Treat the ones you love with special care and extra love this season. We’re in the middle of a realignment of the schemas we’ve come to live by. The world is not as it once was, even while so much continues. We wanted to look deeper than toys and trivialities to find ways of giving that can enhance life, make it a bit gentler, more empathic, and more hopeful.
Even as we give, we receive. We often receive from loved ones, but also from ourselves. These are ways we found to give and receive from the world around us, from family and friends, and from our own hearts to ensure our lives are filled, our hearts are bursting, and our homes are helped. We want to be open to all the gifts the universe has for us. Enjoy.
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Virtual Cooking Party
More than ever it’s important for families, coworkers and groups of friends to get creative with distanced our safe, socially distanced celebrations. Thanksgiving has passed and Christmas and New Years come, let’s get smart. To get through the holiday season, Cook Street is offering a Virtual Private Event option for groups to participate in a virtual cooking class from the comfort (and safety) of your homes.
Participants will learn new recipes and techniques via a private Zoom lesson with an instructor devoted exclusively to your group, so no timeouts waiting for the teacher to come back from another chat. For a team-bonding activity, groups can challenge each other to a Mystery Box Culinary Competition; time to show the in-laws who’s boss. Cook Street will provide the instruction and ingredients, and teams will deliver their individual creativity.
Those in the Denver and Front Range area have the option to pick up ingredient kits, and those farther away will be provided a grocery list to do their own shopping. Community cooking is the one of the most loving ways to show you love each other.
Up to $140 per person
Pop a Waffle
Neige is the owner of Punch Buggy Shave Ice on Main Street in Louisville, Colorado. We chatted with her before, when they first opened, and we still love them. They – like all of us – are navigating through the incredibly strange era of COVID and preparing to open a brand new winter pop-up (make sure to check out Zoey Whitman’s story on Miracle on Main Street, Foodie Nov. 2020), while nailing the safety standards necessary to keep you safe.
They are planning a waffle pop launch with a soft opening from December 10th – 20th, 2020, and a scheduled full reopening January 7th – March 14th, 2021. If you’re wondering what a waffle pop is, we got you covered. It’s a waffle on a stick, as you may have guessed, but these ones are drizzled with your choice of delicious toppings. They have curated options like s’mores, churro, birthday cake and an option to build your own waffle pop. Oh yeah.
The fact is, food is for family, and giving someone the gift of stuffing their face (in a safe way), is always a great idea. Drizzle me, baby. Drizzle me.
Punch Buggy has eGift cards available on their website and physical gift cards in their shop. And any Punch Buggy Shave Ice cards that have a balance can be used at Punch Buggy Waffle Pop.
$4-5 on average
A Gift of Knowledge
In Iceland they call it a book flood, or Jólabókaflóð in the original Icelandic. Iceland publishes the most books on earth, per capita, and Christmas Eve is spent unwrapping new books and reading with loved ones. We love this idea. So here are a few books we absolutely loved this year. Always give the gift of knowledge.
100 Women in Jewelry. Linda Kozloff-Turner is the author and Hardy Klahold is the photographer for a book and exhibition entitled ‘100 Women of Jewelry’. The “book is an homage to each individual woman, and focuses on her unique story of what she encountered walking the path to her success as a designer, an artist, and a craftsperson.” – womenofjewelry.com
The Anatomy of Fake News. Author Nolan Higdon “offers the first historical examination of fake news that takes as its goal the effective teaching of critical news literacy in the United States. Higdon employs a critical-historical media ecosystems approach to identify the producers, themes, purposes, and influences of fake news.” We love the idea of learning to read news critically. –bit.ly/AnatomyOfFakeNews
Revolution and Renaissance: 1965-1975. Daniel Forbes Hauser writes that, “This is NOT a political rant from the Left or the Right. Rather, it is a compelling and entertaining look at the era of ‘sex, drugs, and rock & roll’ from 1965 to 1975, which was the steepest bell-curve of cultural upheaval in our nation’s history. The book’s year-by-year reflection includes shocking new details of historic events” and all from the seat of Boulder. –revolutionandrenaissance.com
Lastly, did you know reading comic books increases literacy and it’s fun as heck? Go check out our friends at TimeWarp comics and plug into fantastic worlds, universal themes, and incredible reading skills. Keep the kids entertained and keep those brains growing.
