Editor’s Guide to the Best Local Gifts in Denver 2022

With the holidays approaching, gift-giving is in vogue. This love language is a great way to show those close to you that they are genuinely appreciated and cherished. Although picking and choosing the right gifts can be one of the most stressful realities of the season, we here at 303 Magazine recommend shopping locally. Not only does this practice support our favorite small businesses, but it also adds a unique touch to your gift. From local booze to vinyl to cozy wear, there’s something on this list for every loved one. 

Everything on our list is from a Colorado business and is under $200.

Plants & Plant Accessories

Cost: Varies

The Lowdown: Although winter is in full swing and outdoor plants are somewhat lacking, we have the power to bring nature indoors and make up for the absence of vegetation. Local plant shop Birdsall & Co. has everything you may need to nurse an indoor garden. Each option will make your place a little homier — from planters to watering pots to indoor fountains. Some of our favorites include its Quart Glass Watering Can ($64.95) — the perfect tool for just about any plant. Add a little color to your space with the Lilo Planter ($64.95) and give your seedling the room to grow. Visit their website to shop more or stop by the store on South Broadway. 

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Local Book Stores

Cost: circa $20

The Lowdown: Kick your Amazon habit and get the full bookshop experience this holiday season. Denver is home to many iconic locally-owned book stores including Kilgore Books & Comics, Capitol Hill Books and Tattered Cover. Kilgore and Capitol Hill Books have the added benefits of being used bookstores so any bookworm can shop without the weight of sustainability crowding their sugar-plum holiday dreaming. Kilgore as well as Mutiny Information Cafe are also great sources for discovering and supporting local authors and their works.

Sex Toys & Feminist Goodies

Cost: Varies; $2 – $200+

The Lowdown: With cuffing season in full swing, you might be struggling for a gift for your new (or old — no judgment) partner. Fear not, dear friend, Denver business owners have you covered. Awakening Boutique on South Broadway is a woman-owned, feminist-centric sex and wellness shop that caters to more than just your physical needs. Each item is curated with trust, respect and, yes, orgasms in mind. Feeling like you’re all stocked up on toys under the Christmas tree? No bother. Awakening also offers literature, handmade lingerie, art, select apparel and home goods that without fail contain cute, kitschy twists. Stop in in-person or shop online.

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Local Treats

Cost: Chocolove Packages $7.99 – $10; Cioccolatier Chocolate $26.50 – $88

The Lowdown: Treat your loved ones this season — literally. This year the spotlight shines on chocolate, one of the most beloved sweets of the holiday season. Colorado is home to many innovative chocolatiers that mix with quality in mind and choose ingredients with a purpose. We are already stuffing our faces with their hand-made goodies and recommend you do the same. Found at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Chocolove is an affordable way to feast on luxury chocolate. Its various list of sweets includes bites, bars, gift boxes and even a no-sugar-added selection — perfect for those looking to gorge without guilt. Created with Brazilian expertise, Cioccolatier brings that traditional and delicious cocoa taste to Cherry Creek North. Chocolates are sold by the box and its assorted options are undeniably tempting. Choose from flavors like Italian toffee, cherry champagne, marzipan and other unique combinations. Play Santa and stuff your loved one’s stockings with these goodies or secretly keep them to yourself. Whatever you choose, these options will surely make the holidays just a little sweeter.

Local Booze

Cost: Deviation Distilling’s Zin Finished Bourbon $55; Boulder Spirits Package $10 – $32

The Lowdown: No holiday party is complete without booze — and good booze at that. Impress your loved ones this year with carefully selected local libations that can easily take anyone’s bartending skills to a new level. Our bourbon of choice combines two local creators, Deviation Distilling and Blanchard Family Wines. Deviation’s Zin Finished Bourbon ($55) envelops notes of candied citrus, confectioners’ sugar and apple pie — perfect for the holiday season. This collaboration is exclusively sold at the Deviation Distilling tasting room at Dairy Block. Boulder Spirits is also stepping up its gifting game with many options for the whiskey lover in your life. Its Adventure Kit ($32) is a whiskey tasting in a box. With six 50ml bottles of your favorites, there’s little to no need to visit a bar to grab a sampler (though we wouldn’t stop you). Its flavored bitters and cocktail syrups also add that festive taste to any cocktail. Say “cheers” with a Boulder Spirits Glencairn Glass ($12) — an aesthetically pleasing and gorgeous complement to top off 2022.

