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Gifts For Life’s Minor Indignities
- When an epic day at A-Basin turns into three days of windburn for your visiting college friend: Zugel Oil’s hydrating face oil ($59; zugel.com or Wish Gifts) so TSA will still recognize her from her photo ID.
- When your nephew doesn’t get into University of Colorado Boulder: A VMP (Vinyl Me, Please) subscription (starting at $36 per month; vinylmeplease.com) can help him get a musical education no matter where he goes—and you’ll still be the cool uncle or aunt.
- When your daughter gets snagged by the photo speed van on First Avenue near Cherry Creek: The Brady Tarot cards ($55; bradytarot.com), which can help her foresee the speed trap next time.
- When your partner loves the Broncos and they, well, suck: Two Ravens Soap Company Happy Canyon bar ($9; tworavenssoap.com) to help wash the stink off.
- When your neighbor endos on Maryland Mountain’s Ore Chute Trail and earns a skull full of stitches for his efforts: Be Hippy Old School Pom beanie ($44; behippy.com), a stylin’ topper so he can at least keep his melon covered until his hairline—and maybe his pride?—recovers.
When Money Can’t Buy Comfort (Because You Don’t Have Any)
Sometimes your heart says, “Do something” and your budget says, “Nope.” You can listen to them both with these free (or very inexpensive) pick-me-ups.
1. A ticket to ride the Carousel of Happiness in Nederland costs $3, but the smile on your loved ones’ faces as they bob up and down on a giraffe or zebra or ostrich is worth forgoing that latte once this week to cover the price.
2. Write some silly or encouraging notes in the margins of a Colorado-based novel for your friend to find while reading. Consider one of Kent Haruf’s beautiful but heartbreaking stories—we suggest Plainsong ($18; Tattered Cover Book Store)—because sometimes when life sucks, reading about people who have it worse helps.
3. Take your down-in-the-dumps dad out to a 2 Blondes All Breed Rescue event; the Denver nonprofit, which has helped more than 10,000 pets find their forever homes since launching in 2015, hosts free meet-and-greets almost weekly at local businesses and breweries in the metro area.
A Shop For Every Crappy Occasion
No matter what the injustice, one of these local gift purveyors is bound to have a present with just the right feel-good factor.
How lousy is the situation?
Real Big Bummer: Is it a sad kind of bad or a mad kind of bad?
Sad: Apothecary Tinctura
Start with a care package: Nurturing Tea, Perspective essential oil spray, and a journal in which they can pour their hearts out. If that doesn’t help beat back the darkness, consider giving them a consultation with one of this 26-year-old Denver shop’s six herbalists or personal growth coaches.
Mad: The Terrorium Shop
If your biking buddy is still murderous about getting run off Lookout Mountain Road and totaling his Alchemy bike, this edgy plant-meets-taxidermy shop’s collection of curiosities—potted plants bedecked with skulls, snake vertebrae accessories, and preserved dragonflies—will take his mind off revenge. And if it doesn’t, enroll him in the Berkeley store’s popular taxidermy classes so the only carcass he’s caught with is a legal one.
A Middlin’ Kind Of Misery: What’s love got to do with it?
Nothing: Where do you live?
- Westside: XO Gift Co.
Owner Kat Furr has firsthand experience being on the receiving end of little things that make a difference, so she stocks her Wheat Ridge shop with all kinds of items that (figuratively) say, “You’re special.” A quick perusal will turn up locally made jewelry, magnets, greeting cards, candles, and other handmade crafts from more than 50 Colorado makers.
- Eastside: Trunk Nouveau
Don’t sleep on the quippy cards, wood earrings, or cheeky tea towels you spot in this Stanley Marketplace treasure trove; the handcrafted inventory from local artists changes regularly. Less fleeting is the warm and fuzzy feeling you’ll get knowing six percent of your purchase goes to the Spectacled Bear Conservation Society, which works to protect Andean bears.
Sister ghosted by her latest Hinge hottie? Introduce her to Awakening, Denver’s emporium of all things sensual, from flavored nipple balms to vibrators and other sex-positive toys. Bonus: She can crib from Awakening’s founding principle when she revisits her dating profile: Seeking mutual trust, respect—and orgasms.
Minor Flesh/Ego Wound: Is the downtrodden a kid?
