The Local newsletter is your free, daily guide to life in Colorado. For locals, by locals. Sign up today!
For the Modernist
Back in the 1960s, Colorado-based aerospace engineer and A-frame home-builder Lawrence “Bud” Stoecker used the humblest of materials—cardboard—to design a modern take on the classic Christmas tree for his family. Over the years, he refined his creation, replacing its cardboard concentric circles with versions made of Masonite, then Plexiglas. Fast-forward to 2011, when Stoecker’s grandson, Matt Bliss, decided to share his family’s treasure with the world. The Modern Christmas Tree (pictured above) debuted at the Denver Modernism Show and has been casting its unique glow over holiday celebrations ever since—not to mention some of the country’s most iconic midcentury-modern homes, from Charles Deaton’s Sleeper House in Colorado to Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House in Illinois. Available in a range of sizes, colors, and display configurations, from tabletop to a 14-footer, the trees (now made of acrylic and uplit with an LED bulb) can be purchased with or without crystal and glass bulb ornaments. Some versions can be made even groovier with a rotating mirror ball, Sputnik tree topper, and tulip-table-inspired tree stand. Custom options are available, too. Starting at $289, available online
For the Bibliophile
Boulder-based Juniper Books—the company known for creating book sets that double as art installations—has the perfect gift for the book-lovers on your list: a Books Everyone Should Own subscription, which delivers a timeless title to your recipient’s mailbox each month for one year. There are three collections to choose from: The classic subscription includes titles curated by Juniper founder Thatcher Wine—think Jane Eyre, The Odyssey, Moby Dick, and Pride & Prejudice. The 20th Century Classics collection features some of the past century’s greatest works, from Toni Morrison’s Beloved to Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. And the Contemporary Fiction subscription gathers some of the most powerful recent additions to literature and fiction, from authors including Kiley Reid, Marie Ndiaye, and J. Courtney Sullivan. Each book is jacketed in a stunning Juniper Books design—which you won’t find anywhere else—so even if your recipient already has a copy, they won’t have one like this. Starting at $50 per month
Give One Year of 5280 for just $16.
For the Healer
The burning of smudge sticks—bundles of herbs with properties purported to help prevent illness or energetically cleanse a space—is a tradition that goes back thousands of years. But the end of 2020 seems like an especially good time to smoke out bad energy and invite in the positive vibes. This smudge stick—available at local design collective Form Studio—features ethically sourced white sage (said to be antimicrobial and antibacterial), pinion pine (to bring peace, protection, and healing, not to mention the scent of winter in Santa Fe), palo santo (a traditional remedy for pain, inflammation, and stress), and selenite (to knock out energy blocks), all wrapped up in a wisp of pretty vintage fabric. $28
For the Aesthete
Boulder-based ceramist Liz Quan’s dramatic porcelain pendant lights inspired this collection of bud vase forms, which can be displayed individually or in a grouping on a table or wall and, “most importantly, feel nice to the touch,” the artist says. “Originally, these forms were hand-carved from porcelain,” she explains, “but when I started making many multiples for the pendants, I cast several different forms, using porcelain slip, to help ease the production. Even though the objective was to use them for the pendants, I liked the individual forms on their own.” And we do too. Choose from five different styles, each of which measures between five and six inches long, and a table- or wall-mounted option. $36 each
For the Maker
If there’s one thing everyone is wishing for this holiday season, it’s a little more time with friends and family. Which is why the perfect gift just might be some (safe, socially distanced) time together—with power tools! That’s what RiNo makerspace MADEwkshop is offering with its private holiday shop-class parties, during which small groups of two to 10 people from your pod can have some old-school fun with welding or woodworking. Each guest receives expert instruction and all the materials needed to make their own creative project; options include a pair of decorative metal dice, a wine rack, tabletop planter, copper bowls, Bauhaus birdhouse, pet-treat box, menorah, tabletop Christmas tree, or serving tray. Prices start at $150 a person for a private three-hour event
For the Lounger
Bed sheets are tricky: They’re either too hot or too wrinkly or too scratchy or too pilly—and if you dig deeper, you’ll find that many are made using practices that are anything but sustainable. These were the problems that 29-year-old entrepreneur Colin McIntosh set out to solve when he founded Denver-based Sheets & Giggles, a company that specializes in sustainable bedding that stays cool and comfy all night long. These sheets (which come in lots of colors) are crazy-soft and breathable, thanks to a lyocell fabric made from eucalyptus wood pulp, a renewable resource grown on sustainably managed farms. For every tree that’s harvested, two more are planted. And for every order you place, Sheets & Giggles will plant a baby tree in a place in need of reforestation—it’s like giving two gifts in one. Starting at $97.90 for a regular twin set, including one flat sheet, one fitted sheet, and one pillowcase
For the Fragrance Enthusiast
Chances are, you’ve heard of Rosy Rings, the Denver-based company and boutique known for botanical-infused, hand-poured candles that are almost too pretty to burn. But if you’re looking to gift something a little different this year, consider the brand’s eye-catching, hand-poured sachets, which can tuck into a drawer or tie onto a clothes hanger and come in an array of seasonal scents. Our favorites for fall and winter: Bay Garland, which is studded with black currants, orange slices, and bay laurel leaves; cozy Pumpkin Cardamom; cinnamon-scented Spicy Apple; and spicy-tart Red Currant & Cranberry, which is holiday-ready with its accents of birch cones and holly sprigs. Each sachet measures 4.5 inches by 3.5 inches and comes tied with a vegan suede cord. $24 each
For the Green Thumb
Who wouldn’t love a happy little houseplant—especially one handpicked by local home stylist Bret Alexandra, who has an eye for varieties that can add a fresh, cool vibe to any space. You can find her on Instagram @plant.shawty, where she holds virtual sales two to four times per month, or at a growing number of local pop-ups (free delivery is available to recipients in Denver; a $5 charge is added for surrounding cities). Or gift a plant-consulting session, during which Alexandra will tour your recipient’s home, recommending specific varieties that will not only thrive, but also look lovely. An initial consult ($50) includes either a 30-minute home visit or FaceTime tour, plus basic plant recommendations. A curated plant list and/or personal shopping starts at $75/hour. Full plant design—including floor plans, mood boards, and plant delivery—starts at $150/hour, not including plant cost.