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It’s literally our job to be up-to-speed on all the coolest Centennial State swag, so when it comes to gifting our friends and family unique Colorado-made goods, we have a bit of a head start. But it’s the season of giving, not gatekeeping, so read on to find out what we’re buying for our loved ones this year. (Loved ones, look away!)
Whether I’m working in my office or lounging on the couch, I’m almost always bundled up in a blanket when I’m at home. So it’s no surprise that one of my favorite holiday gifts to give (and receive) is a cozy throw. This year, Alpaca Threadz’s super-soft alpaca wool blankets are on my wish list. The fair-trade company is based in Fort Collins and partners with artisans in Peru and Ecuador to create its collection of warm yet lightweight textiles. I’ve got my eye on the new Chakana Alpaca Camp Blanket ($200), which is available in a range of vivid colors. Available online. —Michelle Johnson, home editor
Give One Year of 5280 for just $16.
It’s not unusual for me to get so wrapped up in my research that I forget all about the cup of coffee I brewed an hour ago (these stories aren’t going to fact-check themselves). But the handy Nextmug ($130) from Nextboom, engineered just down the road in Boulder, keeps me from sipping on a lukewarm latte all day. The 14-ounce, self-heating mug has three temperature settings to choose from—warm, hot, or piping—and comes in eight trendy colors. It’s both functional and stylish, sporting an elegant matte finish and an LED light that displays the real-time temp. It’s the perfect gift for my most absent-minded friends. Available online. —Visvajit Sriramrajan, research editor
When pandemic restrictions eased, many of us were faced with a sobering question: Would we go back to wearing real pants, or would we remain staunchly faithful to the sweats and leggings we’d been wearing for months? I charted a middle ground after discovering Denver-based Topo Designs’ Dirt Pants ($109). These pants have an elastic waistband and are made of what Topo calls “stretch canvas,” a blend of 98 percent soft, but sturdy, organic cotton and two percent spandex, for just a little bit of flex. But maybe best of all, they pull off the neat trick of being appropriate for the office—well, the 5280 office, at least—and comfortable enough for sitting on the couch and watching the Avs game. Working remotely, working at the office, hitting a cocktail bar, or binging Netflix at home—it doesn’t really matter. These days, I’m wearing Dirt Pants pretty much 100 percent of the time. Available online and at Topo Designs’ stores. —Geoff Van Dyke, editorial director
I’ve been a big fan of Osprey backpacks since I got the Quantum model back in 2013. The Cortez-based company makes well-constructed, super comfortable packs, and I still use my now well-worn black Quantum for day hikes. Although you’ll have a hard time hunting down the Quantum since it’s been discontinued, you can find my newest Osprey favorite: the Ariel 65 ($320), a women’s-specific backpacking carryall that’s ideal for, say, three days in the Collegiate Peaks. The large front panel allows easy access to the main compartment, and the zippered sleeping bag pouch keeps things orderly. But as a relatively small human, what I really love is the adjustable torso length and shoulder straps. Plus, Osprey’s lower-back support helps me haul extra weight more comfortably than any other brand ever has. And I don’t get those painful hip bruises thanks to the changeable hip belt. Available online and at various retailers. —Lindsey B. King, editor
If your loved one is anything like me and makes a beeline for the candle aisle every time they walk into Target, Denverite Tiffany Rose Goodyear’s DIY diffuser kit ($87) might just be the biggest hit of the holidays. Goodyear, founder of event fragrance company Scentex, created the kit for aroma connoisseurs of any age. It comes with nine fragrance oils separated by top notes (the scent that first hits your nose), middle notes (usually a full-bodied fragrance that serves as the transition from the top note to the base note), and base notes (the scent that lingers the longest). The box also contains two reed diffuser bottles and 10 reeds, which means once you’ve found the perfect blend for your first bottle, you can do it all over again. Available online. —Barbara O’Neil, assistant editor
No matter the season, location, or forecast, the answer to the question “What should I wear?” on an outdoor outing in Colorado is, inevitably, layers. That’s why I’ve gifted just about everyone I know one of these locally designed and manufactured neck gaiters. Made from recycled plastic bottles, the Dendrite Single Tubes ($22) are cozy yet breathable. My husband wears his (a subtle gray herringbone pattern) to stay warm—but not sweaty—on his morning commute from Union Station to his office. My mom uses hers (a vibrant pink to purple gradient) to block the wind while hiking thirteeners. I’ve rocked mine (designed to look like a knit holiday sweater) everywhere from the slopes to Red Rocks. They’re essential Colorado wardrobe building blocks, and at such a reasonable price, you can probably afford to give them to everyone on your list, too. Available online. —Jessica LaRusso, deputy editor
I’m not good at gifts. To know me is to have been disappointed by a pair of socks, a repulsive sweater, or nothing at all (because I forgot). So years ago, I began gifting the one thing I know everyone on my list wants: relaxation. SunWater Spa in Manitou Springs features a dozen private, four-person cedar tubs, which can be booked online for 90-minute sessions ($45 per person) that include access to the on-site saline pool and traditional sauna. The 99- to 104-degree water and unimpeded views of the Rocky Mountains are sure to soothe your loved one’s stress. Book a reservation or purchase a gift card online. —Spencer Campbell, features editor