Yes: Truong An Gifts
If this Federal Boulevard shop’s vibrant display of Pokémon toys and lucky frog and cat figurines doesn’t undo your little one’s doldrums, the sugar high from Hello Kitty and Hi-Chew candies surely will.
No: Jolly Goods
From Pour Yourself A Cup of Ambition coffee mugs to Pedro Pascal prayer candles, irreverence is the hallmark of this Tennyson Street shop. But you’ll still find plenty of sweet somethings to offer to wounded loved ones, such as colorful clay earrings handmade by owner Nicole Wolsey-Neech and whimsical succulent pots and bud vases. Even better, none of Jolly Goods’ gifts will bust your budget.
Gifts For Big But Temporary Bummers
- When your trekking buddy takes a season-ending digger on Longs Peak: Moore Collection Colorado Candle, which has a blue spruce scent (starting at $24; moorecollection.com or at Feral in Berkeley), to bring the great outdoors to him until he can rejoin you on milder adventures.
- When your best friend’s Sloan’s Lake basement floods. Again: Lil’ House Blessing ($35; at Sacred Thistle in Golden Triangle) to ward off the puddles during the next thunderstorm.
- When your husband totals his Subaru in the last spring blizzard (but is fine): Undestructable Standing Plant Propagation Station ($40; undestructable.org) because something should be. Fill it with pothos, a hardy vine that does well in Colorado’s dry climate.
- When your unemployed brother doesn’t get his dream job at Ball Aerospace: Locally made Laws Whiskey House Four Grain Straight Bourbon delivered by Drizly ($60; drizly.com) and Counter Couture rocks glasses ($14; counter-couture.com) will soften the blow. Also: Drinks are on you for the foreseeable future.
Services for when Colorado’s outdoorsy culture—or just everyday life—breaks your people’s bits.
Because they… Tore their ACL standing in the lift line at Vail Ski Resor
Get them… A gift certificate to Denver Dog Joggers
So… Spot doesn’t get the shaft (or eat the couch) just because Dad caught a case of the whoopsies. Denver Dog Joggers owner Jacob Venter has logged more than 20,000 miles on the other end of the leash, and today his staff of 35 will tailor your dog’s outing to its fitness level (slow walk, fast walk, jog) starting at $35 per session.
Because they… Busted their tailbone slipping on the 16th Street Mall pavers
Get them… A month of housekeeping from Clean Queen Maid Service of Westminster
So… They can focus on healing their booties without bending and straining their sensitive backsides—or worrying about cleaning chemicals. Five-year-old Clean Queen uses nontoxic supplies safe for people and pets. Rates for deep cleans start at $250, depending on the size of the home.
Because they… Ripped their lady part delivering a nine-pounder at Rose Medical Center
Get them… A week’s worth of dinners from SupperBell
So… Mama can enjoy the culinary delights backed by Denver restaurateur Frank Bonanno—who was an early investor in the at-home meal delivery service—without having to change out of her slippers. Meals such as bistro filet with artichoke butter and almond-crusted salmon cakes are cooked from scratch daily and, if Mom orders by 2 p.m., will arrive at her door ready to reheat for dinner starting at about $16 per entrée.
Because they… Separated their shoulder in a husky-meets-human TKO at Cherry Creek State Park’s off-leash area
Get them… A gift certificate to their favorite salon
So… Their locks stay locked-in. Ask a stylist to put together a package of wash-and-style sessions, and if that’s not possible, consider a gift certificate for several blowouts from a top-shelf salon like Cedar Hair Studio, Clementine’s Salon, or Luxe Salon.
Because they… Scrambled their brain (temporarily) in a crash on the South Platte River Trail
Get them… A Denver Public Library e-card (you’ll need their mailing and email addresses)
So… They can enjoy a screen-free activity while resting their gray matter thanks to the library’s vast collection of nearly 100,000 audiobooks.
The ultimate Colorado breakup mixtape—to play for yourself or your lovelorn friend—courtesy of KBCO’s Bret Saunders.
“After The Love Has Gone” by Earth, Wind & Fire
One of the finest heartbreak songs from the ’70s, the soulful melody’s lead vocals are shared by Maurice White, the group’s founder, and Philip Bailey, who attended East High School. If this slow, crushing ballad doesn’t leave you reaching for Kleenex, you probably shouldn’t reach for another relationship, either.
