(All photos by Zoe Jennings unless stated otherwise.)
’Tis the season for frantically buying your loved ones Amazon gifts. But what if your hard-earned money went back into the community and not toward a wealthy CEO’s second yacht? We’ve curated a shopping guide for the perfect holiday gifts from our favorite local brands. Our guide features gift ideas found on the shelves of locally owned shops in Boulder County or on the websites of local businesses. We hope you enjoy what the many makers of Colorado have to offer, but the real joy will be in purchasing a gift that you know will positively impact the community around you. From sustainability to LGBTQIA+ rights to bringing joy, each business in our guide has their own noble reasons for putting their craft out into the community. Each store owner had a wonderful story to share and was proud to point out their locally sourced merchandise.
Angie Star Jewelry was just one of many stops I made to local stores, with Cozmo the bird, Penny the dog, and Angie the human greeting me as I walked in. Angie Star Jewelry, nestled within the many shops on Pearl Street in Boulder, sells silver handmade jewelry made with ethically sourced materials. Both sturdy and beautiful, the jewelry is displayed alongside delightful decorations like sand dollars, sea shells, and wonderful brass display vessels. Angie has a welcoming energy and told me that she’s lucky that she and her mom, a retired nurse, are so close. Together they run the Pearl Street store and an additional store in Fort Collins. Angie is glad that her mom can work with her and slow down from her busy days as a nurse.
Made by hand in Longmont, these unique mugs and bowls from Longs Peak Ceramics are microwave and dishwasher safe. Longs Peak Ceramics is honest about the fact that their pieces are not flawless but are all one of a kind and not mass produced.
Grizzly Bear Mercantile adult and baby blankets can take tough love and are made with soft, minky fabric and attention to detail. Blankets come in various sizes, with premade options.
Beyond Nature CO is a small business based in Erie making upcycled birdbaths, bird feeders, and garden art out of locally thrifted materials. Every piece is one of a kind. Proudly female owned, they also create custom pieces.
Personal Care Products
Rooted with Ali is a women-owned business in Loveland creating conscious skincare products. Products are made with natural, organic, and wildcrafted ingredients and packaged sustainably. These products are safe for those with skin conditions, with therapeutic-grade essential oils and scents derived from wildcrafted herbs.
Soaps from Muddy Mint are handmade in Longmont using palm oil-free, all-natural ingredients.
Derived from ingredients grown on a Longmont farm, Colorado Aromatics skincare products are made to serve the skincare needs of people living in the Colorado climate. With antioxidant-rich herbs, these products help heal the damaging effects from the sun.
Headquartered in Fort Lupton, Bee-Och Organics is a woman-owned business specializing in small batch-crafted, cruelty-free, gluten-free, vegan products. There are zero-waste and refillable options for products at their main store.
Yarrow Field and Farm encourages a soft lifestyle with small batch, natural, botanical skincare products, crafts, and vintage finds.
With their main store in Longmont, Magic Fairy Candles has a fun, witchy vibe. Selling all-natural soy candles and body products, they sell small batch goods crafted with the intention of unifying love for the journey of every human experience.
These handmade candles are crafted in the Santa Fe District of Denver. Candelaria’s owner has worked in the candle industry for 15 years and shares that knowledge through educational experiences offered at their store.
Fleetwood Candle Co. of Denver is a relatively new business started by a former special education teacher who used art as an outlet when teaching went remote during the pandemic. The candles are bright, fun, and inspired by nature.
Spruced Hen Candle Co. draws inspiration from the owner’s Longmont farm. The hand-poured candles and melts are 100 percent soy wax, additive-free, phthalate-free fragrances, and have cotton wicks.
Inspired by a deep appreciation of cocktails and earthy scents, Light Provisions specializes in artisanal candles to set a peaceful tone in your house. Headquartered in Colorado Springs, the candles are hand poured into reusable vessels.
Inspired by the Colorado landscape, Moore is a family-owned business selling high-quality clothing with hand-drawn designs.
Topo Designs began in a Fort Collins basement and has grown into a well-known company creating well-made gear for outdoor adventures.
Food and Drinks
Backyard Bev Co offers a natural, handcrafted option for your cocktails. With Colorado-sourced, full-spectrum CBD, this mixer may actually help you feel refreshed the next day.
Based in Boulder, Conscious Coffees lives up to its name by paying above fair trade prices to support farmer cooperatives.
