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Thursday, December 22,2011

Give the gift of an experience

By Christie Sounart

Instead of buying your friends and family items that may be quickly stored and forgotten, this year, consider giving them tickets or a gift certificate for an experience they will remember. Catering to their interests while also providing something unique they might not otherwise have a chance to explore.

For the Creative-Type

“Today, people have more stuff than they need,” says Helen Hand, the president of Colorado Free University. “Supporting someone’s creativity may be more meaningful than giving something that they may or may not want.”

Classes are a way for people to embrace doing things themselves, she says, and also give an opportunity for them to develop their talents.

Colorado Free University also offers hundreds of classes to keep the fingers and hands of those creative types engaged all winter and can be gifted via direct registration or a gift certificate. The courses include drawing, painting, floral design, matting/framing, Chinese calligraphy, crochet, knitting, bead-making, glass-blowing, carpentry, pottery, cooking, dancing, herbal soap-making, photography and acting, among many others.

The classes also support local artists, who teach the classes in various studios in the metro area and on the campus at Colorado Free University.

For a specific class information or to register someone, call 303-447-0310 or visit freeu.com.

At Boulder’s paint and wine studio POSH, people have a chance to complete a full-sized painting while enjoying a glass of wine or a cocktail. A professional artist gives step-by-step instructions for the painters during these $35 classes, according to Lloyd Burch, a co-owner of the studio. People often are so proud of the finished products that they hang them in their homes, he says.

“It’s something that is very lasting,” Burch says. “At the end of a class, people are really excited.”

POSH is located on Pearl Street. For more information call 303-442-7674 or visit poshsplat.com.

For the Sports/Adventure Buff

The Colorado Avalanche Holiday Pack includes tickets to four home hockey games, an autographed hockey puck by either Ryan O’Reilley or Erik Johnson, a pair of Avalanche gloves and playoff ticket priority. Prices will vary according to seat selection, and start at $89. The games take place on two weeknights and two weekend evenings, and also guarantee four really good opponents for the Avalanche, says Kurt Schwartzkopf, the chief marketing officer for the team.

“We always kick it off with the team immediately following Christmas Day,” he says.

The first game will be against the Winnepeg Jets on Tuesday, Dec. 27, and holiday packs will be available for purchase until then, says Schwartzkopf.

For more information or to order an Avalanche Holiday Pack call 303-4AVSNHL or visit pepsicenter.com

For adrenaline-junkies, try a gift certificate for SkyVenture Colorado, an indoor skydiving company located in Lone Tree and the only indoor skydiving location in the state. People of all ages are able to experience the rush and thrill of skydiving without having to jump out of a plane.

“It’s truly something that the whole family can do together,” says Bob Burke, a managing partner at SkyVenture Colorado.

A $100 gift certificate can be purchased for $90 if a person brings in a gift to be donated to the Boys & Girls Club, says Burke. The discounted gift certificates need to be purchased at the location, but other gift certificates also can be purchased online at skyventurecolorado.com. For more information, call 303-768-9000.

For Foodies

For the food-enthusiasts in your life, try gift certificates to unique and delicious restaurants.

One option is the fondue restaurant The Melting Pot. The Melting Pot offers a four-course meal consisting of cheese fondue, salad, entrees paired with homemade sauces and chocolate fondue for dessert.

“The difference with the Melting Pot compared to other restaurants it that it’s a celebration,” says Adam Baker, the general manager at the Louisville location. “You get to take time and relax.”

A typical meal lasts from one and a half to two hours, which allows for a real dining experience, Baker says. The Melting Pot also hosts specialty fondue nights, such as a beer and fondue night that features the Boulder Beer Company, he says.

The Melting Pot is located on Main Street in Louisville. For more information call 303-666-7777.

For a special Boulder dinner, buy a gift certificate to the Flagstaff House Restaurant. The restaurant offers an elegant dining experience and scenic views of the city, says Joel Sipe, the restaurant’s dining room manager.

Spruce up the gift card with a special gift box and chocolates, available to purchase at the restaurant. For more information, call 303-442-4640 or visit flagstaffhouse.com.

For Theater-Goers

Boulder’s Dinner Theatre allows for guests to enjoy a meal while watching talented actors perform in well-known plays. The actors are also your food servers before the show and during intermission, providing an intimate and comfortable setting to relax and enjoy a show.

“It’s a gift that is good for an entire year,” says Susie Montanez, a publicist for Boulder’s Dinner Theatre.

Gift certificates allow for a person to choose which show they want to attend most next year, she says. Next year’s shows will include the current performance of Phantom, The Drowsy Chaperone, Cinderella and Avenue Q.

To purchase tickets, visit bouldersdinnertheatre.com or call 303-449-6000.

For a classic Christmas gift, buy tickets to the Nutcracker ballet, which will be showing through Christmas Eve at Colorado Ballet. Boulder’s Ballet Nouveau and Boulder Ballet also will be performing the show.

For those buying tickets to the Nutcracker at Colorado Ballet, a “snow promotion” is in effect which discounts tickets by 25 percent, says Lynn Dolven, the development director at Colorado Ballet.

If you are interested in buying tickets for early next year, the Colorado Ballet will be performing Peter Pan, which is brand new to ballet and will feature new sets and costumes, Dolven says.

Ballet’s live music, elaborate costumes and dancing can serve as a break away from traditional plays, she says.

“We tell a story without words,” she says.

To purchase tickets, visit coloradoballet.org or call 303-837-8888.
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