“Love Don’t” by Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats
Colorado’s Rateliff puts his heart on the line with every measure in “Love Don’t,” which has all the sonic ingredients of a soul-rattling ’60s Memphis Stax recording. With lyrics that outline precisely what love shouldn’t be—miserable—this powerful horn-and-drum-stacked anthem practically demands moving on.
“Break Up Song” by DeVotchKa
Could there be a more apt inclusion on a breakup playlist than this entry from Colorado’s uncategorizable DeVotchKa quartet? “I’m going to burn all my possessions on the kitchen floor,” Nick Urata sings in this haunting mix of strings, accordion, and percussion. Don’t do it, Nick! You probably have some irreplaceable records in that pile.
“Whiplash” by Jobi Riccio
If Riccio, who grew up in Morrison, is new to you, she won’t be for long. “Whiplash” is yet
another example of her exceptional Americana-styled tunes and follows a narrator who’s better off without the cowboy who ran away.
“Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me)” by Dianne Reeves
Denver’s Reeves needs a separate trophy room for the myriad Grammy Awards honoring her unparalleled jazz vocal prowess, and her interpretation of this homage to unrequited love from the Temptations rivals the original.
Gifts For When The Only Remedy Is Time
- When your neighbors’ Bernese Mountain Dog delivers his last sloppy kiss: A custom portrait from Longmont’s Nose Prints Art (from $400; noseprintsart.com) to memorialize the many years of tail wags. Rachelle Albright captures the personality of four-legged loved ones in her acrylic-on-canvas pieces, ensuring Moose will always be with them.
- When a wildfire takes your coworker’s home—and everything in it: Fenway Clayworks cup ($48; fenwayclayworks.com) because you have to start the rebuilding somewhere, and Sean Vander-Vliet’s handmade cups provide at least a small amount of comfort—especially when paired with tea; we like Longmont’s Bespoke Provisions Masala Chai Black Tea ($14; bespokesalt.com).
- When your BFF’s mom is no longer around for their annual Thanksgiving Brown Palace high tea: Nikki Nation’s two-tone heavy textured cuff and the constellation cuff ($2,060 and $865; nikkinationjewelry.com or at Aurum in Golden Triangle) because while you can’t replace her mom, these designs from Aurum’s owner are precisely the kind of thing she would have worn to tea.
- When your sister gets divorced and moves into a RiNo apartment on her own: Large alpaca blankets from Loom Colorado ($130; loomcolorado.com) will brighten her new space. These alpaca throws are handmade in Ecuador and brought to the Centennial State by Pamela Mendoza, a Coloradan originally from that country. As soft as they are colorful, the blankets will be there on the hard days to wrap your sis in a warm hug when you can’t.
Do Sweat the Small Stuff
I’m not a person who likes surprises. Not on my taxes, nor on my birthday. And yet one of my greatest pleasures is finding ways to sneak tiny surprises into the nooks and crannies of my loved ones’ lives: their favorite sweet on a stressful workday; a snarky magnet to ease the sting of back-to-back health annoyances; a small bit of bling to reclaim a day that once belonged to a wedding anniversary. When I was a kid, my family was without the proverbial pot to piss in (read: very poor). But what we could do was show affection in myriad little ways on completely unexceptional days—from notes on napkins in lunch sacks to Pop Rocks shoved through locker slots. In the subsequent decades of leaving I’m-thinking-of-yous on desks, at doorsteps, and in drivers’ seats, I’ve gleaned a few important lessons. —KC
1. Pay attention.
To what brand (and color) of lipstick your bestie wears, what her go-to comfort food is. Observe if she wears silver jewelry or gold. Know her T-shirt size, her favorite colors, the wine varietals she’s most likely to order. What creatures she fears; which ones she’ll step in front of a truck for. Giving shouldn’t be work; it’s just being a good friend.
2. Always be shopping.
Spot a hilarious cat card that will speak to your work wife but have no occasion to give it? Get it. And the matching socks. My mom used to squirrel away on-the-nose stocking stuffers starting on December 26—a great habit, but why wait for December to deliver the goods? If you’ve got a ready stash of personalized pick-me-ups (see at right), it’s that much easier to lighten a loved one’s mood when the universe drops an April turd.
3. Enlist others.
Spouses, parents, siblings, coworkers, and old friends can be great co-conspirators when you need help finding just the right window of opportunity to maximize a surprise.
