A harpist sets the soundtrack at McGuckin’s Hardware Store during the holiday season. Santa himself is taking toy workshop orders on Pearl Street during “St. Nicks on the Bricks.” Come sundown, a giant star illuminates Flagstaff Mountain, casting a pretty gold glow high above the city.
What we’re getting at? Shopping in Boulder during the holiday season is a magical and multi-sensory experience. So, skip the Internet, grab a coffee or hot chocolate at Spruce Confections and commence your search for the best-ever gifts.
Here, a holiday gift guide — Boulder edition.
Gifts Under $50
- A chew toy for your dog: Some cliches are true; Boulder loves dogs. If you’ve got a good boy or girl on your list (and we’re betting you do), stop into Farfel’s Farm and Rescue. The Boulder shop on the west end of Pearl Street is like Toys “R” Us for dogs, stocked with gear, treats and beautifully woven collars. The Abaca-Dabra toys are made with super-strong fibers and are perfect for dogs who are known to chew apart their toys before the rest of the pack is finished unwrapping presents. We like this whimsical giraffe with a blue mane. Sturdy chew toys start around $12.
- A Big Sur-scented candle: Cedar & Hyde is a modern-day mercantile in downtown Boulder, with a thoughtfully curated collection of home goods. Really, it’s a goldmine for gifts with luxe spins, like a champagne bucket with leather handles (who’s hosting New Year’s Eve?) and hexagonal felt coasters (You’re hosting? You’ll want to put these out). But an affordable gift from this high-end store that we love are the $28 coconut wax candles that can burn up to 60 hours each. The Bixby Creek scent has base notes of cedar and light notes of ginger. The Ragged Point candle has the cedar base notes, but a subtle smokiness. Both scents are inspired by Big Sur, California.
- Candy Cane Lane Tea: Did you know Boulder-born Celestial Seasonings celebrated its 50th anniversary this year? The iconic tea maker crafts a holiday blend that starts with decaffeinated green tea and adds cool peppermint, creamy vanilla and a dash of cinnamon. A box of 20 ($3.49) will help stock stuffings or make a great host gift.
Gifts Under $100
- Travel Backpack: Got someone who loves to travel on your “nice list?” Turn your attention to the Adventurist Backpack Co. The Denver-based company sells backpacks at Go Far on Pearl Street. The backpacks are stylish, minimalist and have padding to protect electronics, plus they’re 16X10X6 inches making them a perfect fit for underneath the seat of an airplane. For every backpack sold, the company provides 25 meals to families in need in the United States through a partnership with Feeding America. The company has provided more than 100,000 meals since its launch. The Adventurist Classic ($65) comes in a half-dozen colors.
- The Heart Collage: When is the last time you “developed film?” How many great photos are in the forgotten folders on your iPhone? Turn your photos into art that’s worthy of some wall space — not your Facebook wall, your real wall. Admittedly, collages can be cheesy. But not this one from Mike’s Camera: You can go online and create a custom heart that’s made with 25 square photos. The most basic lab print starts at $30, but we’re eyeing a metal print for $72.
- A Perfect Winter Hat: In a word, the Goorin Brothers hat shop on Pearl Street is handsome. Stylish fedoras and flatcaps fill the shop, with hats for both men and women. The unisex wool felt Henry Jones is a wide-brim hat that comes with a brown or black band. It feels just right for winter. The hat comes in right at $100.
Price Doesn’t Matter
- An Excursion with a Private Guide: The intrepid types on your gift list are itching to get outdoors and master a new adventure sport. Help them do just that by buying them a Boulder activity (or a gift card for one) from 57Hours. The platform connects certified guides with adventure seekers, keeping things like skill level in mind. Activities in the Boulder area include mountain biking, backcountry skiing, climbing and kayaking. The service handles all the logistics, which makes it great for those to test drive a new sport before buying all the gear. Pricing varies, but a half day of climbing the flatirons with a private lesson and guide starts at $175.
- Cushy Pouf: It’s as though a rainbow burst in Gypsy Jewel, a color-saturated store on Pearl Street that sells imported scarves, jewelry and textiles from Southeast Asia. Beautiful cushy poufs with tassels can instantly brighten up a room, while also serving a practical purpose of adding more seating. Or, they’d make a perfect addition to a yoga space. Prices vary, but medium sized poufs are $126.
- A Todd Reed piece: Every piece that luxury jeweler Todd Reed designs is hand-forged in the Boulder studio. Made-by-hand, the fine jewelry artistically incorporates raw and natural colored diamonds with recycled metals. Certainly a splurge item, a bangle bracelet with rose cut diamonds starts just under $1,000 and earrings dripping with diamonds can reach the $25,000 mark.