Arts Hub – one of many amazing arts organizations throughout Boulder County – has a variety of offerings you can make use of. In person, virtual, and art to go are all available. Treat yourself or your loved ones. You can do drop-in aerial dance classes with Tel ($65) or a pack of 5 private classes ($315), to get physical and creative while keeping safe.
If you want classic, do Gene’s tap dance classes (4 for $52 or 8 for $96). Gene’s Tap classes can be in a class, or virtual, which makes it safe for anyone, any skill level, any place. You can gift dance to loved ones around the world.
Lastly, they have a cornucopia of “art camp kits” so you can create at home. From the “totally texture” to the “fanciful fairy” kit and from “sky’s the limit” to the “day at the beach” kits, you’re ready for any type of art project. These take from 1-3 hours, depending on the kit. They also have kits for ages 6-10 and 10+, should you want to set your young art aficionados to the canvas while you relax.
One suggestion we love is to write up the memories you have that inspired the art, the reason for gifting art, and dreams of future memories you want to have with those persons you gifted. Art, like memories, can last a lifetime.
Here’s an idea: don’t really buy anything, except some craft supplies, and make something as a family. A DIY advent calendar with lovely notes and ethically sourced [locally made] chocolates may be just the ticket; we support Chocolaterie Stam. I have a friend that did one that was a self-care/mindfulness advent calendar that included things like “turn off your phone for two hours today and soak in peace and quiet” and “do the thing in your house you’ve been procrastinating on” and “take an extra long shower today and celebrate the feeling of being alive and in your body.”
A favorite of ours is homemade gift cards. Since it’s christmas, we suggest New Years cards. Did you know that people love to receive a card to start their new year, to remind them that they just survived a year and the next one will undoubtedly be the best ever? Of course we don’t know that. No one really sends those cards. We think your loved ones will love them, and your family will love making them for the closest neighbors and distant family and friends who you miss.
You can google DIY advent calendar for any number of ideas. There are thousands available. And cards, well that’s easy: glitter, markers, and a few folds…an address, an envelope, and a stamp. Enjoy.
Subscribe and Support
Let’s consider subscribing to and supporting local news; bonus if it’s a small local news source like Yellow Scene. As the world continues to deteriorate around us, and politicians deride facts, and corporations gobble up our newspapers (yes, Denver Post, Daily Camera, etc are all corporate owned), it’s important to support local. We love Boulder Weekly, too. Donate in honor of the newsie in your house, subscribe, or consider encouraging your fact friendly family to write in. We love letters to the editor, op-eds, and community notes. It’s your world. We’re just covering it.
Also in this area of gifting, for yourself or a loved one, are subscriptions to a Patreon that someone likes. Supporting small creators is always great and we love watching small projects get big, local names become international, and fun ideas become reality.
With all the recent hoopla around drive throughs, we started thinking about driving in general. We’re spending more time alone, or with our pod groups, and, while the world shuts down, driving is still a Colorado love. Our cars, trucks, and bikes take us all over the country, the countryside, the mountains, and the plains where we love to play. We love to play hard, and we love to play fast. So, whether going for a mountain cruise on your bike, going overlanding, or hitting some slick slopes and in need of the skills to get up and down safe, we got you covered with driving training by Go 4 It Services.
They offer a ton of training programs to get you behind the wheel ready. As a former professional driver, who grew up doing mountain trips in a big rig with my dad, who’s gone cross country from Anchorage to Cancun, MX, and from LA, CA to Key West, FL, I can tell you that the average American driver thinks turning a wheel and pushing pedals = driving. It does not.
Hit this team up for Truck and Trailer training, SuperSafety Street and Track courses, and Road Racing lessons. You can rent their vehicles or bring your own (pro-tip: it’s always best to learn high level skills in the vehicle you’ll be driving).
Christmas Lights Trip
The annual drive-thru “Christmas in Color” light display is about ready to welcome starry eyed kids and other holiday magic enthusiasts at multiple locations in the Denver area. Opening at both Water World (Federal Heights) and Bandimere Speedway (Morrison, CO) on November 20, this experience features a mile-long drive-thru light display consisting of more than one million synchronized lights.
Tickets for the event can be purchased on the company’s website, which is below. One $30 ticket is required per vehicle, which is about $5 per head if you’re bringing a COVID safe friend group or family members at your holiday party.
