Sometimes (a lot of times) gift shopping is stressful. Finding the perfect item for someone you care about requires time, effort and money that most of us don’t have. That’s where savvy guides, like the one you’ll find below, come in. Our editors are experts in everything cool and new in Denver so we thought we’d pass some of that know-how on to you. Read on and you’ll find our favorites items under $150 you can buy in-store or online, all from Colorado shops and producers, in the hopes the holidays will be a little more stress-free.
Want more recommendations? Check out our 2016 guide here.
Food + Booze
Chef’s Knife from Carbon Knife Co
Stillwater Cannabis-Infused Tea (21+)
Colorado Craft Beers (21+)
Cost: Under $30
The Lowdown: For this holiday season there are a lot of great gifts for the beer lover in your life – even if you are unsure of their favorite style or brewery. This year, New Belgium Brewing Company has brought back the Imperial Frambozen. This edition is not just decadent in its raspberry flavor but New Belgium has added 70 percent pure dark Ghana cocoa husks. Imagine biting into a dark chocolate candy and having the raspberry explode on your tongue (find beer here). If you are looking for beers that will keep friends and family warm during the winter – look no further than the Pack of Yetis from Great Divide Brewing Company. This mix pack will feature any combination of Espresso Oak Aged Yeti, Chai Yeti, Oatmeal Yeti, Oak Aged Yeti and the original Yeti Imperial Stout. Each pack will come with three different Yetis and carabiner Yeti mug (available in the tap room). For the beer lover who tends to linger on the sour side you can’t go wrong with any of the offerings from Avery Brewing Company’s Barrels and Botanicals Series. The Raspberry Sour, Apricot Sour, Ginger Sour or the Tangerine Quad is perfect for any get together – particularly one involving a nice cheese plate. If you are worried about picking the wrong beer then we even have a solution for you – Craft Alley. Give a gift card to Craft Alley – Denver’s only liquor store dedicated to crowlers so your favorite beer lover can pick their favorite brews onsite or select to have it delivered in the greater Denver area.
Colorado Craft Coffee
Cost: Under $30
The Lowdown: Colorado may get a ton of national hype for its amazing craft beer scene (and don’t get us wrong, we love it) but there’s plenty to be said about our coffee, too. If you have a friend, parent or loved-one that is a #decafordeath kind of person, you may want to go with Corvus coffee subscription. Starting at $16 a month, you can have Corvus’ specialty coffees sent straight to their door. This includes everything from single origins to espresso, and even some reserve and/or small lots from producers the shop already works with. If someone wants more of an introduction and less of a commitment, Sweet Bloom‘s hometown blend is a bag almost any coffee drinker will love (you can get it online or at Crema Coffeehouse). For those who refuse to give up cold brew even in the colder months, check out another local brand Good Trip. This company specializes in incredible cold brews that go beyond your traditional iced coffees. Try the Mint-Melt Away ($17-25) away which uses Nicaraguan coffee mixed with raw peppermint leaf, Yerba mate, cacao and vanilla bean.
EatDenver Dining Deck
The Hiker’s Pint from XIV Sierra
Denver + Mountain Passport
The Lowdown: We’ve been fans of the Denver Passport from the get-go, but this year the team behind the savvy buy-one-get-one drink booklet is upping the ante with a Mountain Passport that gives you access to the best bars and restaurants near your favorite ski resorts. The book is great for a friend that is a social butterfly and could use the discounts, or someone who needs a nudge to get out of the house more. The Denver book has 40 options so it’ll be easy to make it worth your while before the deals expire in March.
Cured Colorado Gift Box
The Lowdown: If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of a summer sausage and cheese gift basket (you know the ones you saw at the mall growing up), you probably know how lackluster these can be. Cured, a Boulder artisan shop, is fixing that by putting together a Colorado-only gift box filled with extremely tasty goods. Inside you’ll find some of the best products Colorado has to offer like the paper-thin (and addicting) 34 Degree Crackers, savory Elevations black pepper salami, Bjorn’s raw Colorado honey, Cultura chocolate bar, James Ranch 100 percent grass-fed aged Belford cheese and more. It even comes with some local Sriracha made with Pueblo chiles from Pueblo, Colorado. The box was promoted by the Colorado Tourism Office so you know it’s repping the best.
