This year, there’s a whole new meaning to the phrase “There’s no place like home for the holidays.” After all, we’re continuing to spend quite a bit of time at home these days, whether it’s working from home, learning from home, or enjoying takeout at home.
To help you maximize the season from the comfort of home, we created an extensive at-home guide covering a number of ways you can celebrate, from virtual events and activities to crafts and meals you can make together as a family. Plus, most of these activities support a local Northern Colorado business in one way or another!
This year, it’s more important than ever to shop from small, local businesses. And thankfully, there are plenty of ways to shop from our favorite Fort Collins businesses from the comfort of your home. Downtown Fort Collins put together a downtown holiday guide for 2020, which includes gift guides for a variety of occasions, all focused on local businesses. This is an online, one-stop-shop for the downtown shopping we all look forward to during the holiday season.
Plus, we put together a list of 15 Holiday Gift Ideas from Local Fort Collins Businesses + Makers, which you can order online and have shipped straight to your door!
If you can’t decide where to shop, you can cut straight to the chase by purchasing a Downtown Fort Collins Gift Card, which makes the perfect gift for someone on your list! The recipient will be able to use it at any of these 150+ businesses, which includes dining, retail and entertainment. This is an easy-to-use, flexible one-stop-shop program that supports our local economy!
Get creative in the kitchen by cooking up a hearty holiday meal. Try your hand at a classic family recipe or venture out with something new, turning to some of our favorite Colorado-based bloggers for inspiration. If you’re looking to make something plant-based, vegan or gluten-free, turn to Plant-Based Cooking, Boulder Locavore or Elana’s Pantry. And Dough-Eyed has plenty of ideas for baking in high-altitude areas, if you’re looking for some sweet treats to top off the meal! A few of our other favorite Colorado food bloggers include Creative Culinary, Cooking on the Ranch, SpiceRoots, Climbing Grier Mountain, and Dinners, Dishes & Desserts.
Photo Courtesy of Makerfolk
Everyone loves snail mail — especially during the holidays! Order a handful of holiday cards by PAGEFIFTYFIVE at Makerfolk and spend an evening writing thoughtful notes to loved ones, near and far. This is a fun and simple way to spread some cheer and send your love to family and friends you may not be able to see this year. Each card is designed on bright white cardstock and printed with archival ink.
If you’d rather have someone else do the cooking for your holiday feast, place an order for a takeout meal from NoCo Nosh, our very own local delivery company owned by Fort Collins residents. Throughout the pandemic, they have helped local restaurants stay in business by providing them with delivery services, and supporting nonprofits by contributing 10 percent of all food sales to Larimer and Weld County Food Banks to help those in need. Peruse their list of restaurants and order something special to enjoy with the family around the table or by the fire.
Santa is following CDC guidelines by socially distancing himself at the North Pole, but thankfully he has joined the Zoom phenomenon! This year, visit with Old Saint Nick from the comfort of your own home. Check the Downtown Fort Collins website for more information about these virtual Santa visits as the season goes on.
Photo Courtesy of Old Elk
Old Elk’s tasting room, The Reserve, is open for their Cabin Fever popup on the patio, offering craft cocktails and food as well as pre-batched cocktails available in-person or for pickup. They have a few Old Fashioned cocktails, including the Smoked Old Fashioned, and Classic Old Fashioned, which includes 10 cocktails for $50. Other handcrafted cocktails are also available, 6 cocktails for $32. Pair your drink of choice with a few things from their food menu, to either share or keep to yourself, including a burger and fries, elk pot pie and fries, or the decadent Old Elk Bread Pudding. Cheers!
Keep the little ones entertained by organizing a craft to complete at home together! Fort Collins’ own Create a Craft makes at-home crafting extra easy with their All-in-One Kits, which include all the supplies you need, plus painting instructions. Make something generic to give as a gift or paint a set of tea cups and saucers to sip your hot cocoa in this winter! Order your kit and arrange to pick it up from the studio or request delivery within Fort Collins city limits for free.
Although most in-person Hanukkah events are on pause for 2020, there are several ways to celebrate the holiday at home. You may light the candles on the menorah, make potato latkes (pancakes) or sufganiyot (jelly donuts), play dreidel, sing traditional songs, and more. While you light the candles each night, recite the Hanukkah blessing together as a family.
Puzzles have become all the rage during quarantine, alongside other wholesome activities like bread baking, painting and knitting. If you’re looking for a new challenge to work on, consider picking up a new holiday-themed puzzle and see if you can complete it before the season is over! One of our favorite kids’ toy and clothing shops in Fort Collins, Clothes Pony & Dandelion Toys, has this challenging 1000-piece Winter Collection puzzle featuring all our favorite elements of the season, including wreaths, snowflakes, candy canes, tree ornaments and pine cones.
With all this time spent at home, why not pick up a new skill? The Cooking Studio has pivoted to include virtual cooking classes in addition to their on-site classes. You’ll learn how to make dinner for the whole family in your kitchen with guidance from an instructor at The Cooking Studio. If you feel comfortable, you can sign up for an in-person class as the holidays draw near, to learn how to cook and bake some holiday favorites.
Perhaps the most rewarding way to spend your time and resources is by giving back to the community. And this holiday season, there are many in need who are experiencing homelessness, hunger and other challenges. There are several ways to give back to the Northern Colorado community during the holidays, whether you’d like to donate your time, money or items like toys or food. Plus, all organizations accept online monetary donations, which means you can make a huge impact in the community without leaving your home.
Photo Courtesy of NOCO Winter Wonderland
Admire spectacular holiday lights without leaving the comfort and warmth of your car! Colorado Youth Outdoors created a Winter Wonderland experience benefitting a number of nonprofits, including UCHealth Northern Colorado Foundation, Respite Care and local Boys & Girls Clubs chapters, who have been unable to hold their fundraising events this year. From November 27 through December 31, drive through this magical display of twinkling lights and wildlife-themed light sculptures on a 1-mile path. Reserve your 15-minute time slot here!
If you’re unable to gather with loved ones living far away, make arrangements to host a virtual get-together leading up to the holidays. You could arrange a long-distance gift exchange, host an ugly sweater party, make a meal or cocktails together over Zoom, or watch a holiday movie together through Teleparty! Whatever you do, spend some time connecting and laughing with those you love.
Each year, Santa receives hundreds of thousands of letters from children and families, asking for toys and games, and sometimes even basic necessities. As part of USPS Operation Santa, you can “adopt” one of those letters by visiting uspsoperationsanta.com. You’ll have the opportunity to choose a wish to grant, whether it’s sending a toy or game, or fulfilling another need.
From our home to yours, we wish you a happy holiday season!