A holiday favorite, investing in some light (no pun intended) holiday travel, with the intention of being wowed by the displays, watching the kids eyes light up (again, no pun intended), and feeling that cozy heartfelt warmth of the season as classic holiday tunes bump from the stereo, is a must do.
Operating hours are Sunday to Thursday from 5:30 to 10:00 p.m. and 5:30-10:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The last day of operation is on January 3. The event is closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas night.
$30 per car
For the Love of Film
Boulder International Film Festival is a yearly delight, showcasing dozens of amazing films from around the world, curated for our local palate. The next BIFF is in June 2021 but, you’ll be glad to know, you can buy early bird passes and gift packs now!
If you know someone who’s an absolute film lover, and who would love to have guaranteed early entrance to most BIFF film programs, parties, and events, the Early Bird Pass is for you. Priced at $395, it includes a ton of access, including a private filmmakers reception. Cue the autographs.
BIFF gift packs are available in denominations of $30 (2 films), $60 (4 films), $90 (6 films). The Early Bird Festival Pass can also be gifted upon purchase, making it an amazing gift for the cinephile in your home or for yourself. I personally love to get out and watch films. Festivals make for a great full day of viewing new work.
Importantly, we love that BIFF is planning for the future, even while the future seems so uncertain. They are, however, also ready for restrictions, stating, “BIFF will offer refunds if the festival is cancelled due to public health or other reasons.”
Butterflies: mystical, magical little reminders that evolution is good, that change is beautiful, that we can go from crawling to soaring in the heavens. Lucky for us, we’re living a few miles from one of the great zoos on earth. “Butterfly Pavilion,” their website reads, “is the first stand-alone, Association of Zoos and Aquariums-accredited non-profit invertebrate zoo in the world and a leader in invertebrate knowledge, inspiration and connection.”
With a mission to “foster an appreciation of invertebrates by educating the public about the need to protect and care for threatened habitats globally, while conducting research for solutions in invertebrate conservation,” the pavilion is a brilliant gift for animal lovers of any age. It’s also a wonderful date locale, or even a place for silent contemplation and relaxation.
Get a membership or two and enjoy your experience. They have events, exhibits, and even a plant sale. Lift your spirits watching butterflies take flight.
Priced by age, free for members
A bit of Style
At first, when it all began, we ran out for N95 medical grade masks. And then we started using more relaxed cloth masks, which are cool, softer, and slightly more fashionable. That whole situation stepped up and now we have fashion masks and matching accessories.
Get yourself (and maybe your partner, cause who doesn’t love matching partners) some face masks and socks that coordinate so you can look fly while staying safe. Bonus for small artists making the stuff.
We actually wrote about mask fashion back in July (see: The Fashionable Face: Masking Up). We also have friends, like perennial activist Brian Loma, of CO Masker Aid, who are offering cool masks and other accessories, “Made in Colorado by community activists.” Missy Caldwell, of MissfitMissy, told us that she had, “made masks in specific colors to match outfits with two-tone, rainbow, reversible and even McDonald’s colors to match workers’ uniforms. Then she started getting more creative by adding fabric flowers, charms, and nice trim, as well as creating matching accessories like headbands.”
We recommend reaching out to Masker Aid, or any of the names in the article mentioned above, to get some fashion masks to match your various styles. As we were told, “masks aren’t going anywhere.”
Of Warmth and Calm
I’m not really a tea person. I prefer coffee. I did. It seems I’m making a hot pot of mullein tea every day now, with a spoon of organic cherry cobbler cbd infused honey, (and sometimes a splash of whiskey, but that’s between us). The Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse, if you didn’t know – because I didn’t know – doesn’t just offer socially distant tea in their gorgeous tea house, or on their patio. They also have tea pots, tea sets, and teas to go, among other things.
You can celebrate your love for someone (including yourself) with an Afternoon Tea Gift Certificate, some loose leaf tea, tea sachets, or logo laden Dushanbe items. We recommend the Chatsford Teahouse Logo Teapot ($27.95), because we love authentic, yet updated, kitchen supplies and we are newly in love with making tea.
Make sure to dress warm if you pop out for a tea on site, but don’t worry too much. The tea is piping hot and you’ll be filled with warmth and calm in no time.