4. Track security risks.
Car alarms. Home security systems. Nosy neighbors. Vigilant golden doodles. These are but a few of the potential threats to ruining your surprise (and also your day).
5. Timing is everything.
Just because the casseroles have come and gone doesn’t mean the hurt has. A token of your affection on an otherwise unremarkable Tuesday is worth six pounds of lasagna.
6. The price tag really doesn’t matter.
It’s never the extravagant thing that wedges itself in the deepest chamber of the heart. It’s the token that says, Not only have I been thinking of you, but I’ve also been listening, and this is how I love you.
It’s The Little Things
Tiny reminders that you’re thinking of the ones you love.
Sometimes “Let’s have a cold one” is code for “I’m here to listen.” But there’s nothing worse than a warm Colorado craft beer. Commiserate properly with a can cooler (pictured; $6; hipviolet.com) from Denver’s Hip Violet.
Drop a zero-waste peppermint lip balm ($6; mountaintimesoap.com or at Show of Hands in Cherry Creek) from Golden’s Mountain Time Soap Shop & Supply on your colleague’s desk when you know he’s chapped about not being able to take Friday off to make some turns.
Keep one of Denver-based photographer-designer Stephanie Mikuls’ Inviting in Magic affirmation packs ($22; stephaniemikuls.com) in your Jeep so you can deliver one of 31 typewritten slips—maybe, “The energy I put out comes back to me”—to your favorite Corvus Coffee Roasters barista on a busy morning.
When your cousin needs some liquid courage before cozying up around the campfire next to the man of his dreams, hand him his own Colorado Campfire Mountain shot glass from Snow Business ($6; snowbusinesscolorado.com) and fill it with something strong.
Attach a little note that says “Look at the smart person everyone else sees” to one of Denver-based I Like Sara’s pocket mirrors ($11; ilikesara.com) and deliver it to your aunt on the eve of her University of Colorado Boulder master’s thesis defense.
Gifts For When A Little Self-Care Is In Order
- When your spry (but shockingly lazy) teenager refuses to help shovel the snow: Olive & Olde’s Lavender Comfort Pack ($46; oliveandoldes.com or at Fern and Skye in Speer) can be heated in the microwave to help soothe tight (read: old) muscles and an irritated mood.
- When your girlfriend thought you might really enjoy a day of goat yoga in Golden but you just ended up smelling like a farm: Longmont’s Muddy Mint Mountain Man Shampoo & Body Bar ($10; muddymint.com) will restore your sense of masculinity and de-ruminant your personal scent with a blend of cedar wood, fir, and juniper berry.
- When Denver’s Christkindlmarket was a zoo: Boulder’s Vital You’s Balance bath bomb ($16, vitalyouproducts.com) with 100 milligrams of CBD isolate plus flower essences or Denver-based Harvest Moon Botanics’ Self Love Ritual Bath Soak ($18; harvestmoonbotanics.com) with rose and lemon will deliver enough ahhhh that you’ll be able to emotionally handle the trip to Whole Foods Market for all the holiday feast fixings.
- When you need to let yourself miss your dad, who taught you to ski, took you camping, handed you the rod with a fish on it, and always smelled like newly cut grass and fresh earth: Berkeley’s Wooly Wax Home Décor Luxe soy wax candle in vetiver and oakmoss ($42; woolywaxcandles.com) will remind you of him.
- When what was supposed to be a relaxing weekend in the mountains delivered three high-elevation-induced sleepless nights: Press Pause’s Dream tincture ($89; presspauseproject.com), a full-spectrum CBD night tincture, can restore some lost Zs.
An Unexpected Gift
It came in the mail from people I barely knew—and I could not have been more grateful.
Everyone has a dead pet story. I thought mine was different, though. My nine-year-old boxer, Bodhi, had been sick off and on for several weeks, and although we’d been to the vet, he was still having some unexplained gastrointestinal distress. I knew something wasn’t right, but it also seemed like nothing was seriously wrong. So on a January morning in 2015, I noticed that he felt hotter to the touch than usual and that he seemed a little agitated—unusual for a dog who typically had an angelic disposition—but after giving him some scratches, I went to work anyhow. It was the last time I saw Bodhi alive.
