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Creating homemade gifts in Eagle County

Leslie Brefeld
Vail, CO, Colorado
Summit Daily file photo
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EAGLE COUNTY, COLORADO ” As a kid, I can remember Christmas mornings that were truly awe-inspiring; we woke up to a beautiful Christmas tree that was made all the more beautiful by the gifts that overflowed before us.

As an adult, however, I have come to embrace the perhaps cynical, perhaps big-picture philosophy that gobs and gobs of gifts are not exactly what the holidays are all about.

With that in mind, I looked into some ways to give in a more meaningful way, specifically through homemade gifts and fine art.

It may take a little more effort, but it will likely be kinder on your pocketbook, and certainly make for a more personal gift.

To start, group workshops led by local artists can yield great pieces made by yours truly. The Arts District of Breckenridge offers classes throughout the year, and around this time holds special holiday gift-making classes.

Check out the Ceramic Holiday Ornaments workshops held on Dec. 4 and Dec. 11. For $25, Iris Bedford will help participants use clay to create simple winter-themed ornaments. Also in December, Jenn Cram will teach the art of wirebending and beading at the Robert Whyte House for quick holiday gifts like zipper pulls, key chains and earrings. The class is $40 and includes all materials. Get workshop details at http://www.townofbreckenridge.com.

Next for our conscientious Christmas theme, we got some ideas from the High Country Conservation Center (HCCC). Director Carly Wier suggested using jars or tins to fill with the ingredients of a soup or dessert and attaching the recipe, or blending your own teas while including a reusable tea bag.

“My mom loves to take Sunday afternoons to read a good book and sip tea, so I like to give her a basket with a homemade tea blends and a good book or two (usually ones that I’ve read and am passing on).

“For my sister that gets crazy stressed out with deadlines and work, I like to make homemade bath salts with essential oils and herbs and wrap them in nicely decorated jars. Last year I included a CD that I made with calming music,” Wier said.

Holly Loff at the HCCC likes to make personalized baskets as gifts.

” … Like for a bird watcher ” a basket with a map with a new trail, a unique guidebook, some snacks, a reusable water bottle, and maybe some binoculars,” she said.

They also suggested giving gifts of time ” “a hike with a friend, a dinner with your dad, a trip to the movies with a nice day at the museum with mom …” Wier said.

If time and patience doesn’t permit you to create your own gifts, fine art can be a unique gift that reflects the relationship between the giver and receiver.

“I think art is the best gift,” said Kris Lee of Wildside Studio in Frisco. “There’s only one of a piece.”

She will be stocking up on handcrafted ornaments, limited edition prints and other small or moderately-sized artwork that is easy to ship and is under $100.

She will also be serving hot cider at her Frisco gallery to weary shoppers beginning the day after Thanksgiving until Christmas day.

Other places to look for unique gifts include The Arts Alive Gallery! in Breckenridge. They will host a Small Format Show beginning Dec. 7 featuring petite-sized fine art pieces by local artists. Original holiday-themed pieces and ornaments will also be featured.

The HCCC will host their annual Renatured Art Gala on Dec. 6 from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Ecoasis in Breckenridge.

This event will feature items like earrings made from bottlecaps, nightlights and ornaments made from decorative tins, lamps and baskets made from chopsticks, and candleholders made from forks and spoons.

And this weekend, the Alliance for Historical Preservation will host a Christmas Craft Bazaar at the Frisco Recreation Building. The event will feature handmade gifts from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. today through Monday.

So while checking your holiday list this year, remember, it’s the thought that counts.


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