The holidays in Boulder are like nowhere else on Earth. The Pearl Street Mall feels like a fantasy galaxy, under a canopy of twinkling lights. In the distance, the snowy Flatiron Mountains make every step feel like you’re walking through a living postcard.
Winter in Boulder is as magical as it gets. And your gifts can match that.
Whether you are visiting Boulder, just passing through, a Boulder resident or a distant fan of the city, we’ve got a gift for you. Our Boulder holiday gift guide includes some of the city’s best local shops, inventions, drinks and stocking stuffers, in addition to some innovative travel and sporty gifts that caught our eye.
If you need shopping inspo, look no further.
Backcountry Bed sleeping bag: Boulder loves the outdoors, and it loves supporting local companies. This ultra-comfy sleeping bag is made by Sierra Designs, a Boulder-based outdoor gear company. Not only is the company based in Boulder, but it uses the area as testing grounds for all of its products. The Backcountry Bed ($249.95-$289.95) claims to bring “all of the comforts of home” to camping. A few cool features: no zipper and an ergonomic hood that works as a pillow.
Hybrid Bomber Jacket: Boulder-based Mountain Standard is full of great gift ideas, like the Hybrid Bomber jacket for women ($158). It’s both fashionable and practical, lined with nylon ripstop (the same material as a down jacket) and Primaloft Gold 60g (the industry standard for synthetic insulation). It’s water-resistant, super soft and breathable. If the woman in your life needs a new winter jacket or a new fashion statement that’s oh so Boulder, here’s your answer.
Goggles for a good cause: At Boulder-based zealoptics.com, every pair of goggles sold in December will also plant a tree in the Rocky Mountain backcountry. Since the launch of this annual program, Zeal has planted more than 2,500 pine trees, and the company hopes to plant 2,000 more this winter. The program is called Buy A Goggle, Plant a Tree. Zeal’s sunglasses are also environmentally friendly. They are made from renewable, plant-based materials and petroleum-free.
Eva All-Foam Snowshoes: Boulder-based Crescent Moon Snowshoes’ are the newest, best thing for snowshoes. They’re made out of the same foam used for running shoe soles, and these are the only snowshoes on the market with no rotational hinge. It’s no wonder these snowshoes have already been recognized by national mags, and Men’s Journal listed them on its “most important new products at outdoor retailer” list for 2017. In addition to the smart technical design, Crescent Moon is run by local husband-and-wife team, Jake Thamm and Tamara Laug.
A Treepod Cabana: Forget a hammock. Instead, hook up your Secret Santa with a TreePod Cabana, a stylish and sophisticated hanging “habitat” made out of brushed canvas and mesh. They’re not cheap, at $250 for the five-foot version, but they’re the ultimate piece of outdoor furniture. Or living room piece. When not in use, the TreePod packs up to the size of a tent.
A Hawaiian shirt: Yeah, you read that right. Guys can and should wear more flowers. Just walk through the University of
Colorado campus, and you’ll see the Hawaiian shirt revival. Get on board with Kenny Flowers, a Hawaiian shirt business run by Kenny Haisfield, of Boulder. His company was inspired by a Hawaiian shirt his dad passed down to him that Haisfield loved so much that he wore it to every party. One day it struck him: Everyone needed a shirt they loved that much. So he designed a line and quit his corporate job. Not only are the shirts amazing, but they’re super soft. And they have a little sunglasses holder above the chest pocket. It’s all about flair. We are bananas for the Lei’d Back One shirt, $65. The Napple, $70, is Haisfield’s fave.
An eBag: Got a traveler on your list who prefers to shop locally? Not only is eBags Colorado’s leading e-tailer of travel gear (with more than 30 million bags sold), but its co-founder, Jon Nordmark, is a University of Colorado-Boulder graduate. We love eBag’s TLS Mother Lode Weekender Convertible backpack (about $117 on sale right now) for all of your traveling adventures. Also, check out the packing cubes, which break up your suitcase into little compartments. They’re brilliant and locally based. The website actually has a designated gift guide page.
Floyd’s Barber Shop Holiday Grooming Kit: Floyd’s 99 Barbershop is based in Denver but has a Boulder and Longmont branch. Floyd’s puts out a fantastic holiday gift package for fashion-forward dudes. The set (shampoo, conditioner, refresh and styling cream for $15.99) features Floyd’s own line of products made from quality ingredients. Products are free of parabens, sulfates and DEA.
Dog Crotch Underwear: Boulder loves dogs, like a lot. So these underwear, made by Boulder-based Shinesty, are ruff (oh, no, we did) to top. They’re called the Best In Show Puppy Ball Hammock Boxers ($24.99), and they’ve been called “the most comfortable underwear you will ever wear” by Men’s Health. Shinesty makes clothes so awful that they swing back around and become amazing. We’re talking retro-style ski wear, head-to-toe holiday suits and pants, matching fugly Christmas outfits for the whole fam. Words cannot describe this clothing line. It transcends language and must be seen and experienced in all of its glory.