Out of Longmont, Fatworks is tackling the narrative that fat is bad for you. Made from pasture-raised, non-GMO animals without antibiotics or hormones, Fatworks’ cooking fats are designed to help create a healthy, balanced diet.
Headquartered in Denver, Yummy Lotus offers locally crafted vegan and gluten-free jams made with fresh ingredients in small batches.
Inspired by his mom’s traditional Guatemalan hot sauces, Green Belly Foods’ Juan Ignacio Stewart went from selling hot sauces from a tent at the local market to a larger-scale operation.
The founders of Traction Coffee Roasters thought up the idea for their coffee roasting company after a mountain bike ride. Their main goal is to make real, authentic coffee.
Noga, the name of the planet Venus in Hebrew, and partner, Kyle, created Venus Spice Co., a Boulder-based spice company specializing in the Middle Eastern flavors of Noga’s family’s recipes and traditions.
Bee Grateful Farm caramels are handcrafted at a natural vegetable farm in Steamboat Springs.
Stores selling local goods
Vintrey Honest Goods is inspired by travel and socially conscious consumerism. Through strategic partnership, they aim to abolish human trafficking and uplift oppressed people. The store sells consciously curated household, fashion, and jewelry options. They sell several Colorado brands.
Owned by best friends, Wolf & Wren Press combines the traditional art of letterpressing to meet your modern design and printing needs. A portion of their profits goes toward supporting organizations that are creating positive change for the environment.
Shop over 100 Colorado brands at Bricks Local Gift Shop for gifts, souvenirs, food, home goods, and more.
Local Goods Colorado sells all local merchandise and aims to build relationships with all makers while also promoting community with customers.
Working with local artists and international fair trade groups to bring unique pieces, Canova Home brings unique home, art, jewelry, and more to Pearl Street.
Fighting against the fast-moving cycle of fast fashion, Lula Faye Fiber offers handmade textiles that makers can use and then will be returned back to the earth. The store sells locally produced textiles.
Created in 1993, Two Hands Paperie is a family-owned business selling journals, paper, notebooks, books, cards, art supplies, decorations, and more. The store makes products in house and sells local brands.
Maker General is intended to be a “general store” for creatives and makers who work with textiles and fibers. They sell gifts and supplies and offer a variety of maker workshops and classes meant to encourage the creative spirit in the community.
Daniele Gold of Denver-based Mountainside Acrylics is an acrylic and graphic artist specializing in feminine, psychedelic, and traveling-inspired art. Selling prints, paintings, and custom designs, each piece combines abstract concepts with the beauty of nature.
Located in Winter Park, Uptripping reflects the global and adventurous lifestyle of its creators.
Specializing in oil, charcoal, watercolor chalkboard design, digital illustration, and murals, Grey Grimm sells art and is available for commissions.
Created by two friends hoping to bring joy to others, Geranium Studio Shop sells watercolor art inspired by Colorado landscapes.
Landscape paintings, both small and large, along with little printed notecards from Nisha Fine Art turn Colorado’s natural beauty into art, perfect for gift giving.
Buwalda Fine Art Studio in Erie sells greeting cards, prints, and Peter Buwalda’s super popular “Queen Bee” products, which can also be found in a few local boutique shops. He also sells his art online. He’s passionate about supporting Chautauqua Park and Calwood and recently received the highest bid for his birdhouse for their Art In the Park for Wildfire Protection and Recovery auction, with proceeds going to Chautauqua and Calwood fire mitigation efforts.
The Art Parts Creative Reuse Center in Boulder was founded to help reduce waste. Art Parts has helped keep over 188,000 pounds of creative materials out of landfills. With any art supplies you might need, you can make a local gift at a cheap price without adding more waste to the world.
Upcycling and repurposing is the motto at Papercuts Press, which makes fun gifts out of repurposed material.
Longmont artist Amanda Maldonado of Coy Ink Studio is not only passionate about community and accessibility to art but sells handcrafted pen, ink, and watercolor art.
Dedicated to connecting people to the land, High Country Wool dyes and handles the wool in a way that makes the wool light, airy, and full of life.
Nanci Hill Feeney’s roll-up caddies hold pencils, pens, and brushes in fun roll-up containers. For online orders, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Nanci doesn’t have a dedicated website, but can receive order requests through email.
Two Hands Paperie makes paper from recycled t-shirts for your stationery needs.