The Snow White Package
If you want to help an animal you love, one of the most supportive and beautiful gifts you can give an animal lover is to make a contribution toward the care of that animal. Contributions support necessary caging, specialized diets, and medications. What do you get, besides the very cool ability to point at a wild animal and tell your friends you sponsor it? You will receive a personalized certificate with your sponsored animal’s name and photo as well as the story of how your animal came to be at Greenwood.
From songbirds like Robins, Jays, and Woodpeckers ($40) to waterfowl like ducks and geese ($80) and all the way to medium-sized mammals like foxes and coyotes ($150) you can pick an animal that speaks to the Snow White in you. Your animal lovers will whistle while they watch their sponsor play. And you get to give – or get – the gift of animal conservation and philanthropy.
Of course, make sure to pop in and have a look around, inquire about animals that need sponsorship, or just enjoy the events they host, from Hang Out and Dine Out for Wildlife, to their virtual offerings.
You can download sponsorship forms from the website, fill ’em out, and send ‘em back.
Give the gift of a warm welcome as you and loved ones welcome award-winning Denver Center Theatre Company veterans Jamie Horton, Candy Brown and Gabriella Cavallero to Stories on Stage for this very special holiday show. Music is provided by award-winning composer/pianist David Nehls.
Audience members, we’re told, were asked to submit favorite and fondly remembered stories from past seasons to make up this years’ Greatest Hits version of Making Merry, celebrating the company’s 20th Anniversary. Stories include A Christmas Memory, A Fruitcake Recipe and Who Can Retell, a Hanukkah story.
The Stories on Stage group has teamed up with Nomad Playhouse and Earth Coast Productions to create shows that will be professional multi-camera productions with the actors performing from the stage, direct to you. Some of their performances have been in-person and virtual. This one is only virtual.
They will present renowned local actors performing dynamic and entertaining short stories, beamed right into the comfort of your living room. There you are, cuddling on a couch, cocoa cups in hand, enjoying the loveliness of stagecraft with your family. Making Merry – Greatest Hits will be presented on Sunday, December 13 @1:30pm (early enough for the kids) as a virtual live-streaming performance. This is a
$15 / person
Colorado Gives Day
It’s a time-honored tradition, something we’ve done for years here in Colorado and something we love to do. One thing Colorado is good at is taking care of its own. And with that, we remind you that Colorado Gives Day is December 8th. It’s a wonderful day to dig into your past year and see which art organizations, community groups, nonprofits, animal conservation outfits, and other institutions have touched your life, so you can give back.
One organization we love is A Precious Child. This is an organization that does incredible work supporting our needier families and the young people that constitute them. Regardless of the obstacles they face—and this year has thrown us the most significant challenges yet—they hold fast to empowering children.
With community’s support they’ve accomplished a lot this year, including providing over 21,000 backpacks for the school year and supplying over 85,000 diapers throughout the pandemic.
They need the support of our community more than ever before. As do many organizations. Head to the website, look up the organization you want to support, and make a donation. Consider hitting that submit button with family in attendance, and have a conversation about why it matters.
A Nut to Crack
We love the Nutcracker. No really, we go yearly to see the Colorado Ballet performance. I even wrote an article supporting the #GoFundTheMagic campaign to buy new costumes for the Denver ballet, whose costumes are 25 years old and originally purchased from the San Francisco Ballet.
This year, all the ballets are closed…to in person performances. I’m happy to report that the Colorado Ballet is performing their annual Nutcracker on Rocky Mountain PBS, premiering on Thanksgiving and running through Christmas Day
“The magical spirit of the season comes to life in this acclaimed production and beloved holiday favorite that sells out every year. Tune in to view this special presentation of Colorado Ballet’s The Nutcracker on Rocky Mountain PBS. Join Clara and her army of toy soldiers as they battle the Mouse King and journey to the legendary land of Sweets.
Colorado Ballet’s The Nutcracker premieres on Rocky Mountain PBS on Thanksgiving at 7pm.
The Colorado Ballet is also facing a loss of ticket revenue. With the spirit of holiday giving in mind, we ask Colorado Ballet’s patrons and the general arts-loving public to consider a contribution to their Relief & Recovery Fund.
Show dates are Nov. 26 & 27, Dec. 18 & 19, and Dec. 24 & 25.
A Time to Travel
If you follow us regularly, you know we love to pack up and head into the wild. We feel very fortunate to be able to do that, and we feel very Colorado as we navigate snowy roads and steep inclines to find magic in the mountains. Give the gift of a getaway. It’s time to pack up the fam and head west, or north, or any direction really. They’re all good.
