Holiday events and gifts throughout Colorado
DENVER – The holidays aren’t complete without snow, hot cocoa and Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. Celebrate this holiday season by riding to dinner in a snow-cat driven sleigh or making ornaments in the heart of downtown Aspen. Discover Mesa Verde National Park by lantern or explore beautiful Victorian homes decorated for the holidays as they would have been 100 years ago. Top off these events and experiences with Colorado-crafted gifts for loved ones including Colorado spirits, skis, perfume and more. Below is a sampling ways to get in holiday spirit Colorado-style this winter season.
Holiday Events and Festivities
Santa Express Train on the Royal Gorge Route Railroad (Nov. 18 – Dec. 24). Take the kids on a real-life Polar Express experience this winter on the Santa Express Train. Children are encouraged to wear pajamas while sipping hot cocoa and nibbling on cookies aboard the train. After a short 30-minute ride to the North Pole, Santa will hop on the train to pass out special holiday bells to the kids. The train also offers a romantic New Year’s Eve dinner for when the parents want a night out to themselves.
Mile High Holidays in Denver (November – January). From Thanksgiving weekend until mid-January, Denver will feature dozens of opportunities to celebrate the season. From the Parade of Lights and Santa Sightings to performances of “The Nutcracker” at Ellie Caulkins Opera House and Downtown Denver’s Grand Illuminations, which includes the lighting of the City and County Building, Larimer Square, Denver Union Station and more.
Charlie Brown Holiday Celebration in Morgan County (Dec. 1). In the high plains of northeastern Colorado, Morgan County boasts a sea of blue skies and glistening snow on the Pawnee Grasslands that make for a peaceful holiday setting. This year, Morgan County’s holiday theme will celebrate over 50 years of Charlie Brown with an expansive parade featuring Snowzilla (an artificial snow tube slide that stands 25 feet tall and features an ultra slick 90-foot toboggan run). Free family movies, amateur ice sculpting and carriage rides will keep downtown bustling during and after the parade.
Leadville Victorian Homes Tour (Dec. 3). From 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 3, Leadville’s National Historic Landmark District of Victorian architecture will open its Victorian homes for visitors to tour. Each home will be decorated in holiday finery and will offer appetizers and punch. End the night at the historic Tabor Opera House with a reception of light appetizers and drinks, followed by dinner at the Elks Lodge featuring a 1890s Victorian menu and a show of Victorian, Eduardian and SteamPunk fashions.
Mesa Verde National Park Luminaria Celebration (Dec. 8). This December, Mesa Verde National Park will offer a special winter celebration at its ancient cliff dwellings. The pathways throughout the park will be lit up by luminaries (small paper lanterns) for this free event. The park will offer Ranger-guided tours of Spruce Tree House, the third largest cliff dwelling in the park along with self-guided visits from 4 to 9 p.m. There will also be food and music throughout the evening.
12 Days of Aspen (Dec. 20-31). For 12 days in December, Aspen’s downtown will become a winter wonderland, bustling with free ice skating, visits from Santa’s reindeer, hot cocoa, holiday drink specials, holiday lighting throughout the streets and more. Several events will take place throughout the 12 days including making your own ornament event at the Limelight Hotel. The 12 Days of Aspen will end on New Year’s Eve with a firework extravaganza over Aspen Mountain.
Cheese Making at Mountain Goat Lodge (Salida). Bring a new meaning to the word “home-made” by bringing handcrafted goat cheese to the next holiday party or give the gift of a cheese making experience. Mountain Goat Lodge offers classes where guests learn to take fresh goat milk and make simple cheeses quickly and economically. Participants have a choice of producing chevre, fresh mozzarella, feta, paneer or Greek-style yogurt. Complete the experience with an overnight stay.
DRAM Perfume by R.L. Linden (Silver Plume). Gift your sweetheart an aroma that encompasses everything that is true to Colorado’s outdoors. Partnering with R. L. Linden, a Denver plant-based skincare and beauty company, this vegan formula has a native woodland scent that features notes of fresh juniper berries, foraged rose hips, DRAM wild sage bitters and evergreen needles suitable for both sexes. The perfume oils are created with only pure, plant-based, organic, raw and wild crafted essential oils.
Hand-Made Custom Bamboo Fly Fishing Rods and Reels (Lyons). For a truly one-of-a-kind gift for the avid angler, Mike Clark’s South Creek Ltd. hand-made bamboo fly fishing rods and reels are a unique, customized and beautiful gift. All the sections of the rods come from the same culm of bamboo aged for three to four years. Clark works closely with customers and asks essential questions that allow him to build a product that is tailor-made for each person.
Wagner Custom Skis (Telluride). There is no better way to ski Colorado’s Rocky Mountains than with a pair of Colorado–made skis. Wagner Custom Skis out of Telluride is celebrating its 10th anniversary this winter and the opening of Pete Wagner’s newest ski factory. Wagner Skis utilizes proprietary code to map each individual skier’s DNA, matching weight and strength of a skier to the flex and shape of the ski. After skiing on these scientifically crafted skis, enjoy a holiday cocktail with the “Chairlift Warmer” from Telluride Distilling Company, America’s first artisanal Peppermint Schnapps.
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