Stranahan’s Sherry Cask: Stranahan’s whiskey is made entirely in Colorado, from grain to glass. In fact, Stranahan’s was Colorado’s first legal whiskey distillery. In time for the holidays, it launched a four-year-aged Rocky Mountain Single Malt, finished in Oloroso Sherry barrels ($79.99).
The flavor: a blend of honey, black currant, fig and cherry, with a dash of walnut. It’s the taste of winter in Colorado.
Forget the eggnog. This is what Santa wants with his cookies. (He told us so.)
Tip for spirit-lovers: If you want to try a bottle of alcohol for a good cause, also check out the South African Cream Liqueur, Amarula ($23.99). The company recently launched a campaign called Don’t Let Them Disappear, running through the end of December. For every bottle of Amarula you buy, $1 will be donated to WildlifeDirect, which is helping save African elephants.
Crown Trails Headwear: These hats have a double purpose. First, they’re cool and practical. This company makes hats, visors and beanies. But most importantly, the head-warmers are made for National Scenic Trails and the National Park Foundation; a portion of the proceeds from every hat goes directly to nonprofits that help build, maintain and protect our national trails and park system. For Boulderites, check out the Crown Trails Headwear Continental Divide Trail collection ($25 for a Ranger-style hat). This trail runs right through the Rockies, not far from Boulder, at the Fourth of July Pass. In fact, the partnership with the Continental Divide Trail Coalition was the first organization the headwear company licensed with.
A Weston Splitboard: If your little elf needs a new snowboard, get one that’s made in Colorado. Weston, a craft board shaper in Minturn, makes an impressive Backwoods snowboard ($599) and splitboard ($899). Splitboarding is a fast-growing style of snowboarding, and Weston is leading the trend. A splitboard is designed for backcountry boarding. It splits in two to make two boards, sort of like skis, to help you with climbing, but then the board re-attaches to board downhill.
- With holiday dessert: Two Rivers Winery Mesa County Port, Colorado Cellars Raspberry or Meadery of the Rockies Strawberry Honey Wine.
- The best wine for the wine lover: Creekside Cellars Grand Valley AVA Cabernet Franc
- The best wine for your boss: The Winery at Holy Cross Abbey Colorado Reserve Merlot
Gifts for Travelers
Case + Drift Towels: Case + Drift is a practical travel-product company whose patterns are stylish. It makes a waterproof tote, a fabric pouch and quick-drying, 100 percent cotton Turkish towels. That’s our favorite. These adorable, lightweight towels ($40 each) can be used as a scarf, blanket or towel, making them a multi-purpose, practical packing essential.
Beer Caps Map: This gift is perfect for the traveler who also loves beer. And it does have Boulder ties. Co-founder Jesse Darley regularly visits his childhood best friend, who lives in Boulder. Beer Cap Maps are maps that hold beer caps aquired through tastings while traveling. Get the Colorado wood state map ($39), which fits 113 caps.
A backcountry staycation: Instead of giving things, why not give experiences? Here’s one idea: Visit the 14-room, Western Home Ranch in Clark, Colorado (about 25 minutes from Steamboat Springs). Home Ranch is all-inclusive and offers backcountry, tele-skiing and more right outside your cabin door. This cabin is surrounded by a one-million-acre forest. There are also sleigh rides, snowshoe lessons and a hot tub on every cabin porch. Oh, and all guests get to cuddle with Poncho The Donkey. #winningchristmas
The best travel pillow: Travelers are always looking for some way, any way to sleep on the airplane. The Voyage Pillow ($24.95) by Sondre Travel hopes to help you catch some shut-eye on the airplane in the sky. This pillow claims to be the most ultra-compact, comfy and versatile travel pillow out there. It’s 50 percent smaller than the typical u-shaped pillow, so it won’t consume your entire carry-on. You can even wear it over your eyes. Bring it camping, too.
A travel book for kids: This one’s for mini travelers. “My U.S.A. Road Trip” is a personalized book that brings readers across the country to learn about the different states and their monuments. What makes it feel extra magical, and ideal for Christmas, is that you can personalize the book with your kids’ name, birthday, state, physical appearance and other details, so they feel like this book is all about them.
Pickle Juice: This isn’t a prank, and it’s not an alternative to coal. The Pickle Juice Company says its pickle juice shot ($19.99 for a 12-pack) is packed with electrolytes and prevents muscle cramps faster than anything else available. It’s all-natural. No sugar in this hydration. The company claims it tastes great, too. No doubt it’ll be an interesting stocking stuffer.