Got everything? Try some Vail flair |

Got everything? Try some Vail flair

Nicole Frey
Vail CO, Colorado
Special to the DailyTiles that look like the old Town of Vail manhole covers make great gifts.

VAIL, Colorado ” Her jewelry box is overflowing with silver, gold and precious stones.His workshop has every gadget known to mankind and he may not be able to bear another wrapped box bearing a tie or ballpoint pen.

The last thing she needs is another bauble. The last thing he needs is another power tool. Whether it’s a little something to welcome someone to the neighborhood or a token of your everlasting love, finding that perfect present is never easy.

So what to get?


If all you’ve got to show for a decade of trips to the Vail Valley is a sweatshirt, consider getting a Vail manhole cover. The manhole cover bearing the trademark “Vail,” along with the town’s founding date and elevation, was originally thought up as a way to pretty up Vail Village’s streets. But people found the covers so appealing they started stealing them in the dead of night.

“We thought, ‘If people are stealing them, maybe they’d buy them,'” says Suzanne Silverthorn, Town of Vail spokeswoman.

Silverthorn says she’s been impressed with how creative people have gotten with their souvenir manhole covers. They’ve been inlaid in kitchen tile and garden walkways, donned legs and served as a coffee table, and mounted on walls. Whatever the use, the Vail manhole cover is sure to serve as a conversation piece. And all proceeds benefit a good cause – Vail’s Art in Public Places Program.

If you or the recipient of your gift has an altruistic, do-gooder streak, consider making a donation to a charitable or non-profit group in his or her name. Pick a cause that’s near and dear to his heart.

“It’s every non-profit’s dream to get the public to see non-profits as a viable gift option instead of getting something else you don’t need,” says Carol Busch, the marketing director of the Gore Ranch Natural Science School, a non-profit environmental education school. “It’s an awesome gift. It’s a way for people to realize they can make a difference in their own lives, showing them that they care about them – if it’s important to you then it’s important to me. It’s such a win-win for everybody involved.”


‘Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish and you have fed him for a lifetime.’

Well, it’s almost true. You really can continue to feed the special people in your life with “of the month” gifts. Whether it’s fruit, cheese, chocolate, cake, steak or seafood, there’s a club that will send them a different sampling each month.

“I got my grandparents a fruit basket delivery each month because I thought it would help them eat healthier,” Gypsum resident Cheri O’Toole says.

For those more inclined to liquid refreshment, there are beer- and wine-of-the-month clubs. And it goes beyond food and drink with offerings like fresh-cut flowers and cigars.

“It’s the kind of thing that everybody likes, but not everybody does for themselves,” says Brett Olson, marketing analyst for “It’s great because it’s a repetitive gift. Every month when Uncle Joe gets that wine or cheese, he’ll be thinking of you.”

Another present that will brighten every day for years to come is the gift of interior design. Andrea Georgopolis, project manager and interior designer with Slifer Designs in Edwards, once catered to a client who bought his wife a beach house in Florida, and then hired Slifer designers to work with her to decorate the space.

“It was a way to give her a total gift of this house and someone to help design it,” Georgopolis says. “I think (interior design) makes a great gift as long as the client is confident that their spouse is going to want to work with who’ve they’ve hired. It is such a personal relationship that you have with your designer.”


If a whole new house seems a bit out of your league, try a smaller gift without giving up any of the luxury – cashmere sheets. Sure, cashmere sweaters, hats and gloves are easy to come by these days, but consider the decadence of being enveloped by cashmere all night long.

Touted as the very first cashmere sheets in the world, Manrico Cashmere, with shops in Vail Village and downtown Aspen, recently “invented” cashmere sheets for the most discriminating of sleepers and the people who love them, says Virgile Verellen, vice-president of the Italian cashmere company.