Beer Collabs

Cost: $8 – $16

The Lowdown: Craft beer is one of Denver’s many highlights and there’s no better time to try something new than the holidays. Collaborations are a great way to experiment and discover what your tastebuds love. Brought to Denverites by Our Mutual Friend Brewing Company and Color Drop Coffee, this toasty collab has something for both coffee and beer lovers. Boundary Beyond ($8) is a 13.5 ABV imperial coffee stout brewed with a genius combination of Color Drop Coffee and Troubadour Malt. Sip and enjoy its distinct flavors of espresso, dark chocolate and caramel. This beer is available on draft and canned at OMF. The coffee version ($15.95) of Boundry Beyond is Color Drop’s darkest roast yet. With a similar flavor profile, these beans are irresistible to most. This limited release is available at OMF or on Color Drop’s website. Another one of our local favorites — WeldWerks — introduced the combination of ice cream and beer. The Little Man Salted Oreo Medianoche ($30) celebrates the reputation of Denver’s most beloved ice cream spot. Finished with Oreos, sea salt and Madagascan vanilla beans, this one is a must-taste. Order this beer via its Eventbrite link (limit of two per person) or pick one up at WeldWerks.

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Vinyl Memberships

Cost: from $119

The Lowdown: Digging through piles and piles of records at a store can seem like a drag for anyone but the totally music-obsessed (aka the entire 303 Magazine music desk). But the days of requiring friends and family to do just that for you have long since passed. The music nerds over at Vinyl Me, Please took the guesswork out of record digging. On top of Vinyl Me, Please’s ever-growing catalog of vinyl, the company also offers 3-, 6- and 12-month gift memberships with four categories to choose from: Essentials (a mix of old/new that spans genres), Classics (jazz, blues and soul), Hip-Hop and Country. Whether one vinyl or a year’s worth, your music lover will be satiated. Only available online.

Local Music-Centric Book

Cost: $19.95 paperback

The Lowdown: Local author GoGo Germaine recently released a book titled Glory Guitars: Memoir of a ’90s Teenage Punk Rock Grrrl that centers on the Fort Collins underground punk scene. Though the heart of this nonfiction account hinges on music, any history buff or Colorado fanatic is sure to have their interest piqued by the tales of chaos, calamity and emotion from young punks. Pick up a copy at Mutiny Info Cafe or have one delivered via all major book outlets.

Musician’s Accessories

Cost: $10-$200

The Lowdown: Being a musician requires a lot of overhead — got the guitar? Now an amp, a cable and effect pedals are needed. Writing music? A notebook, a metronome and maybe a book on music theory. Don’t even get us started on drums. Help out the lovable-but-potentially-strapped-for-cash musician by chatting with some of our local connoisseurs of the craft. Flipside Music, Colfax Guitar Shop or Drum City Guitarland are all great local options. Most options are available in-store or online as well.

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Cozy Comfortwear

Cost: $16 – $75

The Lowdown: A Colorado winter isn’t complete without a cozy sweatshirt or beanie to brave the dipping temperatures. Denver-based apparel and lifestyle brand Be A Good Person offers a variety of championed streetwear silhouettes and styles. Make comfort fashionable this holiday season and shop locally at Be A Good Person. With options between theColor Spectrum Box Hoodie ($75), Signature Kids Tee ($30), Color Spectrum Striped Socks ($16) and Reversible Patch Beanie ($30), there is a gift to be found for everyone. With a focus on quality materials and sustainable practices, Be A Good Person has always used fashion as a medium for a bigger message. Use code “303Magazine” at checkout for 20% off your order.

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Permanent Jewelry

Cost: $75 – $135

The Lowdown: Want to ensure your gift withstands the test of time this holiday season? Give the gift of a special memory with LINK x LOU. Choose from a variety of 14k solid gold chains — Small Link ($75), Classic Link ($115), Large Link ($135) — to be custom fit to your body, then welded together to create a clasp-free, forever piece of jewelry. The perfect addition to any personal style, the LINK x LOU experience can be gifted as a surprise, in-person appointment, gift card or by way of a private party. Whether shopping small, local, sustainably or female-owned, it is bound to check at least one of your boxes. Take a loved one, friend or just yourself, and go get linked.

All photography by Roxanna Carrasco

Updated 12/12 to add photo gallery of LINK x LOU products.