For a quick hit list of our favorite spots the last couple of years, head to Yellow Scene for the Summer Travel: The Art of Staycation, where we reviewed St. Julien Hotel & Spa, right here in Boulder, The ART, a hotel, in Denver with views of the museum district and world class dining on the 5th floor. We also stayed at the Stanley Hotel, which made headlines feeding firefighters during the Estes Park blaze recently. Great Wolf Lodge, which is a virtual wonderland, and just a few hours south past Denver. And Grand Lake Lodge, one of the greatest stays we’ve ever had, where you can get a private bungalow and lounge on the patio with drinks looking over Grand Lake itself.
In our Winter Travel Loop(Feb. 2020) article we were able to check out Hotel Colorado, in Glenwood Springs, which has amazing hot springs and adventures (still open), before moving on to Ouray – my favorite town in Colorado – where we stayed at Box Canyon Lodge and Hot Springs and hung out in natural springs as a wild fox chilled in the moonlight with us. Finally, in Crested Butte, we stayed at the illustrious Elk Mountain Lodge(pictured), which is a phenomenal place, especially in the winter. It is, as they say, the last great snow town in Colorado.
Back in 2018 I stayed at WeeCasa Tiny House Resort in Lyons. That was awesome as well. Cozy, quiet, along a river, and so inviting. Your kids will love the Hobbit House. Go travel. You never regret travel.
Engage in Miracles
Bittersweet Cafe is hosting an epic new holiday popup in the alleyway behind their location. I won’t belabor the point, since Zoey Whitman wrote about it for Foodie, but in a world that continuously tries to keep us home, it’s nice that local brilliance shines through. This local restaurant is creating a series of safe, socially distant, regularly disinfected private bubbles for holiday shenanigans.
Yes, it’s mostly 21+, but there are also Gingerbread parties for the little elves (you can bring your own or RSVP for a pod, so you can bring those neighbor kids that are regulars at your place).
“Get those Bad Santa hats and oversized Elf outfits ready, their themed-nights are guaranteed to banish Scrooge and get you in a Yippee Ki Yay mood. Check out [their] calendar of events including Ugly Sweater & Holiday Movie Theme Nights and the best New Years Eve Party around!”
Outdoor Walk-ups available daily but reservations are, of course, suggested; especially if you want access to any of the coolest spaces available. All ages welcome.
CBD Me Please
Or you can, you know, hemp me. Or mari me. See what I did there? Mari…juana? I kill myself.
Ok, but seriously. We live in a world of rampant pollution and trash piles. Hemp is easy to grow and literally replaces every product we make from plastic. We’re in. We can save the world – slowly – if we switch to hemp. Along the way we can enjoy the health benefits of CBD and Marijuana.
We’re in love with our friends at One Planet Hemp, who have all the offerings you could imagine, from strains and vapes to gear and accessories.
The good folks at Starbuds remind us that, “gifting edibles has emerged as an especially popular option for a cozy holiday season. Many people enjoy putting the edibles in the stockings, and you can also have fun by burying the edibles beneath a pile of relatively boring items so your loved one has to dig through the entire stocking before seeing the edibles at the bottom.”
At Elements Boulder you can get all this same amazing stuff, from a woman owned shop, that sources everything from local vendors. Well damn…I’m about to be high and happy.
The only non-local product we’re featuring, because there aren’t many local retailers that make these, are Pluggerz Uni-Fit earplugs. Rated at 27 decibels (gun ranges recommend 28-33 decibels for an indoor range) these are guaranteed to help with your good night’s sleep. If you or your partner is a heroic snorer, odds are one of you needs a good night’s sleep and you’re too embarrassed to address it. Treat yo’ dreams right. These earplugs provide a relief to get a good night’s rest and are also a perfect stocking stuffer to make sure it’s not just sweet treats when you dump that stocking out.
These plugs are dome shaped high-quality earplugs with triple flanges made of hypoallergenic soft silicone material. The dome shape with triple-flanges extends farther into the ear canal. The shape and material make the earplugs reusable and comfortable to wear for long periods. The filter allows communication and prevents sound distortion.They also come with special filters to attenuate ambient noise without blocking out important sounds like alarms or crying babies. They make your sleeping environment more peaceful and allow you to relax more.
14.99+ at your local CVS locations