There's no denying that COVID-19 will influence how we spend the holidays this year. But instead of giving in to the gloom of the pandemic, embrace its reality and spend the next few weeks celebrating the gift of health and wellness...and sharing the wealth with friends, family members and people you don't even know, but need help.
Time to give thanks, because you can start working on your shopping list now. There are plenty of pandemic-inspired, Colorado-produced items you can buy online that are all guaranteed to inspire a smile — even if you can't see it from behind that mask.
Here are our favorites:
HerFrictionLabs Secret Stuff Hygienic Liquid Chalk
If there's a climber, weightlifter or gymnast in your life, this proprietary liquid chalk is the perfect gift. The only chalk available with the Centers for Disease Control's recommended concentration of ethanol, it's essentially a hand sanitizer that's also great for gripping. Made in Colorado, it's just the thing to stuff in a stocking along with a new climbing rope. Order the liquid chalk online at frictionlabs.com for $19, or find it at REI and other select local retailers.
EcoVessel's Transit Mug
Spread holiday cheer without spreading germs by bringing your own cup to those front-yard happy hours and socially distanced caroling adventures. Yes, outdoor meetups will be chilly, which is why an insulated coffee mug may be the best gift your best friend gets this year. The sturdy mug, created by Boulder's EcoVessel, sells for $24.95 and comes in blue, rose gold, black, white or gray. Fill your friend's with a hot toddy and toast to the holidays while staying cozy, safe and happy.
Primal Wear Masks
Masks are certain to be a hot stocking stuffer this year, and Primal Wear sells some of the best Colorado-made masks on the market. Not only do the $22 masks come in festive prints, full of Santas and snowmen, but each mask has a washable, separate filter and plastic x-frame that keeps the fabric off your mouth. Yes, you can actually breathe in these. Many also come with a built-in cord, so when the mask is not in use, it can dangle safely around your neck.
Kefla Organics Hot Cocoa With CBD
Everyone needs to relax a little this holiday season, and since you'll be doing so indoors, why not enjoy a comforting drink with a dash of soothing CBD? Kefla Organics' hot cocoa, a jar of instant joy you can mix with your favorite type of milk, water or even coffee, retails for $19.99. The ten-serving mixture includes Fair Trade certified cacao from the Dominican Republic, coconut sugar, coconut milk powder and 25mg of organic hemp CBD. It won't make you high, but it might help you forget you're in the middle of a pandemic.
Canned Goods Jewelry
Who doesn't need a little bling for that Zoom meeting? The recycled tin-can earrings and cuffs by artist Thomas Paul Althaus not only look nice, they're so light you'll forget you're wearing anything. Designs start at $34.99 from Canned Goods; let your loved ones know they're worth a glamorous gift, even if no one is going anywhere this holiday season.
Salus Handcrafted Bath and Body Soap
Stuff everyone's stocking with soap that smells so good, no one will complain about having to wash their hands yet again. Salus, a Manitou Springs-based organic soap company, lets you pick the perfect scent for everyone on your gift list: Mountain Mint for your rock-climbing brother-in-law, Blackberry Merlot for your sister, Lemongrass Poppy for your mom, and the microbrew oatmeal soap that's made with Odell 90 Shilling for your father. There can never be too much soap right now, so this is a gift you know will be appreciated — and used. Order it online ($7 a bar) at shopsalus.com.
Ship Sunshine Pick Me Up Box
Whether that special someone on your shopping list has COVID-19 or is just isolating, a gift basket is sure to brighten the day. Or gift box, in the case of Ship Sunshine. The $32.99 Pick Me Up includes cozy socks, body butter, herbal tea, a cheery mug and a pack of thirty inspirational cards. There are other options, all created in Denver, featuring such items as chocolate, candles, coffee, bath products and snacks. You can also mix and match your own selection.
Black Sheep Tea
Coffee and tea dates may be canceled, but you can still share a cup virtually, especially if you give something tasty to your friend. Based in Evergreen, Renee Kaylor makes herbal blends using the finest plants she can source; the results not only taste delicious, but are designed to promote mental health. Choose from flavors such as Elevated Mint with two kinds of mint, orange peel, jasmine and rosebuds; or Enlightening Tulsi, with holy basil, lemongrass, amla berries and elderberries. Find Black Sheep Tea online at blacksheepteas.com and at various shops, including the Alfalfa’s stores in Boulder and Louisville, Elk Meadow Eatery and Nellybelle General Store in Evergreen, Mint & Serif in Lakewood, and more. Each can comes with eleven hand-tied bags and costs about $13.
Denver Distillery Hand Sanitizer
Given the state of things, hand sanitizer is a forever need. But instead of a cheap bottle from Costco, give a bottle of stuff made from real Colorado booze. The Denver Distillery on South Broadway is churning out 1.75-ounce ($3) and 375-milliliter ($9) bottles of hand sanitizer made with ethanol, vegetable glycerin, hydrogen peroxide and water. Pair one with a bottle of dark rum or sweet-potato vodka, and you'll make someone's holiday not only cheery but safer, too.
Window Masks by Arrow Atelier
Don't you miss seeing faces? Since we're all going to be wearing masks into the new year, give yourself the opportunity to see your grandma's face with a clever window mask by costume designer Zoe Pielsticker. All of the masks are cotton-based and come in four sizes, with cotton ties or soft ear elastics, and there are over fifty fabric options. You can also choose between a cotton lining or antimicrobial, moisture-wicking version to help eliminate that sauna-like feel many masks give. Place a custom order through the website, arrowatelier.com; prices start at $25.
You want to cut down on the number of supply runs as COVID-19 numbers go up, which is why the Big Squeeze comes in handy. This device, developed by Colorado resident Steve Galante, ensures that tube of toothpaste, paint or tomato paste is used to the very last drop. Not only is it fun to squeeze the goods out of the tube, but it's economical, too. This product, $34.99, is only available online at bigsqueeze.com.
Have other ideas for locally made gifts? Send them to email@example.com.