Listen, life is stressful, and sometimes shopping for gifts falls to the bottom of your to-do list. We get it. But that doesn’t mean you have to show up to a celebration empty-handed—and earn the scorn of your father-in-law. We scoured the city for gifts from Colorado companies that you can grab at the last minute, either by popping into a store or quickly printing out a ticket. You can thank us later.

This Is Salvaged  by Vauhini Vara

Photo courtesy of W.W. Norton & Company

In late September, Fort Collins–based author and journalist Vauhini Vara released her first collection of short stories, This Is Salvaged ($27). Her novel, The Immortal King Rao, won the 2023 Colorado Book Award for general fiction and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, so you can feel confident about picking her latest off the shelf. Available at the Bookies Bookstore and Tattered Cover Book Store

A Plant From the Marigold

Photo courtesy of the Marigold

It’s actually smart to wait until the last minute to purchase this gift—otherwise you risk killing it before the big day. We also won’t deny the perk that is the full-service bar inside this plant shop, in case you need a cocktail to take the edge off your last-minute shopping stress. Scour the shelves at the Marigold in Five Points for the perfect pothos, philodendrons, and cacti for your green-thumbed guy or gal. All you’ll need to do is add a bow. The Marigold, 2721 Welton St.

Tincup Fourteener Bourbon Whiskey

Photo courtesy of Tincup

Every year, Tincup—a Denver-based whiskey producer named after a Colorado ghost town—releases a new, limited-edition batch of bourbon ($70). As you might guess, its Fourteener line, now in its second year, is inspired by a different Centennial State mountain; this year’s honoree is Quandary Peak. The whiskey has been aged 14 years in new white American oak barrels. You can feel extra good about your purchase because each bottle includes a donation to the Colorado Fourteeners Initiative, which is working to preserve these special summits. Available at area liquor stores

YoColorado Sweater & Beanie

Photo courtesy of YoColorado

Make sure your loved one is ready for cold weather with a cozy knit sweater and beanie pair from Golden-based YoColorado. We’re partial to the skier design on this women’s sweater ($94), the men’s Durango fleece button-up ($68), and a Coors Banquet–inspired hat ($30) made from recycled yarns. With a slew of stylish options to choose from, you’ll have no trouble finding a fashionable pattern for your favorite person. YoColorado, 805 12th St., Golden

Friend Assembly Mood Swing Mug

Photo courtesy of Friend Assembly

Spending uninterrupted time with your loved ones during the holidays can induce a rollercoaster of emotions—sometimes right at the Thanksgiving table. But this cheeky mug ($32) from Friend Assembly can help you navigate sticky holiday conversations with a bit of subtlety. When your mother-in-law makes a snide remark about how much pie you’ve eaten, rotate the mug to show off the irritated face. Receive a compliment on your trendy holiday outfit? Flash the cup’s smiling countenance. And if you overcook the turkey, fill up your mug with some mulled wine and flash the frowny face. Available at Stanley Marketplace, 2501 Dallas St., Aurora

Topo Designs Rover Pack Mini

Photo courtesy of Topo Designs

It’s hard to go wrong with a bag as a gift since every Coloradan seems to be on the go all the time. But bigger isn’t always better. This year we’re opting for Denver-based Topo Designs’ Rover Pack Mini ($69), which Travel & Leisure dubbed one of the “best mini backpacks of 2023.” The durable backpack is made from recycled nylon fabric, comes in a range of colors, and boasts a 10-liter capacity without the bulk of so many other bags. Available at Topo Designs’ stores

Vinyl Me, Please Record-of-the-Month Club Membership

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Monthly memberships are gifts that keep on giving well after the garland goes back to the attic. Denver’s Vinyl Me, Please offers a record-of-the-month club for three-, six-, or 12-month terms (starting at $36 per month). The best part: Your music-loving pal can choose from five different genres—and swap their selection from month-to-month. Available online

Denver Museum of Nature & Science Wild Color Exhibit Ticket

Photo courtesy of Field Museum/Michelle Kuo

If you have a friend whose love language is quality time, consider gifting an experience this year, like tickets to the new Wild Color exhibit at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science (general admission starts at $25 for adults; members get in free). The immersive exhibition takes visitors through the color spectrum with the help of various flora and fauna and dissects the messages different colors impart. It’s open from November 17 through April 7—and you can print the tickets at home before you run out the door. 2001 Colorado Blvd.

Restaurant Olivia’s Cooking Classes

Photo courtesy of Restaurant Olivia

You may not be able to surprise your sister with a plane ticket to Sicily, but this just might be the next best thing. Let the experts at Restaurant Olivia in Wash Park teach her the art of pasta making during the monthly two-hour sessions. Chef and co-owner Ty Leon will share his top techniques and favorite ingredients for pulling together an authentic Italian meal. The eatery’s small group classes (starting at $125) are beginner friendly, and attendees leave with fresh pasta and a jar of house-made pasta sauce. (There are also monthly wine education classes, led by the state’s only Italian wine ambassador.) 290 S. Downing St.

Daliah Singer
Daliah Singer
Daliah Singer is an award-winning writer and editor based in Denver. You can find more of her work at