The guilt was tremendous. I had neglected him, I thought. I left him alone to die. He wasn’t himself, and I had ignored it. He was sick and scared and needed me, and his big, brown, humanlike eyes watched me walk away. Devastated did not begin to describe how I felt. I cried and cried and cried.
Then, a few days later, a package arrived in the mail. I hadn’t ordered anything, and there wasn’t any identifying information about its contents on the outside. It was oddly heavy for a small parcel, and when I opened it I realized why: It was a stone plaque. On it were paw prints and an inscription that read, “If Love Could Have Saved You, You Would Have Lived Forever.”
It was hard to find details about the sender, but after scouring the paperwork, I deduced that the pet memorial was from some friends of a friend, a couple who had never even met Bodhi and whom I had only hung out with maybe three times. I cried uncontrollably—again—but this time the tears were from a sense of relief. This couple could not have known how culpable I felt, but the words inscribed on their gift made me re-evaluate things. Bodhi was my first dog as an adult, and he had been one of the great loves of my life. I would’ve done anything for him, and the honest truth was that I just didn’t know he had developed chronic pancreatitis. The gift didn’t take away all my shame, but it delivered something I hadn’t previously allowed myself: compassion.
I’ve been fortunate to receive a lot of presents in my life: lovely bestowals on my birthday and during the holidays and, in many instances, for no reason at all, except that someone loved me. But more than eight years later, I still remember the kindness of that unanticipated gift—and the poignant impact of the simple, stone monument to Bodhi’s life and my love for him. —LBK
When Only Chocolate Will Do
Pick up: a salted caramel coffee milk chocolate art bar ($9)
From: Thornton’s Dar Chocolate
For when: 60 percent, ethically traded, certified organic cacao wrapped in the art of a local creative will remind the struggling Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design student in your life that people do care about beautiful things.
Pick up: a Carefree Chocolate bar ($8)
From: Evergreen’s Functional Chocolate Company
For when: a mellow mint truffle flavor infused with herbs, botanicals, and other natural ingredients can decrease your neighbor’s anxiety about trying to buy a new house in Denver.
Pick up: a six-ounce bag of Mexican drinking chocolate ($12)
From: Denver’s Cultura Chocolate
For when: a cinnamon-tinged hot chocolate helps alleviate your parents’ disappointment when their United Airlines flight to—and therefore their vacation in—Mexico City gets canceled.
Pick up: a single serving of Turkey Tail Maitake and Chaga functional mushroom chocolate ($5)
From: Boulder’s Moksha Chocolate
For when: your bestie’s new elementary school teaching gig means her immune system needs help defending against the kids’ germs.
Sometimes the only thing that can help is a weekend away from it all—including people. For these times, consider gifting your wound-licking loved one a weekend at Westminster’s Origin Hotel (rates start at $149). The two-year-old Origin offers the same stylish escape as a mountain hotel without the I-70 headache. Your hurting friend can hide from the world with movies at Alamo Drafthouse (across the street), books from a Tattered Cover Book Store outpost (adjacent to the lobby), and France-meets-the-West meals from the Famille restaurant (downstairs—or via room service if he wants to eat his feelings in solitude).
Cards For When You Need Help With Your Words—Or There Simply Are None
Founded by Arley Torsone and Morgan Calderini, Ladyfingers Letterpress (ladyfingersletterpress.com) is a Colorado Springs company that has a way with words. Whether you’re trying to tell someone he is your happy pill or that you love her despite the way she loads the dishwasher or that it’s OK for them to freak out, Ladyfingers Letterpress probably has the perfect missive for the job.
Longmont-based Sweet & Snarky (sweetandsnarkygoods.com) has dozens of cards that say exactly what’s in your head—only in a funnier (or sweeter) way. We love their messages for when fur babies go to heaven, but the illustration that goes with the company’s “Holy Shit” card is too good to pass up.
You’ll need to make a run to Meininger Art Material to grab some basic watercolor paints and a brush, but Englewood-based Lexisworks’ Moon Garden Coloring Cards (lexisworksart.com) give you a chance to not only send a message of love and support but to also deliver a splash of creativity to those in your life who might need a boost.
This card, from Derek Cadena and Brent Rodgers, the husband-and-husband team behind Denver’s Two Little Fruits (twolittlefruits.com), doesn’t have any words—but, then again, it doesn’t need any. If you’re trying to say, “I’m so sorry that life has lifted its leg on you,” then the cute illustration gets the message across.