The 1,000-thread-count sheets – available in 100 percent cashmere or a 70 percent cashmere, 30 percent silk blend – come in more than 60 colors. Not only are the machine-washable sheets light as a feather, cashmere fibers have natural thermo-regulating properties, which means they’ll keep you cool when it’s hot out and warm when it’s cold.

“From now on, cashmere has a new soul,” Verellen says. “Cashmere sheets are a sensual experience. It is the bed where we spend more than one-third of our existence, and cashmere sheets lend a new exotic soul to this place.

“No one can every say they have experienced the sensation of resting between cashmere sheets simply because they didn’t exist. It’s the dawn of a new era – for our senses, for pure aesthetics, for an extremely personal pleasure that finally can be shared.”


Take the pressure off entertaining ” a favorite Vail Valley pastime ” with gifts of housecleaning or a personal chef.

“It’s a great present for a wife, so she can relax more and enjoy the party,” says Elizabeth Nolasco, owner of Details Cleaning Service, based in Avon. “It also makes a nice gift for seniors who sometimes don’t have the energy to clean for themselves, or new mothers or anyone who’s been injured or sick.”

A personal chef will similarly alleviate holiday stress, says Rutherford Maule, owner and chef of Chef de Maison Catering and Personal Chef.

“There’s enough in life to manage without worrying about entertaining,” Maule says. “I think in everyone’s life, they can use a little help. What’s a better gift than saying, ‘We’re coming for dinner and we’re bringing the chef!'”

Not only will Maule bring all the ingredients for a sumptuous meal, he and his staff also provide the music, flowers and anything else needed to create a delightful culinary experience.

“We collaborate with the host or hostess and get a feel for how they want the evening to go, whether it’s casual or formal … It’s really fun, just to have friends over and indulge and not have to do anything.”

During this busy time, it’s all too easy to get worn down. But Kellie Krasovec, owner of Acupuncture Associates, says she has the cure.

“It’s the gift of health, which I think is the best gift of all,” says Krasovec, who specializes in Chinese medicine and mental and physical wellness.

While people with acute or chronic pain or some other malady ranging from wrinkles to depression seek Krasovec out, her services also work as a preventative measure.

“It’s great for the folks up here who work themselves too hard during the week and then are the weekend warriors – the ones who give 150 percent to everyone and the last ones they take care of are themselves,” she says.


While gift ideas are as limitless as the wide blue yonder, some take more though than others. Be sure to do your homework before giving a pet or so much as a houseplant – anything that needs daily or even weekly care could be more responsibility than the recipient is looking for.

“A lot of times, people get a pet for someone who didn’t necessarily want one,” says Char Quinn, director of the local Humane Society. “Then they get returned or given up, and that creates frustration because people didn’t really want one in the first place. There’s a lot of downfall.”

But then again, Quinn says, a puppy, kitten, dog or cat could be a wonderful gift for a family or someone looking for companionship. Do research into breeds to find a suitable match and then seek out your local humane society or rescue group.

“I’ve heard, ‘Oh, I got this puppy in the pet store … I rescued her,'” Quinn says. “Yeah, you rescued that one, but they’re going to get another from a puppy mill.”

If you want to buy from a breeder, be sure to go to the breeder’s home to make sure the pet is being raised in a good environment.

“It comes down to knowing who you’re buying from” Quinn says. “They need to do their homework.”

So it is with any present – a little work learning about someone’s preferences will take you a long way.

Children may be among the easiest to buy for. Many have wish lists mapped out regardless of the season. But instead of another toy, consider taking the gift giving to another level by cultivating the child’s passions. A child with a love for animals is sure to get a kick out of Denver’s Downtown Aquarium’s Zoologist and Marine Biologist For A Day programs. End the day with a snorkel tour where he can swim with a 250-lb grouper, Moray eels and other fish.


The opportunity to breathe new life into gift giving is here and the possibilities are endless. This is but a launching pad for your imagination, because if you can dream it up, someone can wrap it and put a bow on it for you. Happy gifting.

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