Cards and Stickers
Want a sweet card, a snarky card, or maybe both? Longmont-based, eco-friendly greeting card company has you covered. Sweet & Snarky Greetings creates the fun content and art on their cards.
Lady Fingers Letterpress is a queer, trans-owned and operated business selling stationery, cards, and gifts out of Colorado Springs. Award winning, Lady Fingers uses their platform to support and create cards promoting women’s, LGBTQIA+, BIPOC, and immigrant rights.
Wolf & Wren Press designs holiday cards in house at their Longmont shop.
Shop the many fun and colorful stickers made by Wolf & Wren Press in Longmont. The stickers are designed in the shop.
Holiday cards sold and made at Wolf & Wren Press in Longmont.
Inspired by Tibetan prayer flags, arubymoon makes gratitude and grief flags, cards, and prints with the intention to inspire people to connect, create, and honor life.
Made from upcycled saris, tassel banners sold and made at Two Hands Paperie can be strung up, worn, and adored.
Dancing Grains Woodworks handcrafts custom-made products out of high-quality wood. The store features already made products and slabs of wood that can be chosen for custom pieces.
A locally run startup, Vanier Contour chairs are handbuilt. The floating slat provides a perfectly contouring sitting experience no matter what position.
Born out of the dark times of Covid, Fleetwood Candle Co. makes fun and colorful earrings too.
Jewelry at Angie Star Jewelry includes both silver jewelry and beaded jewelry and malas.
The husband and wife duo of Ammonite Swirls sell their handmade jewelry to pay for rent, car payments, and food for their cats. They run their ecologically friendly business in addition to their jobs working as a musician and conservationist.
Friends Ruth and Barb became friends and quickly started making jewelry together. Rubarb Jewelry handmakes simple but elegant jewelry.
Winnie Lou started as a food truck and now brings dog products made from Colorado farms to fur families all over the state. Only real, whole foods are used in their products.
Does your dog deserve to chill out? Suzie’s CBD Treats offers many yummy products for your animals containing CBD grown on their Fort Collins farm.
Local Shops Online
Beach Mountain Soul Creations
Hops and Honey Colorado
make &c. handmade goods
The Wilder Dogs Treats
Custom Leather Goods:
Pinkie Promise Goods
Cara Jacobs Ceramics
Illustration and Design:
Lenz Illustration & Design
Alder + Ash Creations
Desert Local Metals
Mad King Productions
Holiday Markets & Fundraisers
Boulder County Winter Market: Dec. 3 & 4 from 9 a.m.–3 p.m. at Longmont’s Boulder County Fairgrounds. Artists and vendors will sell both food products and artisan products. Free gift wrapping, live music, and activities for children. Admission is free.
Boulder Holiday Gift Festival: Dec. 11 from 11 a.m.–5 p.m at the Boulder Mapleton YMCA. The 17th annual craft fair is a great place to find gifts from local exhibitors. Admission is free. Live music starts at noon.
Erie Highlands Art Fair: Dec. 3 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 185 Highlands Circle, Erie. This arts and crafts fair will feature 60 vendors selling handmade goods.
Memberships to Makerspaces
The artists and makers in your life may appreciate memberships to local makerspaces as gifts.
The Gizmo Dojo: A makerspace located in Northglenn. Memberships start at hobbyist level at $50 a month for those looking to do personal projects enthusiast level at $100 for those who will be more involved at the dojo, and small business level for $250 for those wanting to sell products out of the dojo. All levels include 24/7 access to the building.
TinkerMill: Located in Longmont, members get full access to the workshop space, discounted classes, 24/7 access, voting rights, and reservations. Memberships available for $30 dollars a month for people with limited income, $60 for individuals, $90 for a bundle good for five people, and $120 for a corporate bundle of five employees.
Solid State Depot: Located in Boulder, this space cultivates a maker’s mindset and has a full warehouse of tools. Makers who are interested in joining must apply online.
The Phoenix Asylum: Located in Boulder, members have included metal workers, bike builders, glass artists, painters, machinists, gem sculptors, concrete sculptors, musicians, and more. Run by volunteers and members, costs are low. Although often full, Phoenix Asylum keeps a waiting list of interested makers.
Small businesses donate 250 percent more than large business counterparts to community causes. Over $9.3 billion would be returned to our economy if every U.S. family spent just $10 a month at a local business. Maybe this year our holiday season can mean more than convenience. Purchases from local businesses can pay for the lives of those around you and go toward causes that make our community better.