Made in-house by the creative folks at Wish Gifts (wishgiftsdenver.com), these Colorado-specific cards—there’s an “I Would Get On Colorado Blvd. At 5 P.M. For You” version—let the receiver know, unequivocally, just how much they’re really cared for.
The Art Of Condolence
Due to an avalanche of personal losses in recent years, I became a man of constant sorrow—and an unwitting expert at sending and receiving condolences. The result is I now have a sharply honed sense about the fine art of grief messaging. This is not something to which I ever aspired. Regardless, here are a few suggestions for making your expressions of sympathy both meaningful and memorable.
Don’t ignore the obvious. Someone has died, and the loss is going to hurt in ways most people haven’t yet imagined. Acknowledge that loss, and in a way that will mean something to both you and the person you’re trying to comfort.
Don’t make it all about you. “I’m devastated” or “This loss really hits me hard” puts you at the center of the message.
Do you belong there? Maybe. Maybe not.
Avoid clichés. “I’m sorry for your loss” is overused and doesn’t really acknowledge the person whose life has just ended. “They’re in a better place” assumes a lot and may even offend those who don’t believe in a spiritual afterlife. Strive for words that acknowledge the special role the deceased played in so many lives. Recall a favorite memory or tell a story about how the lost one affected you.
Avoid reverence if it feels forced. If your relationship with the person you’re trying to comfort is based on a ribald personal history, filthy jokes, and way too many Jell-O shots, a sudden lapse into sober reverence is going to seem strange. If “Well, damn, that sucks” seems more appropriate, why not?
The condolences that have meant the most to me in recent years were variations of the old Hebrew saying, “May your memories be a blessing.” It’s short. It acknowledges the loss. And it feels like a welcome preview of a time when the pain will subside and special memories may someday make you smile once again. —Martin J. Smith
A Final Bequest
An undelivered present brought one man some solace amid the chaos.
I don’t remember who found the box. I was too dazed at the time to notice. My father, a loving and—if I’m being kind—tumultuous man, had died unexpectedly of a stroke this past spring, and my siblings, our significant others, and I had rushed to South Florida to plan his funeral. He didn’t leave a will, so we knew his estate would be a mess. What we didn’t expect was the state of his home.
My dad had been a fastidious man who worked abroad for much of my childhood, so during his visits home, we’d spend much of our time deep cleaning. When we got into his house after his death, however, we found the home of an unwell man. We couldn’t move for the piles of trash. Where there wasn’t junk, there were mountains of mementos, stacks of unused cleaning products, toys for my niece yet to be mailed, and unopened kitchen appliances. Judging from his documents—which started out neatly arranged in storage boxes and gradually became more disheveled as the dates progressed—he hadn’t cleaned anything in years. It was heartbreaking, mostly because we’d had no idea. My relationship with him had always been strained, but after my mother, from whom he had long been separated, died of cancer nearly a decade ago, we made an effort to talk regularly. He was observant, funny, and sharp until the end.
On our second day of sorting through the disorder, the task before us was so immense that I was in a fog. That’s when someone handed me a small box they’d excavated. It was done up in the colorful tissue paper that my father liked to use as gift wrap, and my name was written on top. His wrap job’s signature hospital corner folds and his confident handwriting delivered a sense of order in the middle of the mayhem. There was so much to do, though, that I had to set it aside unopened. That night, we sat around our Airbnb drinking and reading some old letters we’d found. Then I unwrapped the present: It was a watch. Timepieces were a passion I’d inherited from him, more by proxy than in practice. I was a teenager when he bought this particular chronograph, and he’d promised he’d give it to me someday. It arrived at just the right time. —Nicholas Hunt
It’s long been customary to send flowers to a wake or a funeral—and even directly to the homes of loved ones in mourning. But here’s the thing: Flowers die. And, well, with death already hanging thick in the air, sending an I’m-so-sorry-alternative to those quick wilters is a thoughtful gift. We suggest heading to South Broadway’s Birdsall & Co., Lincoln Park’s Green Lady Gardens, or Speer’s the Herbery Boutique to pick up a live houseplant—like English ivy, a peace lily, or a snake plant, all of which should do well in Colorado’s dry air. Just remember to ask the knowledgeable staff at each shop for care instructions that you can pass along to the giftee.