate a wreath at the Covered Bridge Farm in Montrose.

Give the Gift of Going—or Staying!
Give the gift of a guest ranch experience, or better yet—bring the family to gather for a true cowboy Christmas at one of Colorado’s dude and guest ranches where packages include holiday meals, winter outdoor activities and more. Rural lodging and guest packages offer memorable staycations and include winter fun with the Ski, Swim, Stay weekends combining hot springs fun in Glenwood Springs with skiing at Sunlight Mountain, or a Monarch Mountain Snowmobile & Stay package at one of Colorado’s best-loved ski resort gems. For the non-skier, more relaxing winter stays with wildlife viewing, hiking and horse carriage rides are offered at the scenic the Platte River Fort. For those who love summer-season outdoor fun and challenges a weekend at the original Colorado camp for adults, Camp Shenanigans.

The Outdoors Gift-Wrapped
The world’s biggest elk herd, Gold Medal Waters, and epic vistas ensure Colorado is at the top of any outdoors person’s list. Stock the hunters’ shelves with equipment from Karifu or Denver Tents. Anglers will appreciate a Colorado-custom-made Bamboo fishing rod from South Creek Limited, hand-tied flies from Duranglers or ice-fishing excursions to various lakes across Colorado. Give the gift of exploration with a park pass to a Colorado State Park. For those that like to play in the snow, Colorado is home to leading manufacturers of must-have winter toys: Meier Skis for custom-made skis, Moots for fat bikes, and Mountain Boy Sledworks for traditional and iconic sleds.

Edible and Flavorful Gifts
From single origin coffee beans by Bestslope Coffee Company in Fruita and Nuance Chocolate small-batch “bean to bar” chocolate makers of Fort Collins, to gorgeous bitters, botanicals, and cocktail making kits from Strongwater, there’s a bounty of craft selections for epicureans. Easily shippable gifts guaranteed fresh and made with love include peppered jellies from Minturn Saloon, rose-infused honey from hives across Weld, Larimer and Boulder Counties by Bee Squared Apiaries, cheese from Jumpin’ Goat Dairy, and mango salsa from Colorado Black Diamond Salsa. Or send the gift of Colorado via a basket of curated and assorted goodies from Colorado Crafted, or Cured in Boulder offers a discerning taste of native specialties including cheeses, and salami in its Colorado gift box. Learn how to make your own holiday cheeses along with other seasonal gifts with The Art of Cheese in Longmont. Send the chef in the family mountain-inspired recipes with the new Half-Baked Harvest cookbook by Colorado mountain chef and food blogger, Tieghan Gerard.

Craft Beverage Gifts and Winter Warmers
Colorado’s award-winning breweries, wineries, and distilleries are reason alone to celebrate. Enjoy drinking or giving the gift of beer with some inspiration from Colorado’s top winter brews or gift a regional beverage tour, such as the Craft Beverages of SW Colorado. Head to Palisade for a winter wine tour, and for spirits from the ski slopes, visit Crested Butte’s Montanya Rum. Make your own Christmas cheer with Marble Distilling Company’s The Dude cocktail made from award-winning Moonlight Expresso coffee liquor. Get that whiskey lover something to treasure—a rare Maryland-Style Rye from Denver’s Leopold Bros—only available November-December.

Made and Making in Colorado
Across the state, there is a wide range of crafters and manufacturers offering custom-made products including outdoor recreation gear, luxurious facial products, cowboy hats and homeware. Fashion seekers will love hats, including fedoras from Greeley Hat Works or Dom wool hats from Icebox Knitting. Cooks will enjoy wooden crafted bar and kitchenware from David Rasmussen and western-lovers will covet leather goods from Zapata Ranch’s Ranchlands Store. Pamper loved ones with luxurious rose oil from Osmia Organics, or Lavender Hydrosol from Colorado Aromatics. Treat that preening man with beard oils and salves from The Vintage Grooming Company. Or why not give the gift of making: CoCo Crafted of Colorado Springs offers budding crafters the chance to create wall hangings, art, embroidery, and painting. More specialized classes include leather-working with The Makerie for fiber classes at Table Rock Llamas. For aspiring chefs looking to sharpen their skills, try an animal breakdown or sausage-making class at Boulder Butchery Guild.

After all that Planning…Some Colorado-Style Self-Care
After making the holidays special for everyone else, don’t forget some self-care. Take a little downtime with Colorado inspired spa treatments or a soak in some of the state’s natural hot springs.  

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ABOUT COLORADO
Colorado is a four-season destination offering unparalleled adventure and recreational pursuits, a thriving arts scene, a rich cultural heritage, flavorful cuisine, and 26 renowned ski areas and resorts. The state's breathtaking scenic landscape boasts natural hot springs, the headwaters of seven major rivers, many peaceful lakes and reservoirs, 11 national parks and monuments and 58 mountain peaks that top 14,000 feet. For more information or a copy of the 2017 Colorado Official State Vacation Guide, visit http://www.colorado.com/ or call 1-800-COLORADO. For the Colorado Destination Development ROOTS Guide, visit http://www.colorado.com/roots

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Sarah-Jane Johnson

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