Fashion + Beauty
Cost: Under $100
The Lowdown: There’s a misconception when it comes to giving jewelry as a gift— that it’s pricey and has to bear some huge sentimental significance. While all gifts should be heartfelt, you don’t have to get down on one knee or mortgage your house to give something spectacular. There are tons of great jewelry producers in Colorado that make incredible pieces at affordable prices. A good place to start is with turquoise, which is plentiful in our western state. We love Salt Fox Designs or Native Clutter. Salt Fox, an Etsy favorite, mixes vibrant turquoise with botanical designs and organic materials like bone whereas Native Clutter is a bit more minimal in design but big on statement. For Salt Fox, go with the sterling succulent stackables — (say that five times fast) — ($70) or the Royston Turquoise and Silver Succulent ring ($90). With Native Clutter, the parallax ($62) with brass and turquoise is a stunning statement necklace worth showing off. If turquoise isn’t what you’re looking for but you still want something durable and adorable look at Harper Made. Specializing in incredible geode jewelry, your gift will have the impression and the permanence of a more precious stone without the cost. We love the Mountain Necklace ($36) made with amethyst cut in the shape of the Rockies.
Cost: Under $150
The Lowdown: While Denver may not be New York or LA when it comes to designers, the Mile High City still has a ton of talent. Trending this year is statement clothing with several new brands popping up just in 2017. One of the OG local lines, Be A Good Person, is a 303 favorite. At first, it started off just with a simple t-shirt and a straightforward message but over the years the brand has gone on to expand to hoodies, hats and athletic gear. Aside from its positive attitude, the brand is loved by celebrities and locals alike. If you like this low-key vibe the Moore Collection is another company with a message that resonates. Also located in RiNo, you can find Colorado-centric clothing without feeling like you’re wrapped in a flag. The “Take Me to The Trees” shirt pretty much says it all. If the person you’re shopping for is stylish with a capital S then there are some great statement pieces from local designers worth buying. Jeremy Willard is one not to miss. His loud pieces that exude the ’80s and the future all at the same time are also made from upcycled goods. This incredible denim jacket ($150) uses thrifted zippers and buttons to adorn the hand-painted designs. The jacket even has a zipper on the back so you can combine this jacket with his other creations like this reptile sport coat ($110) to make something altogether new. If you need a few more options, check out our guide to 70+ boutiques you should know about for endless shopping options.
Colorado Care and Beauty
Cost: Under $50
The Lowdown: A gift of self-care is always a good idea, especially when it’s so easy to forget to give yourself a little me time. Denver has a plethora of locally made goods that will make this possible at home. For the men in your life, True Grit is an inspirational brand that came about after a near-death experience. The owner, who was in a coma for two months from an infection, was inspired to make a men’s grooming line that is focused on being hygienic and safe. The brand even has is own FDA approved lab in Park Hill where all the ingredients undergo rigorous testing. If you’re looking for a great unisex line, Spinster Sisters specializes in both men and women’s products. Started as a “microsoapery” the Golden, Colorado shop now has everything from moisturizers to deodorant. We recommend getting one of the gift sets for a little bit of everything. For those looking for something a bit more feminine, Base Coat salon is a “girl’s day” dream. The motto #TreatYoSelf really comes to life in their gorgeous nail salons. Also, the shop specializes in non-toxic manicures and pedicures using vegan-friendly polishes and plant-based preservatives without petrochemicals, parabens, sulfates or any other harmful chemicals. You can either treat your person to a gift card in the salon or get a gift basket of their best non-toxic items to go.
Lifestyle + Culture
DAM Gift Shop
MCA Gift Shop
Under $100 Art Show at 40 West Arts in Lakewood
Gift Certificate to Meininger Art Supply
Art Vending Machine at Understudy
2018 Red Rocks Tickets
The Lowdown: These days it seems like the Red Rocks season never ends. Currently, there are tickets on sale for 10 2018 Red Rocks shows, which means 10 great gift ideas for that music lover in your life. The lineup, so far, includes Avett Brothers, 311, Niall Horan, Brandi Carlile, Khalid and more. If you’re looking for a holiday gift that requires a bit less time between the gifting and the payoff, the Red Rocks New Years Eve show or annual Winter on the Rocks in January are always good options. Head here to check out the full 2018 Red Rocks lineup and decide on the perfect show to gift this holiday season.
Local Venue Merchandise
The Lowdown: Repping local merchandise never gets old. Featured are two glass mugs and a Lost Lake shirt. The local venues, Lost Lake, Larimer Lounge and Globe Hall are all managed by the same local team. The Hi-Dive bar and venue also has some of the funniest shirts you’ve seen in awhile — one of them says “Shit bar. Shit People. – Some Guy on Yelp.” They’re only $20 and you can buy them online, but you should really go get them in person (and have a drink while you’re there). These gifts are perfect for any Denver music fan, or even just to look cool at your apartment and impress your friends — that works, too.
New Nathaniel Rateliff & The Nightsweats Records
Website: Go here
The Lowdown: This year hometown heroes Nathaniel Rateliff and the Nightsweats released not one but two albums on vinyl. The first is his notable Live at Red Rocks which came out in August of this year and features 18 tracks. The album was recorded at one of the groups 2016 Red Rocks shows and includes a Sam Cooke cover performed with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Go here for more information on the live album. The second record that the Colorado group released this year was a bit more recent, coming out on this year’s Black Friday mini-Record Store Day. The 7″ features Christmas songs performed by Rateliff including “Santa Baby” and “Baby It’s Cold Outside.” Both albums are available at Twist & Shout on Colfax.
The Lowdown: This holiday season, give your loved one the gift of music — or rather, playing music. Whether you’ve only learned one chord on your cousin’s bass guitar or you just need a new crash for your drum set, Pete the LoDo Drum Guy can get you up and running on a sick new or refurbished instrument at a reasonable price. Better yet, you’re no longer supporting those consumeristic chains — Pete wants you to play well and be confident. What more could you ask for from Mr. and Mrs. Clause? This all-white drum set featured is a Ddrum Reflex drum set Sabian AAX DW WHITE/WHITE. For more styles, sets, rides and more, go to the Logo Drum Guy’s website or visit our article about other local music shops.
Website: Go here
The Lowdown: Support Denver music and your local record shop this holiday season by grabbing some Colorado vinyl. Twist & Shout is fully stocked with albums by Esme Patterson, Ian Cooke, Flobots, Natalie Tate, Instant Empire, Paa Kow, Strange Americans and more. Notably, they have Paper Bird’s self-titled final album produced by John Oates — a gift of great music and sentimentality in light of the band’s breakup. Be sure to explore local band’s website and Facebook as well for information on purchasing their music online, such as OKO TYGRA’s new 7″.
Local Music + Marijuana Pairings (21+)
Cost: Estimated $30-70
Website: Go here
The Lowdown: Marijuana and music — the combination goes together like peanut butter and jelly. We all have that stoner friend who loves music, so cater to their interests with this unique pairing of two of their favorite things to be enjoyed together. Local musicians such as GRiZ, Trev Rich and more all have their own marijuana strains here in Colorado. Go here for more information on how each strain pairs with the artist’s music.
Local Music + Beer Pairings (21+)
Cost: Estimated $25-50
Website: Go here
The Lowdown: Did you know there are (at least) eight Colorado musicians who have their own beer? GRiZ recently teamed up with Great Divide for a collaboration, The Motet and Crooked Stave have an IPA and a Wild Ale, Leftover Salmon has a not-as-fishy-as-you’d-think IPL — and that’s only some of the list. This holiday season, grab some vinyl or CD’s and pair them with the artist’s brew for a one-of-a-kind at-home listening experience. Go here to check out the full list.
All photography by Kyle Cooper, unless otherwise noted. Written by Alexandra Palmerton, Brittany Werges, Tyler Harvey, Emily McCarter and Cori Anderson.